Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Snails and Garden Ponds

Small ponds have become a common garden feature.  They create a lovely, natural accent that attracts birds and other garden visitors.  Ideally a garden pond is set up as a small eco-system with plants and fish.  When done properly the pond becomes sustainable in that the plants filter the water while removing nitrogen and providing shade to prevent algae problems.  The fish provide nitrogen for the plants while keeping beneficial algae under control. 

New pond owners often introduce fish too quickly to their garden ponds, before beneficial algae has a chance to form and the water age a bit.  The solution for many is to add a few snails to the pond because beneficial algae is mistaken as being needed to be controlled.  This is the wrong solution.  Beneficial algae should be control through water filtration and shading of the pond.  I refer to the beneficial algae as pond patina.  It's a light coating of algae on the pond sides that does not cause the pond water to turn green.  String algae is a bit more difficult to control.  It should be manually removed.  If the water turns green, knock down the algae by adding a bit of cornmeal or the contents of a package of grape koolaid mix.  The grape koolaid provides immediate shade that causes the algae to die back a bit.  The grape koolaid is also an effect way to control pest birds like grackles that frequent the pond creating another problem - snails!

Snails are going to happen in the pond which is one reason you should not introduce them.  Snails are generally introduced into ponds naturally on the feet of visiting birds.  Snails are beneficial BUT they multiply too fast blocking intake lines and filters.  Any snail die down will cause additional problems like bacterial build-up and water souring.  If (really when) you notice snails have been introduced to your pond, keep a close check on the snail population level.  As soon as you notice snails in your pond you need to start doing a bit of scooping and do no ever, ever, ever release the snails to the wild!

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome


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