Various Plant Questions


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I don't even know where to begin.... Well here's all that stuff you guys want when asking a question. You can probably skip this section and come back to it if you have a question.

Water quality
* Ammonia Level (pond) 0.0
* Nitrite Level (pond) 0.0 nitrate 0.0 also
* Ammonia Level (tap water) 0.0
* Nitrite Level (tap water) 0.0
* Ph Level, pond (If possible, KH, GH and chlorine) ph 8.0, kh 4, gh 4, phosphates 0, iron - 0, TDS - 80
* Ph Level, tap water (If possible, KH, GH and chlorine) 7.8 (after off gassing it is like 8.2), 9, 9, 0, 115
* Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API liquid test, Seachem iron test, 2 TDS meters

Other useful information:
* Water temperature? 51F
* Pond size and how long has it been running? ~4,000g (when the reserve is full it is about 5,000), running since the end of the summer 2014
* What is the name and size of the filter(s)? 10'x3' gravel bog, 30ft stream, lots of plants, DIY skimmer w/medium sponge and pond master 5000 biofalls with medium sponge mat and bio media
* How often do you change the water and how much? 50% water changes in spring and fall during cleanout but besides that water is removed when it overflows (often enough) and is replaced by rain or auto top off
* How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? see above
* How many fish in the pond and their type? about 20 standard goldfish ranging from 4in to 12in + 2 babies
* What kind of water additives or conditioners have you used? none, filtered well water
* What do you feed your fish and how often? Used to, drs foster and smith staple, every other day and are feed very slowly so no food is allowed to escape the fishes mouths (none goes into the skimmer or around the edge), they each got maybe 2 pellets if that. Have not feed the fish since last August 2015 when advised byt this site to stop feeding to treat my alage issue
* Any new fish added to the pond recently? not since startup
* Any medications added to the pond? never
* List entire medication/treatment history for fish and pond. none
* Any unusual findings on the fish? one fish as had a popped eye since last summer, seemed caused by some sort of trauma while they were breeding
* Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? no
Additional info - Pond gets TONS of sunlight. I am on a well but the iron is high so we use a water softener/conditioner. That water is what I use to clean the pond and refill after vacuuming cut with iron filtered raw water but the auto top off is just raw water that has been ran through the dedicated iron filter only. Only twice has my pond shown any nitrates (5ppm) and that was in the 1st winter before algae grew and the 1st Spring before the plants and algae grew. Other than that my pond never shows any results for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate or phos.

To keep this simple I would like to know if what I am seeing is normal.

  • My iris (yellow, black gamecock and ann chowing) were planted Sept 2014 and have not flowered at all and haven't grown as much as I would have expected considering yellow flag in particular is supposed to grow like mad. Is the growth shown and not flowering typical of the 1st year? Is the beginning of End of July about the time for most growth/flowering of marginal plants to stop?
I don't have many good pictures for late season cause everything didn't do very well but here is the yellow in the bottom right and the Ann C. at the top middle on Aug 3rd. The ann C. is pretty yellow.
IMG_1535.jpg

  • I added water hyacinth mid July 2014, only plant at the time, and 4 or 5 plants turned into a network that covered at least 5sqft by Oct and bloomed many times all the way into November. The plants added this year became what you see above in that floater (which has more room in it then it appears) and a few in the stream and that's it for the whole season and only one bloom that didn't happen till Nov. By this time I have more than 30 varieties of plants, think it was just too much competition?
  • The lilies... 3 (aflame, pink and peaches and cream) were planted in sept 2014 in those dollar store oil pans with sifted top soil from the pond excavation with red clay mixed in and osmocote plus on the bottom. Spring of 2015 I got 2 yellow ones from a friend which were planted the same way. The yellow ones did the best by far, flowered A LOT, even though they were newer. They were however placed on crates where as the others were directly on the bottom and probably in the lowest flow area. Do you think that could have made ALL the difference?
Yellow is yellow, red is the pink (thought it was aflame hence the red but further studying told me otherwise) and the orange is peaches and cream, the aflame is further left and is the worst with only a couple pads (also in the slightly deeper water with the most flow of any lily).
4a4669fa-04bb-4c93-bfe4-caaf7ced1415.jpg

  • The lilies part 2! I fertilized them all in the spring and again when they started going yellow mid June but they never seemed to recover even after fertilizing. Is mid June about the time old leaves would be dying off and the lily is at about it's peak for size?
  • Lilies part 3! Do you think this is frog damage? Pests? Something else? These are not the lilies the frogs hang out the most, they like the yellows best, these are the other guys again.
IMG_1328.jpg

IMG_1299.jpg

IMG_1298.jpg


  • I got a variegated dwarf sweetflag Sept 2014. It did well all through winter, we did have to turn the bog pump off for a couple weeks due to freezing and then in the spring it browned and died off. I tried another one this spring and again it did well all season and thru winter and now it is dying off. Is that just what they do? And will it regrow?
IMG_2118.jpg


  • My pink butterfly plant yellowed and lost it's oldest leaves starting mid June. To me this seems like a nitrogen deficiency (which all of plants showed eventually this is just a clear early example) but I've only kept aquarium plants so I'm checking with you guys. It is just a nice coating of good algae on the rocks in these pics, not green water or any string (at least not there yet).
IMG_1307.jpg

IMG_1309.jpg


I'd like to add (for anyone not already aware of my other threads) I had a bad case of string algae start just after the plants started suffering. In the picture above's photo shoot actually I found the very first bit of it at the very top waterfall. Just to the left of the first fall and on the front of the big rock in the second falls. EVIL!
IMG_1407.jpg


My theory is that my nitrogen (and possibly other nutrients) bottomed out once the plants hit a certain mass leaving trace amounts of phosphorus available for the string algae to grow. Advice given to stop feeding in Aug may have just worsened the problem as everything went to hell after that, proof by the fact that I have NO pictures after that lol. BUT is that just when plants start dying back for the season? I dunno. The lilies of course would not be affected by water column nutrients so that's another story and up there with all those other questions. Thanks for looking!
 
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Wow! That is a lot of questions! Let me take a stab at a few -

First, I don't think it's unusual for pond plants to struggle the first year or two. They need to get established and, as you suggested, the nutrient level in the pond may not have reached the point where it can support all the new growth. It'll get there, but in the meantime there's no reason why you can't fertilize your plants. Fertilizer spikes are the easiest, but I've used pelleted aquatic plant fertilizer and just made a bundle with some paper towel and bury it in the plant. Just be careful not to spill it in the pond, as that will feed your algae too.

Lilies constantly put up new pads and the older ones deteriorate and need to be pulled or clipped off the plants. I groom my lilies about every other week from June to October. They are heavy feeders, so make sure you keep them fertilized as well.

I'm not exactly sure about your pond construction. Is the butterfly plant that's in gravel - is that in the pond? Or outside of the pond?

Sweet flag thats grown as a marginal or bog plant needs to have the roots under water all winter. If it's left exposed (even if it's under the gravel) it will freeze and die. I think yours is dying sooner than you think - it's just taking time to wither and brown. If you are going to turn your bog off and want to save it over winter, I've had good luck planting it in the ground over the winter and then putting it back in the pond when it warms up again in the spring.

Hope that helps some! I really do believe that you will see your pond settle down this year. Try not to worry about the algae - it'll subside with time.
 

HARO

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I basically agree with Lisak1, but would like to add one further point: when plants turn yellow it generally indicates an iron deficiency! If it was me, I'd bypass the iron removal unit when topping up the pond. Our well water has a fair amount of iron, and I've never had a problem with fish, either in the pond or in various tanks and aquaria in the house. And yes, lilies do shed leaves over the course of the season. Just snip them off once they look a little TOO ratty! There are also various insects that can damage the pads, (leaf miners or leaf cutters), but I've never had a problem with frogs.
John
PS What is the depth of the pond? And at what depth are the ones that aren't doing too well? The fact that the yellows are on crates, and doing well, would indicate that the others MAY be too deep. That doesn't mean they won't grow there, but they may need more time to get established. An ideal water depth for MOST lilies is about 18" of water OVER the soil in the pot, or about 2' total depth.
 
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Thanks @Lisak1! I meant to mention that also, that I think the pond needs more time to age so some stuff can get into the planted areas and feed them better since it is just gravel no soil.

I was removing dead pads weekly but new pads just were not coming up quick enough to replace them so the lilies just dwindled away to nearly nothing. I used several different types of fertilizer sticks too to see if one worked best, including jobe's tomato sticks, jobe's houseplant sticks, Laguna spikes and diy osmocote in gel tabs. Only differences I could figure out were what I listed, some were deeper and had a little more surface flow. But even the yellow ones suffered so I dunno. This year I am going to try some different substrates too like kitty litter and safe t sorb.

The butterfly plant is in the water just in a rocked pocket to hold the gravel in there. This is how most of my plants are or there in the bog which is also gravel of course.

I'll try that with the sweet flag next time, thanks!


Thank you @HARO! This is what the water looks like without the iron filter. This is not green water or anything like that, this is I ran the water through a few socks (old school cotton filter lol), filled a little pond and 30 minutes later.....you can barely see the shelves a few inches down.
100_1769.jpg


It does clear up after a few days but once it precipitates and clouds like water like above the iron is no longer in a soluble state so the plants can't use it anyways..or either way cause once the water clears the iron is laying on the bottom of whatever and the plants can't use it that way either. :(
 
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Added stuff to your post while I was typing. lol The pond is 3ft to 3.5 feet deep. My research said they could sit on the bottom and even that some people found that they got more blooms when their lilies were lower opposed to being higher but I didn't find that to be true! lol
 
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I was going to add a tip about iron - my bog plants were showing signs of yellowing the first year so I buried steel wool pads in the bog near the roots. They greened right up!
 
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HARO

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I've found that lilies will do well in 3' of water if they are placed on milk crates or something similar for however long it takes them to establish and start flowering well. After that, lower them 6" at a time, waiting for the leaves to catch up before dropping them again. Keep in mind that my observations could be affected by the amount of sunlight, the temperature of the water, and who knows what else! If there is one truth in ponding, it's that EVERY POND IS DIFFERENT!
John
 
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I was going to add a tip about iron - my bog plants were showing signs of yellowing the first year so I buried still wool pads in the bog near the roots. They greened right up!
I've seen this technique used before and have considered it, glad to know it worked for you!
I've found that lilies will do well in 3' of water if they are placed on milk crates or something similar for however long it takes them to establish and start flowering well. After that, lower them 6" at a time, waiting for the leaves to catch up before dropping them again. Keep in mind that my observations could be affected by the amount of sunlight, the temperature of the water, and who knows what else! If there is one truth in ponding, it's that EVERY POND IS DIFFERENT!
John
That is exactly what I do but this year I will not go lower then 2ft and see what happens. lol Very true! Thanks.
 

addy1

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I have a bunch of lilies, the ones in the 1 foot to 2 foot water depth (from top of pot up) did the best blooming. I had some in the 4 foot range they bloomed nicely just took a lot longer to get to blooming.
 

cas

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yellow flag in particular is supposed to grow like mad.

Depends how small of a tuber you started with for the yellow flag iris. My yellow flag were heavily root bound in a pots, so I removed just some small tubers and started over. The first year they did not bloom (last year). I will see about this year. But give them time. They are hardy little suckers and will grow!
 

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I have a large clump of yellow iris in the display pond at the garden center (indoors in a greenhouse). They grow like weeds, but in ten years I haven't had a single flower. Ready to toss them! Maybe I'll try them in my own pond and see what happens.
John
 
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Thank you everyone! I feel more comfortable about everything now. Besides some small adjustments to the lilies I'm just going to do nothing and wait it out. I may even do less than usual! :)
 
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HARO

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Thank you everyone! I feel more comfortable about everything now. Besides some small adjustments to the lilies I'm just going to do nothing and wait it out. I may even do less than usual! :)
It's called 'Benevolent neglect", and it usually works quite well. :D
John
 

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