• How can I tell if the duck that visits our pond is a wood duck?

    How can I tell if the duck that visits our pond is a wood duck?

    A: As some of the most stunningly colorful visitors to pond, wood ducks – scientific name Aix sponsa – are easy to spot as long as you know what to look for. Get out your binoculars, because here's a quick primer on wood duck field markings and behavior. Unmistakable Appearance Both male and female adult wood ducks measure about 19 inches high and have a wingspan of 26 to 29 inches. Unique among the duck species, wood ducks have a boxy, crested head, a thin neck and a long, broad tail. When airborne, their silhouette shows a skinny neck, long body, thick tail and... Read More »
  • There are dead cattails and phragmites everywhere. Do I need to rake them out once the ice melts?

    There are dead cattails and phragmites everywhere. Do I need to rake them out once the ice melts?

    A: What an eyesore. As the snow and ice melt, those brown, dried-up cattails and phragmites do little to enhance a landscape. They can, in fact, cause water quality and weed management problems, especially as spring approaches and those green shoots emerge from the dead growth. You need to do something about them, and here's what we recommend. Frosty Water With water temperatures still on the chilly side, it's likely too early to start treating your pond or lake with beneficial bacteria, like those found in Pond Logic® MuckAway™ . Those little detritus-destroyers... Read More »
  • How are algae able to grow in the winter when everything else is dormant?

    How are algae able to grow in the winter when everything else is dormant?

    A: Algae can be tough little buggers. An estimated 72,500 algal species exist worldwide, and some of them can thrive in inhospitable conditions, including areas with ice and snow. With a handful of nutrients and a little bit of light, they're able to grow – even in the 39 degree water under the ice in your lake. But if your lake's water is clean and clear during the spring and summer, how can it explode with algae in the winter? Food Aplenty Algae feed on byproducts of decomposing organic debris, like phosphorous and nitrogen, in the water. During the warmer... Read More »
  • We just purchased a house and it has a backyard swimming pond. How do we measure it?

    We just purchased a house and it has a backyard swimming pond. How do we measure it?

    A: Surface area and pond depth are important measurements to know. They'll help you determine dosage rates with chemicals like algaecide. They'll help you calculate the right-size aeration system for your pond. And they'll help you figure out how many and what types of fish to stock. Finding those magic numbers isn't difficult – but it does require some tools, the right equation and a little bit of work. Before you head out to your pond, grab a rope marked at 1-foot increments, a weight that's heavy enough to sink to the bottom, and something for notetaking. Calculating... Read More »
  • We had a couple of warm days. Is there anything I should be working on for the spring?

    We had a couple of warm days. Is there anything I should be working on for the spring?

    A: We may have another month or two of winter ahead of us, but that doesn't mean you can't head out to the pond on sunny days and get a jump-start on your spring cleaning and maintenance chores. Here are a few ideas: Tidy Things Up Rain, snow, wind and winter precipitation do a number on landscaping, so take some time to clean up the foliage around your pond. Remove fallen branches, rake leaves and debris, cut down cattails and pull out any pond weeds you can reach. Two great all-purpose tools to use for the task are the Weed Cutter and the  Pond & Beach Rake .... Read More »
  • Why is my pond cloudy in the summer and clear in the winter?

    Why is my pond cloudy in the summer and clear in the winter?

    A: Frustrating, isn't it? During the summer when it's warm and inviting outside by the pond, the water looks cloudy; when it's too cold to enjoy the outdoor scenery, the water appears crystal clear. What's the deal? Let's look below the water's surface to see what happens during the two seasons. Murky Summer A lot happens in your pond during the warmer months. Fish are actively feeding and creating waste. Pond critters, like turtles and frogs, are digging around in the mud and stirring up muck at the bottom of the pond. Rainstorms wash sediment into the pond along with... Read More »
  • People ice fish on lakes, but can you ice fish on a small pond, too?

    People ice fish on lakes, but can you ice fish on a small pond, too?

    A: Absolutely! Ice fishing on a small pond can be just as rewarding as ice fishing on a lake – particularly if it's stocked with bass, bluegill and perch. Here are five tips for making this wintertime sport safe and enjoyable. Partner Up: Whether you're ice fishing on a huge lake or a small pond, always fish with a partner. Venturing out on the ice is never 100 percent safe, so have someone there to watch your back and lend a hand in case of emergency. Also be sure to have a Life Ring and first aid kit easily accessible. Better to be safe than sorry! Check Ice... Read More »
  • We just bought a house with a half-acre pond. Where do we start?

    We just bought a house with a half-acre pond. Where do we start?

    A: Some home buyers look for granite countertops or in-house movie theaters – but a half-acre pond is an amenity that makes us giddy! Because you likely don't know the history of the pond, how it was built or how it was maintained, it's best to give that new pond a complete rehab from the bottom up so you can use it to its full potential. Here's a five-step process that will make the job easy: Assess the Pond's Condition. Before you begin rehabbing your pond, take some time to examine it, including measuring its size and depth, identifying weeds and beneficial... Read More »