Archive for the ‘Spring Preparation and Planting’ Category

The SPRING Algae Bloom

March 26, 2009

feed3What causes algae blooms? Sometimes natural causes, runoff of nutrients from around the pond after a storm or rain. Most common culprit of Algae blooms is the pond owner him or her self.

Algae is the result of nutrients, sunlight, and water. As pond owners I never recommend algae products as it is a vicious cycle. A balanced ecosystem of plants and fish can lead to a simple pond to enjoy rather than fool with. The number 1 problem with water gardening is feeding the fish. Read on my friend…

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Feeding fish before the water temperature is above 55 degrees is always a bad idea, in the winter fish go into a hibernation like stage. Their stomachs are inactive. Pellet or processed foods are dry and if fish eat them too early in the spring you can actually rupture a fish stomach as the food expands quickly inside the stomach and shortly after feeding your fish can go belly up.

Also before you plant plants in the spring you will foul the water by feeding the fish. Pond fish “NEVER” need to be fed. Yes every fish-food container will tell you to feed fish 2-3 times per day but take a second to figure out where they make there money. Fish can eat 10 times a day if you wish, they do this at fish farms. However this is normally too much waste for a pond and the extra waste produces a quick bloom of algae.

String Algae

String Algae

Fish including koi and goldfish naturally eat string algae and bug larvae and eggs keeping mosquitoes and nats to a minimum. Supplementing their natural diet not only stops that part of the natural ecosystem but adds to the nutrients for algae. Adding Submerged plants can highly reduce algae, hornwort, red star ludwigia, lemon bacopa, and anacharis all help starve algae and can even work in cooler water before floating plants like hyacinths and lettuce can takeover on the surface.

Welcome Spring…

March 22, 2009

     Friday spring officially arrived. She may just be sitting on the calendar as morning frost covers the ground again in the Midwest through the east. Colorado and Wyoming and across the northern half of the Midwest are preparing for snow. Not at all uncommon as Denver’s snowiest month is March.

      Next weekend it looks like cold air will again be shoved to northern Texas and snow  is a possibility as far south as Oklahoma City east to St. Lois and north to IL. All week I have been getting requests for order to be sent north for customers as far north as Michigan. When I ask if they will keep the plants inside customers tell me its 70 degrees today or yes in the Garage or greenhouse.

Normal Last Freeze Dates in the USA, proper planting is 7-14 days later.

Normal Last Freeze Dates in the USA, proper planting is 7-14 days later.

       This is common every year but I promise if you can hold out your plants will like you much better. Putting them in a cool or cold pond too early can stunt their growth, keep them dormant for up to 8 weeks. If my proper planting time is May 10th I would rather get my plants May 10th than April 15th, have them begin to go yellow in a garage and then wait until July before they begin bursting into bloom because they have been tricked into thinking it is fall. Our nurseries in Ohio are kept hot and in Florida are very hot. Going to lukewarm weather makes them think its geting cool (IE fall not spring). Having them arrive 2 weeks early they will stop flowering and growing when they get to yuor cool water or feel a few 38 degree nights. Or they begin yellowing indoors without enough direct sunlight. Love your plants, don’t ask for them too early. They are happy in their nice warm greenhouse. Just some advice. But yes we will send them now if you would like them.  

       Today’s blog is half a weather report. As a rule of thumb, I decided years ago its time to put pond plants in the week you plant tomatoes or annuals. The waters warm so much more slowly than the afternoon temperatures, especially below the surface of the water.

Shelf plants like Louisiana Iris start growing in early spring.

In the south spring flowers are probably starting to grow along the shelf as that is where the water will become warmer first, lilies and submerged plants begin growing a little later. Soon spring Louisiana Iris and Marsh marigolds will be in bloom.