June is the time of year when pond owners often call us up with questions or concerns about the string algae growing in their water feature. It can show up seemingly overnight, and without a solid plan of action, controlling it can become a regular chore. Fortunately, there are several proven measures you can take to combat the stuff, and there are quite a few products available that are designed to assist with that task. The main problem then seems to be a lack of education on how to use those products, and a misunderstanding of what causes string algae and the role it plays in an aquatic ecosystem.
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Cattails are ubiquitous residents of aquatic habitats. They are hardy, fast-growing, and excellent filters of pollution. They will also overcrowd a small pond if given the opportunity. They do release a chemical into the water that will signal the plants to restrict growth as that chemical reaches a high enough concentration, however, your idea of 'enough cattails' is likely to occur quite a bit sooner.
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When it comes to trees and ponds, one of the most commonly associated species is the weeping willow. Its scientific name, Salix babylonica, might suggest a Middle Eastern origin, but it actually comes from near-tropical parts of Northern China. Today, the weeping willow can be found growing all across America, and in many other countries as well. They have long, slender and wispy branches that are densely covered with thin, flat leaves. They get their common name, 'Weeping Willow', from the sound rain makes as it drips off the tree's many leaves, as if the tree is crying.
These trees love water, and they have very thirsty roots. It is for this reason that they are so strongly associated with ponds and are often found growing near bodies of water. As a non-native species, it is quite possible that many weeping willows you have seen were deliberately planted, rather than propagating through natural means. They can be quite useful when it comes to strengthening shorelines, as their roots form extensive networks and may seem drawn to water like a magnet. This can help hold a sandy lakeside together and prevent it from being washed away into the water during storms.
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A question that many new pond owners have is how to determine the right number of fish for their pond. Like any system, a backyard pond ecosystem has an ideal ratio of elements that will best promote balance and harmony. As you might imagine, a big 20'x30' pond is not necessary to keep five or ten little goldfish happy. Likewise, a small 6'x8' pond is much too small to support the 24" trophy koi that you've been dreaming about. Common sense will guide you from such extremes, but finding the sweet spot will require a few calculations.
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Landvista Aquascapes provides Pond & Water Feature Design, Installation & Maintenance -Repair services for South New Jersey Homeowners