Winterizing Bog


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Hi

I have a 700 gal pond with a bog on one end. The bog has a coiled flexible hose with holes in it that feeds the bog. My question is, should I turn off flow to the bog during winter?

I am in the pacific northwest a block from the ocean and winters are quite mild (zone 8). We do get an occasional thin layer of ice on the pond but can keep the waterfall ruining all year without issue. My concern with leaving the bog hose flowing is it might cool the roots of the bog plants too much. My concern with turning off the bog flow is the buildup of ammonia in the bog over the winter.

Any thoughts?

Thanks
 
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addy1

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The roots of the plants will be fine. Mine freeze solid and come back. I would leave it running esp in your climate zone.
 

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@jbowyers I am in pretty much the same zone as you in Washington and I don't have a bog but I have plants in pots about 18" down on a ledge and they do fine w/my falls running and moving the water around.
 

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My concern with leaving the bog hose flowing is it might cool the roots of the bog plants too much. My concern with turning off the bog flow is the buildup of ammonia in the bog over the winter.

I turn mine off each winter, but I'm zone 5. The water that remains in the bog freezes solid and the hardy plants come back just fine each year.
 
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I turn mine off each winter, but I'm zone 5. The water that remains in the bog freezes solid and the hardy plants come back just fine each year.
It's not cold enough here for the roots to freeze. I am really just wondering if the roots would be warmer/better off without the flow and if ammonia buildup is really an issue once the temperature drops below 50 deg
 
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I'm in 5B and keep my bog running all winter. I think a lot depends on your individual set up and whether ice is an issue. If you get ice build up you could conceivably have a problem with water being diverted out of the pond.
 
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"If you get ice build up you could conceivably have a problem with water being diverted out of the pond."

You sure can! I went out a couple winters ago to find a real icy mess outside the pond and partially collapsed 3-4" ice with my pond down by over a foot. since then, once it starts really freezing up, I shut down the pump. My bog freezes solid, but the plants (all natives) come back stronger than ever in the spring.
 
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Hi

I have a 700 gal pond with a bog on one end. The bog has a coiled flexible hose with holes in it that feeds the bog. My question is, should I turn off flow to the bog during winter?

I am in the pacific northwest a block from the ocean and winters are quite mild (zone 8). We do get an occasional thin layer of ice on the pond but can keep the waterfall ruining all year without issue. My concern with leaving the bog hose flowing is it might cool the roots of the bog plants too much. My concern with turning off the bog flow is the buildup of ammonia in the bog over the winter.

Any thoughts?

Thanks

I have a larger pond, perhaps twice your size with a 100 gallon pea gravel semi-underground bog and I run my pump all year long. I live in Richmond, VA and it does get cold enough to freeze over the top 1/2" of the pond each winter. The bog however never seems to freeze over and the plants (mostly grasses) could care less. Perhaps too much moving water. Hope this helps.
 
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I'm in 5B and keep my bog running all winter. I think a lot depends on your individual set up and whether ice is an issue. If you get ice build up you could conceivably have a problem with water being diverted out of the pond.
Hi, is your bog really deep? I’m supposedly in 5b and my bog and whole pond freeze solid in winter but both are only about 2.5-3 feet deep. I’m still trying to figure out what to plant in it that will survive the winter.
 
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Hi, is your bog really deep? I’m supposedly in 5b and my bog and whole pond freeze solid in winter but both are only about 2.5-3 feet deep. I’m still trying to figure out what to plant in it that will survive the winter.

Our bog is deep - about 4 feet. But any hardy plant will survive freezing in the pond or bog - the depth of the pond or bog doesn't matter. The plants are no deeper in a 2 foot deep bog than they are a 4 feet deep bog, right? They all grow at the depth that they grow. I mean, the earth is infinitely deep, but plant roots in the soil only go so deep.

But the secret is to keep the water (ice) level where it normally is when the pond is not frozen. The plants do not like being exposed to the air. The first year we shut the pond down for the winter, and in our pond that causes our water level to drop about 5 or 6 inches. Add in evaporation and we lose another couple inches, leaving all the plants exposed - they all died. Since we started running the pond year round, we've never lost a plant to winter.

I'm going to question your comment that your 2.5 to 3 foot pond froze solid - how many gallons is it? Is it in ground or above ground?
 

addy1

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I turn everything off, the bog drains back down to pea gravel level. The pea gravel is never dry and it does freeze. The pond has never loss enough water to cause issues. I have gutters feeding water into the pond every time it rains or snow melts.
 
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Thanks for the replies, I can’t remember exactly but I think it’s about 3000 gal. Except I guess minus a bit for the displacement by the pea gravel in the bog which is smallish about 6x2.5-3 ‘ and Sits at the bottom of a waterfall which spills out of a bio filter (garbage can type) the whole pond is in between ground about 3/4 -1 foot is above ground and the rest is below. I ran into way more roots than I thought I would and had to scrap my plans for a 4-5 foot deep pond so I pilled the excavation dirt around the perimeter and viola. The biggest drag is that the fish have to come in every year.. broke my leg and ankle trying to catch the little buggers last year! ..I too have rain barrels that fill from the gutters and auto fill the pond as needed. The thing is, my bog plants die off every year.. I’ve only had some creeping jenny come back one year but never again.. just trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong. I’m not much of a gardener and would never touch plants if not for my pond though lol my wife and I both seem to have black thumbs
 
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I turn everything off, the bog drains back down to pea gravel level. The pea gravel is never dry and it does freeze. The pond has never loss enough water to cause issues. I have gutters feeding water into the pond every time it rains or snow melts.

Our two different pond designs definitely prove that there's no one answer as to what works!

broke my leg and ankle trying to catch the little buggers last year!
Oh my gosh - that's terrible! Here's the thing - if you have two feet of pond underground, your fish are most likely fine in the pond over winter. We've seen SO MANY PONDS in the Chicago area that are only 2 feet deep with both goldfish and koi that stay outside all winter long. They just don't freeze that deep. Post some pictures of your pond - let's see what you have going on there!

Your description of a bog has me wondering - is this an up flow bog? Or a down flow - from the sound of it, your waterfall spills into the "bog" which isn't really a bog the way we think of them here on the GPF. The wetland filter that many of us have - @addy1 and myself for instance - are bogs where the water is pushed UP through the gravel. Which is yours?

What kind of plants are you planting in your bog? Maybe we can suggest some that would do better!
 
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You are indeed correct, because of the design and site limitations I opted to have a down flow bog. I think the upflow is a better design but I just couldn’t figures way to do it at the time. I have figured out a way it could work now but it’s taken me three years to get the pond and especially waterfall to a point where I like it and I’m afraid to mess with it. My design for the bog has an area that is void of gravel right where the water falls into it so the water fills from the back and flows through the gravel to fall again over a little two inch drop when exiting the bog. I do get a certain amount of water that I’m sure ends up just flowing on the surface right over the gravel but I think the majority goes through it. That along with the fact that the water flows through the bio filter before even entering the bog has always made me feel there is enough filtration even if the bog isn’t as efficient as an upflow one would be. Last November when I fell trying to get the fish out, nobody else was able to get the last 4 that I hadn’t caught yet out so I ended up leaving them in and figured it would be the experiment… they all died. They are only feeder goldfish so it’s not like they’re expensive koi or anything but I still felt terrible. As for plants, I’ve tried several different kinds and I’ve tried both bare rooting them in the pea gravel as well as putting them in along with their soil from the pot they came in I’ll attach a pic and thanks for your help and any ideas you might have. These pics were taken because of the pair of mallards that were visiting for a couple of weeks every day but they have stopped coming around now.. I’m not sure if the dogs scared them off it what. Anyway I think they show the main idea of the set up. The greenery on top of the garbage can filter behind the waterfall is just fake fern’s as there seems to have been a shortage of real fend in my area this year.
 

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Thats an in-ground pond by my definition. If your fish died I really don't think it was from the pond freezing solid, if in fact it is 2 feet deep. Did you keep an air hole in the pond? An aerator or a pond breather is essential if you turn the pond off for winter. The solid ice cap will trap gasses the pond that will suffocate the fish. Are you sure of your pond volume? It's hard to tell from photos, but at 2 feet deep, your pond would need to be roughly 20 feet long by 10 feet wide to hit 3000 gallons - would you say your pond is close to that size? (I'm only focusing on your winter situation to try to avoid you breaking anything else bringing your fish inside when it may not be necessary!)

How does the water get from your bog to your pond? My assumption is it just flows over the side... which means you are getting not a whole lot of filtration at all from your bog. Most, if not all, of the water is just flowing right over the top of the gravel. I know this is "water under the bridge" (or in the pond, if you prefer!) but you could have skipped the garbage can filter and started your build with the bog: bog to waterfall to pond to skimmer back to bog is the usual set up. In nature, wetlands are flow through, but they are massive. We use the same concept but adapt to the size and function of a manmade pond. I do wonder if you've just created a stagnant gravel area though - how did you construct the bog? Is it just an area filled with gravel? No plumbing?

But your down flow bog should be just fine for growing plants. It's essentially the same as planting any marginal plant in the pond. I would suggest some of the more reliable things like reeds, sedges, irises... but the other problem with your set up is anything that you plant in the bog that's tall will block your view of the waterfall. So you'll need to stick with things that stay low, or keep the taller growers to the sides and fill the middle with lower growers. I'd even consider tossing a few floaters in there - floating hyacinths will happily root into gravel and maybe even produce some flowers for you. They aren't hardy, but they also aren't terribly expensive. If you buy one every year you'll end up with a wheelbarrow full by the end of the season. Plants like Creeping Jenny are good ideas for low growing spots. You could plant some bog bean and let it grow over the edge into the pond. Watercress - another annual, but a fast fast grower.

@addy1 - any suggestions for low growing bog plants? My brain isn't giving me anything to work with!

Please don't think I'm being critical - we all learn as we go here and the goal is to make your pond as fun, relaxing and easy to care for as possible!
 
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Thank you, I don’t take it badly at all. I welcome the input. The whole pond (including the bog) is about 20x 6 to 8 feet depending on where you measure, and anywhere from 1 to 2.5 feet deep (shallow by waterfall and deeper by skimmer at opposite end. As I mentioned, yes the bio filter is before the bog, At the time I didn’t know how else to make the waterfall. I wish I could start over.. well I guess I could but I’m not that young anymore lol. Anyway, as a compromise I dug the gravel out under the waterfall and placed some slate type rock and plastic with holes vertically in the hole to form a place for the water to get into the gravel at the bottom. Like I said I expect that a lot probably goes right across the surface but I hope some is going through the bottom and up and since there is the bio filter as well I think the water is getting well filtered. I actually worried that the water is too clean to feed the bog properly by the time it gets there. Also, I only keep about 10-12 goldfish (6 right now) and they mostly scavenge for food.. I only feed them once a week or so. About the planting yes, I didn’t think it through enough about the plants blocking the view of the waterfall. As you can see I do have the tall plants all in the back corner the calla lilies and a Cardinal flower and a couple of miniature cat tails are all that’s in it right now. Previously I did use creeping jenny in the rest of the bog and it did come back last year but this year there was only one tiny piece starting to grow and I didn’t notice it until I stepped on it and it never came back from that. I usually get 3-6 water hyacinths every year to put in the main pond. There’s only about half of one left now this year due to something taking a liking to them.. I’ll look into the ones you’ve mentioned. Any tips on how to plant things in the bog … like bare root out with soil etc. Oh and also, no, I have no aeration bubbler or anything for the pond. I knew that would be necessary for the fish to over winter but I never intended to over winter then since everything I’ve read always said the pond had to be at least 4 feet deep to do that. I might look into something for this winter. If it Expensive to run one all winter long? Thanks again
 
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That four foot deep thing is a myth that has been proven to be false time and time and time again. My own pond is 39 inches deep at the very deepest part and we have overwintered fish for 8 winters now. And like I said - I have personally visited many many MANY ponds that are only 24 inches deep here in Chicagoland and the fish live in the pond all winter long. We've gone on countless pond tours where we see 20-25 ponds in a day. Most are less than 3 feet deep. All have fish that live in the pond year round. The myth prevails however....

Get a good aerator or a pond breather and you'll see. Your fish will be just fine. In our case we are able to keep the pond running all winter so we will have a complete and total ice cap, 30 inches of snow on the pond for weeks on end some winters - never a problem. The only year we lost fish was when our plumbing to the pump failed, and if I hadn't had a few warm days in January when I thought I could get it put back together, they probably would have been fine.

If someone told me I had to catch all my fish every winter and figure out how to keep them alive inside I'd just give up the pond - way too much work, stress, effort and not a whole lot of fun! And it will get more taxing every year as your fish grow bigger and breed and their numbers increase. No thanks!

Like I said - we can all tell you things we wish we had done differently when building our ponds, but that's all part of the process. Learning and growing and changing what we can, or living with it if we can't... it's all good!

As for bog plants - I knock off most of the dirt and stick them in the gravel. I don't worry if some sticks to the roots - it works either way!
 
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Ok thanks for the info. I’m probably going to try wintering them in the pond again because it isn’t any fun having to look after the aquarium and water changes and all that for the winter.
 

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