Water Gardening

As interest in water gardening increases, we are committed to providing you the best quality water plants, water garden supplies, accessories, and knowledge.

Before purchasing water garden plants, be sure to identify which plants are hardy to your cold hardiness zone (Iowa is zone 4) and which plants need winter protection.

Winter protection (with water plants) is different from perennials. Water plants listed above zone 4 (zone 5 - 9), must be kept from freezing solid during the winter.

K & K Gardens offers both hardy and tropical water plants.

Hardy water plants are available when we open in May. Most other water plants won't be available until middle to late May.

Pond Plant in pond
Why green water?

With the arrival of spring and summer, that once clear and picture perfect pond is now turning a soupy shade of green. It makes viewing fish nearly impossible and takes a lot of fun out of owning a pond or water garden.

It's a common problem for a lot of pond owners.

What your looking at is actually very small, nearly microscopic size plants called algae. When all of these little critters group together and get so dense they can literally shade the water and turn it into what appears to be a solid green mass.

Now let's be clear on this. We're not talking about a light tint of green in the water, which is actually a really good sign. We're talking about water that is so green that you can't see an inch or two under the surface!

For the most part, the biggest problem with planktonic algae is really the view and the disappointment of the pond owner. Fish generally can tolerate green water, although even they have limits.

The good news is, that even though green water can be a challenge to treat, there are options and solutions. Since what we're really dealing with is algae...we want to take a standard approach to dealing with any algae problem.

First of all, be sure to try to identify the support or nutrient source that is supporting this algae growth. Do you have too many fish in the pond for it's size? A good rule of thumb for this is 1 inch of fish for every 10 gallons of water in the pond. Any more than this and you might be overstocked.

When fish are overstocked, they produce more waste material than plants and natural bacteria can keep up with. When this happens, there is a large excess of nutrients in the water which fosters aggressive plant growth...like algae.

Nutrients can also come from decaying matter that may fall into or lie at the bottom of the pond. Like a compost pile for your garden, this decaying matter simply adds more nutrients into the water, which is something you don't want or need if you already have algae.

Finally, be sure to check for run off into the pond. Most homeowners work really hard to make their lawns and landscapes look really nice. If your adding fertilizer to your lawn or anywhere around the pond, there's a good chance some of it can runoff into the water....thereby adding more nutrients to the water.

So, your first objective to combat green water is to try and reduce these nutrient influences.

If you do that and still have an algae problem, the next thing to consider is adding a beneficial bacteria and enzyme product to the pond, or adding more plants to help control or balance out some of the nutrients. In most cases, using one or the other, or a combination of both will help quite a bit.

And here's a final word for caution. If you have fish in the pond, I'd strongly advise against using any type of algaecide product. It's very hard to treat green water with an algaecide in my opinion without doing some harm to fish.

When do I clean my pond?

People don't seem to believe this, but it is true.  If you properly install your water garden utilizing the correct filtration system and rates of flow, it will not only take very little work, but it will look impressive.

Since I did use a good quality filtration system, and made sure my water flow rates were sufficient, the upkeep is now very minimal.

In the spring, I use a large fish net to gather debris off the bottoms of the ponds.  I will spend ten minutes each day for three days netting the large debris.

Since the water gets murky almost immediately, it is impossible to see what I'm doing.  This is why I use several days to net.

On the four day, I use a silt net.  This net gets the silt off the bottom.  My goal is not to clean all the muck out of the pond (muck is good), but rather get the majority out.

Usually, the remaining silt on the bottom is what will be pulled through your skimmer box and attach itself to the filter media on the biological filter (waterfalls box).  This is good.

After silting the ponds a few times, I attach my pump in the skimmer box, place the filter mats in the biological filter  and start it up.  Of course you need to remember to add water to the pond too.  It is amazing how much water is in the stream, skimmer box and waterfalls box.

The exception to everything above, is once every five years.  Every fifth year, I do pump all but the bottom four inches of water into collection basins.  I then use a plastic scoop shovel and scoop out all the debris.  I do not scrub the liner clean, nor do I recommend you do this.  You want that ugly stuff attached to your liner.  I call that good algae.  This good algae is what seeds your biological filter.

The water I pumped out and stored is now pumped back into the ponds.  It is always a good idea to keep as much of the old water as possible.  This will help prevent your water from going through an algae bloom once the system is started back up.