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Pond care tips for the summer

Summer Care for Your Pond

Summertime is a great time to add aquatic plants to your water garden.  They will need to be fertilized so they will grow, thrive and bloom.  We have a list of fertilizers you can use for your plants including PondTabbs plant fertilizer. 

For bog and marginal plants you can place 2 tablets in each pot by sticking your finger in the soil to create a small hole and pushing the tablet into the hole and cover them back up.  For water lilies you should put approx. 3 or 4 tablets into the pot in the same manner.  During the summer, aquatic plants will need to be fertilized about every 2-3 weeks especially when the water is very warm.  Trim any dead leaves or stems off as needed because they just add extra more nutrients to the pond as they decompose.

Also during the summer you will be challenged by combating algae.  This is very common and most ponds will have algae to some degree.  

Most ponds do not have adequate filtration systems nor proper water circulation which greatly increases and sometimes actually causes the algae problems.  If your filter is not the correct size for your pond, then you will have problems with algae and high ammonia levels if you have fish.  

No one ever likes to do math nor calculate the filter size they need, but you must if you want to have a clean pond.  We have helpful information in our website about fish quantity and how many you can safely have in your pond.  If you have more fish than what is recommended and don't increase your filtering system, then you will have a constant battle with algae and ammonia.  You may be adding chemicals to it all the time to try to get rid of the algae and lower the ammonia, but you won't be getting at the root of the problem.  You have to increase the filtration system, add plenty of beneficial bacteria and make sure the water circulation and aeration is optimal. 

If you have shallow areas in the pond where the water isn't circulating, you will collect algae there.  Most likely, it will be string algae or 'pond scum'. 

The amount of sunlight also affects algae growth.  You need at least 4-6 hours of sunlight for aquatic plants to grow but at the same time you provide sunlight for the algae to grow, too.  This can be a constant battle but something you have to deal with if you want beautiful water plants.  Again, increase your filtration system to accommodate the intense sunlight.  We have several chemicals that help to eliminate or reduce algae.  Most are "sunblockers" that dye your pond's water to a blue, deep teal or black color and "blocks" out the sun rays to the algae that needs sunlight to grow.  Unfortunately, if you have aquatic plants, it also eliminates sunlight to your syubmersed aquatic plants and they can lose vigor and possibly die.  These aquatic sunblockers are recommended for ponds without aquatic plants and must be carefully measured with ponds that have fish.  Check out the description on each product and see if it will suit your your pond's need.

Fortunately, there is a way to help eliminate string algae naturally and organically by using organically grown barley straw.  Barley straw has been used for hundreds of years in combating algae.  It is natural, safe and effective but it won't eliminate the need to have a larger filter and increased water circulation, if you need it.  Barley straw can help reduce string algae that is usually evident in late summer and the "pea green soup" algae that is blooming throughout the warm months.  It has also been reported that the barley straw also helps increase vigor in aquatic plants.  I personally don't know about that, but I am sure that it won't harm other aquatic plants. It also helps to increase the biological filtration system in your pond, which in turn reduces toxic ammonia levels.  We sell barley straw bales in convenient 1/2 lb. bales.  One thing to note about the use of barley straw is that it needs to go in the filtration system and not just sit on the bottom of the pond.  More about barley straw and how it works, click here

I may add a note about having small ponds and evaporation.  If you have a small pond and it's in the heat of the summer, you may notice your pond level dropping every day.  Once you've determined that it is not a leak, but evaporation, you will  have to top your pond off with additional water.   If you have fish, there are a couple of ways you can effectively add the tap water without harming them.  One way is to spray the tap water up in the air and let the chlorine in the tap water "flash off" before the water enters the pond.   What this means is that tap water, depending on where you live, contains chlorine and chloramine.  By having a distance from the end of the hose to the pond water and spraying the water up, it helps to let the chlorine evaporate before it ever gets to your pond.  If you're adding a lot of water to your pond and have fish, you may need to add Ammo Lock 2  which instantly neutralizes chlorine and chloramine.  If you are continually adding more water to your pond, the tap water may also affect the aquatic plants you have in it.   Aquatic plants don't like water with chlorine and chloramine in it.  If you find you have a problem with your plants, are fertilizing them like you should, and are constantly filling your pond you may have to have a holding tank of tap water that has sat for a few days before adding the water to the pond.  By allowing the water to sit for a few days, it helps to "burn off" the chlorine that is in the tap water.  

An important thing to note about constantly adding tap water to your pond, is that every time you add fresh tap water to your pond, the chlorine that is in it kills the beneficial bacteria that is in your biological filter.  As you know, you have the biological filter to filter out toxic ammonia from the pond so if you keep killing the beneficial bacteria by adding tap water, you will most likely have problems with ammonia levels rising if you have fish.  Check the ammonia levels and other chemicals with our Master Pond Test Kit which I find to be very accurate.  You can add beneficial bacteria to your pond as well so you don't lose the effectiveness of your biological filter.  If this all seems like a never ending battle, check out your water circulation sources (waterfalls, fountains) and you may have to cut back on them but still provide oxygenation for your fish.   If you do find out that you have a leak that is causing the problem, we sell repair kits, too that will repair your pond liner.  It's similar to repairing a bicycle tube, but a bit more involved.   We also provide you with instructions on how to properly repair a tear.  These repair kits or splice kits are the same materials used to join 2 or more liners together should you decide to have a larger pond later or add another pond to your existing pond.  

Well, I think that's about it with summer care for your pond.  I hope you find this information helpful.