Questions about a planted, natural pond


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Hey everyone! I am hoping to have my pond up and running by December. I'm NW of Atlanta. The pond is in a sunny area, sheltered from wind, so I expect to be able to run the pond year round. The temps dip below freezing occasionally, but it never lasts long. Mostly it will be a night that goes below freezing, then it goes back up during the day.

My pond is 8 x 11 with a waterfall filter and a Helix skimmer to keep the water moving. Max depth will be 3 feet. It will be sort of a hybrid "eco-pond" fully lined with rocks and gravel. I plan to plant right in the gravel where practical, rather than in pots. I'd like it to be as natural as possible.

Since the timing on finishing the pond is awkward as far as the season, I'm wondering what I should do about plants. I'm sure late fall is not the best time to buy or install plants. However, with the pond filled and running, It seems I should put in something to get the system started. Would that be free floating plants? Like anacharis or parrot feather? With all the sun, I think I need something to shade the pond a bit, or else I'll just have algae land.

For those of you in my area or similar zone, any thoughts about plants?

Thanks!
 
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Meyer Jordan

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Though not in your zone, I would say that any aquatic plant that is hardy in your zone 7b can be planted at any time. Availability may be a problem.
I am a staunch advocate of eco-ponds believing that the closer that you can emulate Nature the less issues you will have long-term. That being said, there are right and wrong ways to approach this philosophy. Gravel on the bottom of a pond is proven to be beneficial as it approximates the Benthic layer of a natural earth-bottom body of water. But TOO much gravel can be a detriment to the health of a pond. A maximum of 2 inches is recommended. This, of course, would be too shallow to plant in. Decide in advance what plants you want, how many and their location in the pond then incorporate 'planting pockets' when excavation is performed. 8" to 10" inches depth will suffice for most plants, some may require 12" for root growth.
planting pockets.jpg
 

addy1

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Get a tub, cheap at Walmart, big tub. An aerator and get some of those plants now. Stick them in the tub they will be ready for your pond when it is ready.

My plants have not gone asleep yet. I am sure you can find some.
 

sissy

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maybe the best time to buy plants .Even livingwaterscapes in NC is having a big sale
 
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Thanks, all!
Do you know if the floating plants keep growing through the winter? Will perennial marginals grown in pockets just go dormant and then wake back up in spring?
 

addy1

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My floating plants, marginals, submerged plants, bog plants all freeze up solid and all come back in the spring.
Anything that did not survive a winter here was not replanted.
 
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My floating plants, marginals, submerged plants, bog plants all freeze up solid and all come back in the spring.
Anything that did not survive a winter here was not replanted.
Addy, would you care to name some of your favorites for in and around the pond? If they survive a winter in Maryland, I'm sure they'd do fine here!
So - when they freeze up, do they not get all funky and start to foul up the water?
 
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When you have a hard freeze that ices over the surface, most aquatic foliage is going to stop growing and in effect die at or above the water level freeze depth.

Surface plants, lilypads, stems above the water will die off. Some hardy plant stems are relatively unnaffected by a slight to hard freeze, iris and japanese rush come to mind. Most others will stop growing, shed foliage, while water temps are cold.

Pot luck to what extent tender tropicals will cope with cold to freezing winters. Those at or above the freeze line will odds on be gonners, fast

The water is going to have increasing levels of funk, decomp depending on how much is decomposing. A large mass of water hyacinth, lilypads, autumn leaves all going off under ice is a recipe for methane, hydrogen sulphide to get to toxic levels if the pond ice seals the water surface over

I'd estimate, if the volume of decomposing organic stuff is more than 5% volume of the pond, you might see some very poor water quality after a couple of days when a pond is frozen over
 
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Gosh -- are you anywhere near where Matthew is heading? Yikes! That's a big one!

I have only seen my neighbor's pond freeze over once in 20 years, so I doubt mine will. Our cold snaps are usually very brief. But -- let's say stuff gets frozen and mushy -- if I'm on top of it and get the dead stuff out of the water, things should probably be ok, right?
 

addy1

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Addy, would you care to name some of your favorites for in and around the pond? If they survive a winter in Maryland, I'm sure they'd do fine here!
So - when they freeze up, do they not get all funky and start to foul up the water?
I am a somewhat lazy ponder, to a point. I have some fishless ponds, well a few fish have wandered via eggs going through the pumps. They do not get cleaned except for yanking excess growth in the summer. They do freeze over full of anacharis, parrots feather, hornwort, lotus, lilies, Every spring they come back without a ton of muck. I have some very shallow stream ponds, usually forget to yank the parrots feather etc, it just grows back every spring. They are ice cubes over winter.

The fish ponds, I do groom the lilies, i.e. cut off leaves stems dead flowers. I don't mess with the hornwort anacharis, it is growing in the five foot area, the pond freezes over it stays alive under the ice.
I might pull some this year I have a forest of it growing.
The bog gets cut back and turned off when the pond is turned off, it stays full of water and freezes when it melts the plants start to regrow.
The 1000 gallon pond is covered with parrots feather, I will cut some of it back before it freezes up, last year didn't it froze and grew back. No real muck mess but there was less of it.

I run pond breathers that keep a air exchange going in both bigger ponds with fish. The small ponds where fish wander into are on their own.
 

addy1

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Favorites?
bog bean, obedient plant, iris, floating heart, lizard tail, mint, pickerel rush............will think of more lol
 
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sissy

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I have been watching the storm track and good gosh i hope it goes out to sea .I could get his by the outer bands and my brother lives near Norfolk VA
 

addy1

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Gosh -- are you anywhere near where Matthew is heading? Yikes! That's a big one!
We have 5 rentals down in the delray area. This could hurt big time, financially for us, even worse for all that live down there. We have not been hit in that area since Katrina.
 

Mmathis

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@bagsmom I'm just a little south of you [zone 8a/b]. So far, everything I have planted in the pond and/or bog that was intended as a "hardy" type plant has come back in the spring. The pond has never frozen over, but a couple winters ago the water exiting the Skippy froze along the edges in that nice frozen fountain effect. Only lasted a day or 2. The coldest water temp I've ever measured was maybe in the low to mid 30's [measured at the deepest point] -- that was the first winter I had the pond up & running. Didn't have a lot of plants at that time, though -- just some parrot's feather, anacharis, hornwort, and one water lily. I had a freebie taro that survived last winter [which was our mildest winter since the pond] as a marginal, and those aren't known to tolerate cold weather.
 
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Meyer Jordan

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Gosh -- are you anywhere near where Matthew is heading? Yikes! That's a big one!

I have only seen my neighbor's pond freeze over once in 20 years, so I doubt mine will. Our cold snaps are usually very brief. But -- let's say stuff gets frozen and mushy -- if I'm on top of it and get the dead stuff out of the water, things should probably be ok, right?

Right!
 

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