Our 2011 Pond Keeper Catalog is now available for download and all products are available for purchase online at www.naturalenviro.com
Click here to download the 2011 Pond Keeper Catalog
Making Life Better . . . Naturally
A well-manicured lawn is beautiful to look at but takes a lot of maintenance with a lot of products that aren’t exactly good for the environment, let alone our drinking water–which is where most of it ends up after runoff. Want to add value to your estate and create a tranquil environment while helping Mother Nature? Consider installing a pond or water garden in your back (or front) yard.
Initially, installing a pond is a lot of physical work. You have to plan the size and placement, dig a hole, line it and fill with water. Then follow up with selecting the best and properly sized pump, filter, water attachments and fittings. And after that, there is maintenance, just like any well-kept lawn.
The difference is that your pond will attract more birds, beneficial insects and wildlife to your yard, rewarding you with tranquil sights and sounds to help you get more in touch with Mother Nature, herself. Having a pond also opens up the ability of having varieties of flower and plant species otherwise not available like water lilies, lotus and cattail.
Furthermore, ponds can be maintained in a relatively chemical free fashion if you have the right pump and filter set up. Regular use of pond supplies like beneficial bacteria and conditioners are safe and environmentally friendly, thus giving Nature another high-five by keeping the water in your pond or water garden clean and algae-free without the use of harmful chemicals found in most pesticides, weed killers and chemically-based fertilizers.
So with a little bit of planning and elbow grease, you can transform and ordinary backyard into a viable investment and future selling point for your home.
Like anything in life that’s worth having, owning a pond has its work cut out for you. There are a lot of things that you as a pond owner are going to have to keep an eye on and maintain. Here are a few tips to help ease the pain and hopefully turn arduous work into an enjoyable time spent creating and maintaining your outdoor sanctuary.
Location Is Key
In addition to having the pond near some shade while still exposing it to partial sunlight, it’s important to place the pond where you’ll see it everyday. This is a little trickery at work, but the old adage “out of sight, out of mind” definitely applies here. For instance, if you walk past your pond everyday on your way to pick up the morning paper, you’re more likely to work on it a little each day.
Taking consideration of location helps minimize other headaches as well. Ground runoff such as lawn fertilizers, contaminates and pesticides all can negatively affect your pond water quality. Having your pond in a good location (especially near accessible electricity and water) takes the headache out of maintenance by discouraging extra busy work.
Filters go a long way to clean your pond so why not make it easy on yourself when it comes time to clean them? Use filters that are easily accessible, like gravity filters or pressurized filters. You don’t have to deal with anything that’s submerged, so you won’t have to dive down and find and clean/change the filter. Use an easily accessibly external filter and a skimmer to trap debris into a basket or net that you can easily empty.
Plants do an excellent job of fighting algae by just being themselves. They compete for nutrients that algae needs in order to blossom and they shade the water from direct hot sunlight, which robs algae of yet another essential they need to grow. Visit our pond plants page for more information regarding the benefits of plants in your pond.
Another way to keep algae from finding a home in your water garden or pond is to make sure your water is properly oxygenated. If you haven’t already, consider the addition of a fountain or waterfall. These features agitate your otherwise stagnate water, which adds oxygen to it. When your pond has ample oxygen, benefits abound: your filters work better, your pond naturally fights off algae, and your fish grow better and their colors become more vibrant.
Speaking of fish, if you have them (Koi or gold), make sure you don’t overstock your pond. Fish create waste and you don’t want more waste than your pond can naturally handle, as this creates a big problem for you and the pond’s upkeep. A good rule of thumb: 1 to 2 inches of fish per square foot of water surface. Also, take care to not overfeed. Any more food than what your fish can consume in 5 minutes is too much. It’s a waste of food and it makes it that much more work for your pond to do in order to breakdown the wasted food.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll spend a lot more time enjoying your pond rather than maintaining it. You’ll save time and money by doing occasional work and helping your pond work for itself.
Researchers from the University of Rhode Island are developing four different techniques to harness solar energy from the pavements of city streets to power streetlights and road signs and to potentially melt ice on the roads, making them safer to drive.
The methods range from the simplistic–like wrapping flexible photovoltaic cells around the top of barriers in New Jersey dividing highways to provide electricity to power street lights and traffic signals–to the futuristic, which includes a full replacement of asphalt roadways with roadways composed of durable electronic blocks with photovoltaic cells and LED lights and sensors that not only can generate electricity, but also illuminate the lanes and mark when and where the roads need maintainence.
Read the full story here
Like a swimming pool requires chlorine and other chemicals to keep it clean and swimmable, ponds need filtration systems in place to keep the water clear and sustainable for the life in and around it. If you have fish in your pond, filtration is definitely needed to clear the pond of their waste and help support a natural nitrogen cycle. There are several filters to choose from, each varying in price and level of efficiency.
Submersible filters are great for beginning small pond owners because of their incredibly simple setup. Designed to be unobtrusive, they tend to contain a built in pump, spray attachments and are self-contained. The spray attachments are used to return the water back to the pond once it passes through the filter. The attachment can also be used to hide the filter box and it’s cords. They’re better for small ponds because the filter has to actually be removed from the pond in order to do any kind of maintenance on it. They are energy efficient as well. Some submersible filters now incorporate UV sterilizers into the filter.
Below are two different types of external filters. External filters are better for larger ponds or ponds that have a lot of fish. Maintenance is simple because they are located outside of the pond. Most models have a strainer basket that can be removed to empty debris that is filtered from the pond. External filters are also easily expandable, allowing other components to be incorporated into the system, like UV filters. Users can make an external filter from inexpensive parts or can purchase one from a pond supply store. Filters available for purchase will usually fall into two categories: Gravity flow and Pressurized.
Gravity flow filters are external filters that utilize a pump to push cleansed water into the pond at the same rate that water is being filtered out of it. Because they aren’t pressurized, these filters need to be physically placed above the pond they are flowing into, utilizing gravity to filter the pond. Users can also use biological filtration and UV clarification in addition to gravity flow filters to guarantee clear and purified water.
Pressurized filters are external and can be used when water that has already been filtered needs to be pumped to an elevated area, like if the pond has a waterfall. Many pressurized filters are very small and still very efficient. One advantage pressurized filters have over gravity flow filters is that pressurized filter locations aren’t limited to being above the pond. They require a pump with a higher pressure than gravity flow filtration systems do and are usually sold with a suggested pump.
Controlling Duckweed in Your Pond or Lake
In many lakes and medium- to large-sized ponds, duckweed can be a real problem. It grows very quickly and in as little as 48 hours, it can overtake a whole pond, blocking out the sun and making life a lot harder for the fish and other pond plants.
Duckweed is a tiny, fast-reproducing plant that floats on the surface of the water as well as beneath it. Only the coldest places are immune to this overtaking plant; duckweed thrives best in still, fresh waters.
A popular solution, especially for large lake or pond owners, is skimming. According to Pond Boss, a magazine “Dedicated to managing private waters,” in 2004, Venezuela’s largest lake Maracaibo was completely overrun with duckweed. In order to keep the city’s popular tourist site beautiful and clear, the government of Venezuela used public money to fund a project to remove the plant with a giant mechanical skimmer and was successful in removing more than 75% of the plant.
Now, that’s all fine and dandy until you remember how quickly duckweed reproduces. Again, in less than 48 hours your lake, pond or water garden is overrun with the same tiny little plant floating just below the surface.
Rake It In
If you have a small enough pond, a skimmer/rake/ pond net should do you just fine. Venezuela was successful in mechanically removing almost all of the duckweed. If your pond is manageable enough, you should be able to remove most all of the duckweed with some sort of mechanical tool. We have a large assortment of maintenance products that can be used to remove duckweed and other vegetation from ponds.
Left best as a last resort because SO MUCH can go wrong, herbicides stand as a quick fix but remember a few things:
These facts alone should deter you from attempting this without at least a talk with a professional. If not, look for fluridone and penoxsulam in herbicides, as they are excellent ingredients against duckweed. Sonar and WhiteCap are two products with fluridone that kill systematically by being absorbed into the plant, stopping its ability to complete photosynthesis and spread across your entire pond or lake. These products also result in longer term control than contact herbicides, often last a full season or more. If you’re seeking a contact herbicide, products with diquat get the job done. RedWing is a great product, if this is what you seek. RedWing and other contact herbicides act very quickly to kill the targeted plant, but do not have as long of a lasting effect as fluridone, therefore can require multiple treatments in a season. Again, consultation with a professional is best.
A tip for when using RedWing or other contact herbicides….try and accumulate all of the duckweed into one area of the pond like a cove or bank. You may want to wait for a breezy day and let the wind help you out here. You could also look into one of our AquaSweeps to help push floating duckweed into a central location. Once all of the duckweed is collected in one area it is much easier to spray for and will result in less over spray and minimize the risk of damage to non-targeted plants. Plus it can help reduce the overall amount of herbicide you are putting into the water.
If you choose to be a DIY-hero with herbicides, please read and follow all label directions very carefully and make certain you understand that there may be collateral eradication. You could lose a few plants you really didn’t want to lose, so make arrangements. Also, make sure you physically remove dead matter from your pond. Dead organic matter can lead to oxygen depletion, which opens up another can of worms that doesn’t get you any closer to enjoying your pond or lake. Seek professional advice and read the directions and follow them carefully.
According to this article, our planet is entering a new era: Anthropocene or New Man and is the first period of geological time shaped purely by a single species…in this case, man.
The article expresses fear that we will lose thousands of species of plants and animals in the sixth-largest mass extinction in Earth’s history, all at man’s blind, over-consuming hand.
A team of Nobel-prize winning scientists have combined to study the effects of how we live and will determine whether we’ve entered the Anthropocenic era and if we haven’t, they hope to find out when we will. Until then, consume less and recycle, try to save water and get involved in the work that goes into preserving our earth as we know it.
Read the article here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/geology/7528264/Earth-entering-new-age-of-geological-time.html
For those of you not heavily involved in organic farming or organic gardening, you may not have heard of humic acid, but believe me its time you learned.
Humic acid is a vital soil conditioner and bio stimulant used to improve poor soil quality that has resulted from over cultivation or just excessive sand or clay content. Humus materials are complex aggregate of brown to dark colored amorphous substances, which have originated during the decomposition of plant and animal residues by microorganisms, under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, in soils, composts, peat bogs, and water basins. Basically this means humic acid is the organic material created when plants and animals are decomposed. This organic material provides numerous benefits to worn out soil and bio stimulates beneficial microorganisms in the soil.
Benefits of Humic Acid include:
Humic Acid is available in different forms from granules to liquids. Granular versions tend to be better at improving the overall soil profile than liquids, which are better served as foliar treatments. Additionally what makes humic acid so impressive is that it can be applied either as a stand alone product or with fertilizers or other soil conditioners. Extensive studies have also been done showing humic acids benefits in bioremediation and even as a dietary supplement to livestock. Read our article on the Role Humic Acid Plays in Soil Improvement for more info on the benefits of humic acid in soil conditioning.
Sep 14th, 2010 by naturalenviro
Each year, more and more people are taking to planting organic gardens in place of green, manicured, chemically enhanced lawns. This comes as part of a realization that fertilizers and pesticides use fossil fuels and add CO2 to the environment. In addition to those drawbacks, manicured lawns require lots of water, which adds to waste and runoff in our gutters…which eventually leads to our own drinking water supply, adding more harmful ingredients to our simplest necessity.
However, allowing nature to thrive by planting an organic garden uses less water and doesn’t need any harmful fertilizers while fully supporting beneficial birds, insects and other wildlife.
According to Pond Boss, you don’t need home remedies or herbicides to properly manage your mini-pond.
When it comes down to it, the best way to manage a mini-pond is as simple as hard work. Grab an aquatic rake and drag the water for grass and bushy pondweed that crowds your mini-pond, making it smaller than you thought it was. If you’re “too old to work,” pay someone in food/beer to do it for you. There’s no need to use strong herbicides on your mini-pond; you might kill everything in it!
After you rake your pond, collect the matter and move it. If you leave all that gunk pondside, it’ll leave a dead spot where it was. The stuff makes for great compost and should be added to your mulch pile if you have one. Also, figure out what it is you’re raking. Do a bit of research and find out what grows below so you can plan out your plants for next year. It’s always a good idea to know what’s in your mini-pond so you can help it thrive and grow.