|Autumn is the time to break new ground on ideas you have had that you would like to see implemented before spring.|
|Fall Water Gardens - Preparation and Reflection|
by Aaron Pratt
For those who have water gardens or would like to build and care for a backyard pond Fall is a time to reflect. Autumn is also a great time for cleanup, preparation and new construction.
Cleaning up your water garden in preparation for Fall can be an enjoyable, creative task. What I do is remove all the rocks and plants then net and move my fish to a temporary holding tank. After the removal of rocks and plants only water and sediment remains to be sucked up with a pond vacuum. This is also a good time to carefully inspect the liner for tears. It is important to clean your water garden before the water temperature drops below 65 degrees if you have fish. If you are moving your fish to a temporary holding tank also make sure you use water from the water garden to avoid stressing your little friends.
Aquatic plants can be pruned, divided and dropped down to the deepest part of the pond where they will stay until springtime. If your plants are "tropical" remove them completely, they will not survive winter and can increase the nitrogen levels in your pond. Also make sure aquatic plants are deep enough to avoid being frozen solid so if your pond is shallow, consider purchasing a pond heater.
Preparation for Fall is pretty simple, if you live in an area with trees a pond skimmer is often not enough to remove all the leafs that drop into the water. Leaf debris will also quickly fill most pond skimmers and require daily cleanup. Leaf matter breaks down and increases the nitrogen level in your pond which can be hazardous to fish (especially during this time when the outside air temperature is dropping and cooling the water). To stop all leaf and other debris from falling into your water garden stretch netting over it. The best netting for this is the same black plastic netting that you protect garden plants from birds with. If you put a tent pole in the middle of the water garden and stake the netting down on all edges of the pond, leaf and other debris will not collect in the middle of the net and will just slide down the sides to be raked up.
Water gardening is a very personal hobby so if you are the type who likes to "do it yourself" this can be a time of inspiration, creativity and reflection. The cooler days of autumn are a great time for new construction. As with most, we often start out with a simple water garden but quickly dream of a larger pondscape with a waterfall, biofilter, UV sterilization light and new landscaping around it. Autumn is the time to break new ground on ideas you have had that you would like to see implemented before spring. When warm weather returns, your water garden environment will wake up and reward you for your loyal and gentle care.