Limnologists and freshwater biologists are still working on how to define a pond, ‘bodies of water where light penetrates to the bottom ‘ ,’ ‘bodies of water shallow enough for rooted water plants to grow throughout,’ and ‘bodies of water which lack wave action on the shoreline.’ One thing for certain they are worth constructing.
Ponds may be small but they are an important part of our landscape, and well-cared for ponds are real hotspots for freshwater wildlife. Having a garden pond is one of the best ways that we can quickly and easily help wildlife
Many people think that good ponds need to have lots of open water, a narrow fringe of attractive wetland plants around the edge, a deep bit in the middle, no trees around it and lots of sunshine, but this is just one type of pond.
Lots of pond wildlife actually needs ponds that are full of plants with very little open water. It’s all to do with scale – what looks like a crowded mass of plants to us is actually a wide open space to a water beetle.
Get the conditions right and the garden pond will very quickly attract a wide variety of wildlife. You should soon see dragonflies, pond skaters, damselflies, water beetles and backswimmers, as well as frogs and maybe newts.
It’s advisable to site your pond away from trees; if this is unavoidable use a pond net in the autumn to avoid the leaves polluting the pond. With regards to the depth of the pond, it should be no less than 2’6" deep.
Frogs, toads and newts usually return to the pond from which they emerged, and spawn when they are about 3 years old. This means that, barring accidents – one dollop of spawn produces thousands (up to 4000) of tadpoles and hundreds of tiny frogs the first year, many of which come back every year, and once they start spawning the arithmetic gets a bit mind-boggling.
If you are making a new pond make sure it has clean water, away from sources of pollution. Clean water (rainwater is often best) is one of the key factors for a really diverse wildlife pond.
If you are working on a larger pond, it might be best to carry out a professional survey. Contact the Pond Conservation Association www.pondconservation.org.uk. they will also advise about non-native invasive plants which can be a cause for concern.
The best time to dig a new pond is late summer while the water is still warm enough to handle, before the plants stop growing and while pond-owners are thinning out their plants. You are less likely to have green-water problems than if you start in the spring.
Water-lilies and other water plants are ridiculously expensive to buy. Water-lilies and other plants grow big quite quickly before spending a lot of money, get to know which neighbours have ponds and do some pruning time (throughout the summer for most plants).
A few pretty goldfish can bring life and grace to a pond, watching them grow and learn to come for food can be fascinating. However, there is a price to pay – nymphs, water fleas, boatmen, back-swimmers, dragonflies – fish simply eating everything that moves. Make sure the plants are established in the pond for at least one week before putting fish stock in.
There are 3 main ways to line a pond: concrete, waterproof material or a pre-formed shell. Be very careful what material you select to line your pond; unless you select a very simple shape, pre-formed ponds are a menace.
Fawcetts manufacturer pond liners . I spoke to I spoke to sales manager Christine Ryder, “ As a premium manufacturer of pond liners and supplier of pond pumps, our prices are among the lowest in the trade. The reason for this is that we supply a vast number of Water Boards, County Councils, Salmon and Trout Fisheries and The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust with large liners and get numerous recommendations from satisfied customers.
“ If excavation is very rocky, remove all the stone and line the hole with geotextile underlay and a three inch layer of sand. To put the liner in place, lay it across the hole, putting a brick on each corner. Put a hose pipe in the centre of the liner and then run the water in. The weight of the water will then mould the liner to the contours of the pond. To find the size of liner you require take the maximum depth doubled and add 2 feet then add this total to the maximum length and also the width”.
Tel: 01772 612125
PLANTS FOR UK PONDS
Plants for the bottom (75 cm deep): Water lilies, Water Hawthorn (Aponogeton distachyus), oxygenators (see below).
Plants for the shelf: Flowering Rush (Butomus umbellatus)Bog Arum (Calla palustris), Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris), Bog Bean (Menyanthes trifoliata), Fringed Water-lily (Nymphoides peltata), Monkey Flower (Mimulus guttatus), Pickerel Weed (Pontederia cordata), Arrowhead (Sagittaria sagittifolia), Reed Mace (often incorrectly called Bulrush) (avoid the bigger ones and go for Typha minima), Brooklime (Veronica beccabunga), Water Mint (Mentha aquatica), Irises, Crowfoots and Spearworts.
Floating plants: Water Fern (Azolla filiculoides).
Oxygenators: Rigid Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum); the very popular Canadian Waterweed (Elodea canadensis) is an alien.