November 09, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:




Hi Carolyn,

I had a question related to keeping our ponds from
freezing. Last winter we tried using an electric de-icer to keep
the water from freezing. It worked great but our electric bill
was high because it uses a lot of juice.

Was that the type of deicer the guy used in Michigan? Are there
any other ways to keep our ponds from freezing over that wont put
us in the poor house?

Also,this is our first season with some pond plants. We have
water lilies,Siberian iris,cat-tails and hyancinths. Now that
winter is coming what should we do with these plants? They were
not cheap! Should we try to bring them inside?

We need your help!


- Karen Oconnor

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Hi, Karen,

There are quite a few DIY models of de-icer, made out of PVC
forms, styrofoam lining, and one low wattage light bulb that
reportedly have worked equally well. There is also a 100-watt
model which costs around $80-100 but saves a lot of money in
electricity over the 1,000-watt models. I personally stick with
the 1,000 watt model because I had a bad experience with the
100-watt when it sunk and the ice closed over the top of it. It
isn't strong enough to open a hole in the ice, only strong
enough to keep one open. I believe if you go to
you can get some information from the club members on how to
make your own if that is what you choose.

As for the plants, the siberian iris will do just fine without
any special care. I have mine planted beside the pond, in the
dirt rather than the pond. And cattails are extremely hardy.
The only thing that harms them is if they should dry out. That
will not happen. If the water lilies are hardy forms, they will
do fine at the bottom of the pond, but if tropicals, they will
have to be overwintered indoors or in a greenhouse. Some people
have overwintered the tropicals by storing the tubers in moist
sand in their basements. I had no luck with that. You might
want to go to the website for more info on

As for the water hyacinths, consider them an anual expense. Can
they be overwintered indoors? Maybe, but is it worth the effort?

You will need a pool or aquarium with lots of sunlight, warmth,
and circulation to keep the water from stagnating and the plants
from dying. I never buy them anymore. I belong to a club and
we all share them. They are so prolific.




Hi again,

Carolyn, what does this wire you speak of look like? Is it one
wire or a fence of some type. Would you take a picture of it so I
can buy what you have. All my large koi were eaten last winter.
I, now have about 20 that were born during the winter and are now
about 6 to 8 inches.

Thanks again

- Joe



Hi Joe,

Joe, I have to come clean with you! I was in the process of
buying it, but didn't have it in yet. Go to the Northern Tools
and Equipment catalog at or call
1-800-533-5545, in the Fall/Winter 2005 issue, page 92, look at
the Spitfire fencing.

I have seen it at other ponds and it is approximately 2-6 strings
(your choice) of wire strung tightly around the perimeter of the
pond, either battery or AC-powered, and the transformer itself is
$49, while all the extras are there on the same or facing page.
It is manufactured by and my pond, after writing
that was in fact attacked by raccoons, a pair of them, and they
ate two fish in my stream. Because of the construction and depth
of my pond (straight sides and 6 1/2 ft. deep) they didn't get
any from the pond itself). I had to set out traps and caught the
two. It was quite an experience. I really want to get that fence
in PRONTO before I have to go through that with their extended
family... which, of course, are out there somewhere. I have to
put up the fence because I can't deal with killing them-- again.
It's simply not my nature.

Let me know how you make out.

- Carolyn

Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens

MacArthur Water Gardens
PO Box 3628
Alpharetta, GA 30023-3628

Posted by bfogle at November 9, 2005 01:59 PM