As if by magic, the daytime temperatures here in the high desert country of southwestern Utah have moderated, and the overnight highs have plummeted. Thatís always a sure sign that fall is here. And thatís a sure sign that itís time to begin preparing your water features for the next few months of LBW, or Life Before Winter.
Here are a few suggestions you might want to incorporate into your fall schedule.
1.) If you have water plants that you have been feeding throughout the summer, stop. Feeding your plants too late into the year will only coax them into new growth, which could result in winter die-off. By shutting off your plantsí food supply now, youíll help them slow down their growth and begin preparing for the coming cold weather.
2.) If you have fish in your ponds cut back on their food. Youíve probably already noticed that theyíre less ravenous now than they were even a few weeks ago. By cutting back on their feeding schedule now, youíll reduce the amount of waste created by the fish, thus reducing the amount of toxic ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates in the water. Youíll also help to set the stage for winter, when (except in the warmest of winter climates) you will stop feeding the fish altogether.
3.) Clean your water gardens of accumulated debris, including leaves, pine cones, needles, branches, and algae. If you have a pond with a filter, clean and replace the filter or install a new filtration medium. If you donít have fish to worry about, drain your water feature and scrub it down with a stiff-bristled brush, such as one made for cleaning automobile tires. If you do have fish, make a 25-percent water change.
4.) Check to see that your pump is running smoothly and quietly. If you find any sign of damage or wear, replace it. The last thing you want to have to do once those bitter cold blasts begin blowing down out of Canada is to tackle the job in your parka.
5.) Examine the marginal plants growing around your pond. Remove any dead or diseased leaves, and prune the plants to the desired size and shape. Fall is a great time for year-end pruning--not too late into the year to produce winter damage, and not too early to encourage a bounty of new growth. Also, as with your water plants, stop feeding to give the plants time to prepare for winter dormancy.
6.) Invite your friends and neighbors over to see your handiwork. Throw a Halloween or a Fall Harvest party so that everyone can get a good firsthand look at your water features. Thatís a terrific way of playing good-will ambassador and spreading the word about the value of water gardening. Offer a prize for the best his-and-her water garden costumes. For best response, send invitations out as far in advance of your party as possible, and follow up with a telephone call or e-mail for that personal touch.
Some Great Water Garden Party Costumes
Devastating Glittery Mermaid Costume
Rugged Pirates of the Caribbean 3 Jack Sparrow Costume