Planting Advice

Planting Containers

Planting aquatic plants in to clay or silt bottomed ponds and lakes is easy, but with lined and fibre glass ponds, all your water plants will need to be planted into containers or planting bags. There are two options available, traditional plastic mesh baskets and fabric planting bags, both have advantages and disadvantages. Aquatic planting baskets have the advantage that they are strong and will last for years, their sides have hundreds of small holes, designed to let the plants spread their roots out in to the water where they can absorb nutrients for healthy growth. Baskets come in a range of different sizes and shapes, the movement of water caused by filtration and the movement of fish over time will slowly wash the aquatic soil out of the baskets, so all mesh baskets will need to be lined with hessian squares or cloth liners, hessian rots away after a couple of years. It’s only too common to be cleaning out your pond only to find planting baskets with starved out plants desperate to get their roots back in the soil that has been washed out. On this note you may decide to line baskets with flat pack cloth liners, cloth liners are more exspensive than hessian but longer lasting and excellent for preventing soil erosion. More popular nowadays are the flat pack planting bags, not as long lasting as mesh baskets, but they have advantages, there is no soil erosion, they are cheap, dont require liners and  are very adaptable for uneven Marginal shelving.

Planting Soil

We have a range of aquatic soils specially formulated with the correct balance of nutrients, for growing waterlilies and aquatic plants. Aquatic soil is heavy and helps keep the plants and their containers upright and in the original chosen place, preventing them from blowing over in strong winds. Don’t dig up your own garden soil unless you want unhappy, starved out plants or risk of contamination from your neighbour’s cat!

Duckweed Problem?

Lemna Minor and Lemna Major, both more commonly known as duckweed, are  extremely invasive tiny floating plant’s often covering the entire water surface. A commonly asked question is how do I get rid of it? You may have tried time and time again and think that it is an impossible task. Let me assure you that it’s not. We have eradicated it from our entire nursery. It requires a lot of time, patience and perseverance for badly contaminated ponds it’s often easiest to discard all plants, baskets and rocks, remove the pond liner, wash it thoroughly and leave it to dry for a few days. Monitor your pond daily and remove straight away any bits that may have gone unseen. Add some of our Duckweed Control treatment to kill off any new outbreaks or to treat badly contaminated ponds before you eradicate your life from duckweed. Prevention is far easier than treatment. We are proud to be owners of a duckweed-free nursery!

Blanket Weed and Green Water

Another frequently asked question is how do I get rid of blanket weed? Scientifically known as filamentous or string algae, during the spring and summer blanket weed can get so out of control it literally chokes pond plants. There are various solutions and preventions to the problem. Blanket weed can be controlled to a certain degree by literally pulling it out regularly (daily). We have a whole range of algae, blanketweed treatments available, by far the most popular and used by ourselves is a product called clover-leaf blanket weed answer, which adjusts the water chemistry. Introducing daphnia (water fleas), live tropical fish food purchased from aquatic retailers, will mass-produce and leave you with a lovely clear pond.

For green water we recommend you try using some of our barley straw products, a more natural way of adjusting the water chemistry, these products come as natural straw, extract liquid and pellets. Again, prevention of problems is better than cure. The right type and amount of plant growth, and approximately two thirds of surface area covered in floating plants, combined with nitrate removing submerged plants will create the correct eco-balance, cutting down on sunlight and discouraging all types of algae growth – achieving excellent results.

Fertilisers for Pond Plants

Natural ponds, streams and lakes have their own nutrients and eco-balance. However, in fibre glass or lined water gardens, too many or not enough nutrients can be a problem. We therefore recommend when planting you use one of our aquatic soils which are especially formulated with the correct balance of nutrients for starting plant growth and  maintaining clear water. Without natural high nutrient sludge, aquatic plants can become starved out, we stock a range of aquatic plant food products to enhance healthy plant growth and flowers throughout the spring and summer.

Overwintering Aquatic Plants

With winter fast approaching your pond plants will benefit from a bit of tender love and care. When all plant growth has died back you may simply remove it, cutting water lilies, marginals and bog-garden plants back to about 6 inches. We do not recommend you cut back anything that is evergreen.

Correct Water Depth for Aquatic Plants

On numerous occasions customers and visitors have arrived at our nursery, unfortunately to discover that the depth of their water garden – that they have spent days slaving away over digging – is unsuitable in depth to house the plants that they would like to purchase. Others have dug the whole pond to one deep level without any deep shelves. A few customers have even dug their pond so deep that they have left our nursery disappointed and empty handed. We recommend you have three different levels. Marginal shelves should be 7-9 inches deep; make your pond shelves extra wide in places with interest curves, unless of course you are going formal. Your pond level should then drop down to about 12-16 inches to house deep-water plants and small water lilies, and drop again to 36 inches to house some submerged aquatic plants and large water lilies.

Encouraging Wildlife

There are several measures to be taken in order to attract wildlife to your water garden. Densely planted ponds, streams and surrounding areas will create a haven for wildlife. To encourage dragonflies we recommend that you plant a range of iris, pontederia and other rush-like plants. Gentle sloping sides or beach areas are ideal for young amphibians to climb out of as well as making a safe place for birds and animals to drink.

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