Water in the Garden - Common Sense Garden Maintenance Tips

Ah…there are few things more welcoming in a summer garden than a water feature–that is, unless your water feature has turned into a nasty green swamp.  Still waters may run deep, but they also are a precursor to mosquitoes and algae.

Keeping water circulating with a little low-voltage recirculating pump will add a little oxygen in the water to prevent that slimy algae from taking hold so quickly in hot weather and will discourage mosquitoes from laying eggs (they don’t like to breed in moving water).  It’s the easiest way to give a pond or water feature the oxygen it needs to maintain water quality, reduce algae and minimize the need for chemicals and constant upkeep.

By installing a recirculating pump, the surface of the water is agitated.  As water moves, it releases harmful gases and absorbs oxygen from the air.  The recirculation of the water by the pump evens out the water temperature from top to bottom and distributes oxygen throughout the water feature, helping to minimize or eliminate any stagnant water odors.  We have a great selection of pumps of all sizes and gallons per hour. We will be glad to help you find just the right pump.

For smaller bodies of water like a birdbath, it’s important to keep it scrupulously clean so your birds have a constant source of fresh, clean water.  Songbirds can’t swim so a depth of just 2 inches is perfect.

Algae is best cleaned with a mixture of a capful of bleach and water, scrubbed and rinsed well.  Some people advocate putting a few copper pennies (pre-1982 pennies preferred for the highest copper concentration), a small length of copper pipe or a sprig or two of lavender in the water to help thwart the growth of algae.

We also offer small recirculating – what we like to call – Birdbath Fountains.  They are at or under the 2 inch guideline for birds so they are small enough for bathing and drinking and the fountains move just enough to keep them free of mosquitoes and give you a bit of sound.

To keep fountains looking their best all summer, Garden Accents uses two products to help keep our many fountains and water features looking great year after year. We use a product called Fountec to keep our fountains clean and clear.  When used weekly, Fountec will also reduce mosquito larvae. Fountec is not only a powerful algaecide and clarifier, it is also a surfactant that breaks water tension which helps control mosquitoes, flies, and wasps in fountains, water gardens and birdbaths.

For most of us in the Philadelphia area, hard water buildup can be a problem.  We use a product called Protec to maintain the beauty of water statuary surfaces.  Protec contains organophosphates for protection against both white calcium mineral buildup and rusty metallic stains on all types of fountain and statuary surfaces.  Protec can also help prevent pump damage due to hard water buildup.  Protec-treated water is safe for birds, plants, and animals.  We have both Fountec and Protec in stock at all times since we use it ourselves!

While these products are great assets in keeping water features looking their best, be prepared for the occasional drain, scrub and clean.  In extremely hot, sunny situations, nothing takes the place of good old elbow grease.  A water feature is a wonderful asset to the garden and can provide so much pleasure with just a little preventive maintenance.  Please give us a call with any questions and we’ll be glad to help!

Look for a future blog post regarding fountains – small & large!

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