Spring Pond Clean-outs

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by tadpole, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    A little ahead of the calender on this one...POND CLEAN-OUTS

    I assume, if you are a Water Feature Installer, that:

    1. You offer this service, or

    2. You have heard of this service, or

    3. You have had your head in the sand or some other inappropriate place.

    My question is why is this done in the Spring (I can think of a couple of reasons why not) and, if the installation is correctly done , why it is deemed necessary at all?

    Need something to discuss this weekend. Too old to 'Trick or Treat'.
     
  2. STL Ponds and Waterfalls

    STL Ponds and Waterfalls LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,177

    Your not dressing up as a Tadpole?

    We usually do a fall cleanup/shut down and a spring clean out. In my area even if the install/design is top notch and you cover the sucker up tighter than a drum you still get massive amounts of leaves, acorns, helicoptors etc etc. A lot of times it helps when the owner is hands on and helps with the general maintenance. I have some ponds that need a yearly clena up and a few that haven't been touched in over 5 years.
     
  3. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    What steps are taken during the Fall Clean-up/Shutdown? Hasn't most , if not all, of the debris drop (leaves, acorns, helicopters, etc.) occurred well before the water freezes? I am trying to get edumucated on what actually occurs and the sequence that it occurs in Hort. zones 7 or lower. Down here the heaviest leaf drop occurs in the Spring.
     
  4. STL Ponds and Waterfalls

    STL Ponds and Waterfalls LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,177

    Our fall clean ups/shutdowns consist of cutting plants back. Getting as much debris as possible out of the water without draining. Cleaning the mats and boxes if applicable. Putting nets over the ponds and falls. Tadpole, here we can have leaves on the Oaks well into Dec/Jan, plus all the debris that blows around from neighbors not cleaning thier yards etc. Somtimes I'll just do the hourly maintenance routine with some customers since I'll have to make mutiple trips to the site. A lot of this stuff is determined by weather circumstances and scheduling since I might be building as long as the ground is not had a hard frost/freeze.

    What's your plans? You thinking about migrating north?
     
  5. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    A Dragonfly nymph would less costly.
    It would seem to me that In areas that experience a complete freezing of the Pond's surface for any extended period of time would benefit from the complete clean-out being done after Fall leaf drop but before the water freezes. This will eliminate organics sitting in the bottom of the Pond in anaerobic or low Oxygen conditions,which are ideal for the growth of pathogens, for the entire Winter. If the Pond surface is iced over, any new debris would not be able to enter the water column and could be fairly easily removed before Spring thaw. The result would be that the fish would recover from their low metabolic and immunological state in pathogen free water.

    In your area, Keith, the winters are probably inconsistent as to temperature range and duration, however, in Niagara's location this would not be the normal case. It's a given that he will experience prolonged periods of sub-freezing weather resulting in the icing-over of his Pond.

    I may be wrong in my thinking, but there is only so much debris that can be removed with a net. Why leave any in the Pond over the Winter that may cause problems in the Spring.

    Look at this Aquascape video.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Aquascape4?feature=mhum#p/a/u/0/MQw2WbA-4Wk

    This is the accepted Winter shut-down scenario. They are also trying to sell you lots of stuff.

    I am just not sure that this typical scenario is the best scenario for the health of the Pond.
     
  6. STL Ponds and Waterfalls

    STL Ponds and Waterfalls LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,177

    Our winters are very inconsistant now a days. I pretty much have to do 2 clean outs a year. basic debris removal in the fall than a complete drain and clean in the spring. Assuming the customers want to pay for the services etc.
     
  7. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    If the Ponds have skimmers why are they accumulating so much debris? I apologize if I step on anyone's toes, but with the proper sized Skimmer and Pump along with the proper amount of bio-conversion, there should be very little organic accumulation in any Pond that supports fish including eco-system Ponds, except maybe in areas that experience sporadic ice-over. There should be ZERO to minimal accumulation, hence clean-outs should be unnecessary.
     
  8. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,806


    your kidding right?
     
  9. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    Absolutely not!

    A Pond that is properly constructed, that supports a fish population (especially Koi), SHOULD NOT experience anything but minimal sediment accumulation, if any.

    My definition of "Properly Constructed" is the proper level of filtration, both mechanical and bioconversion. The proper sizing, number and placement of Skimmer units is critical and essential as is turn-over rate [size of pump(s)]. Bioconversion should be oversized.

    Location of the Pond, ultimate fish population (which is usually high) and seasonal min/max temperatures are all critical factors in determining exactly what amount of total filtration (mechanical, bio and turn-over rate) a Pond should have.

    My display Pond was constructed in Winter 2004-2005. It was cleaned in Spring 2006 just before the first Koi were introduced. It has not been cleaned since. It has 2 skimmers, 2 biofalls units and a wetlands filter. It has a total capacity of about 4,000 gallons with a total of 10,000 gph flow rate. It has about 100 feet of stream which includes 3 step pools. The pond has a 3 foot max depth and is, as expected, overstocked with Koi, ranging in size from 8 inches to 20 inches. AND there is NO accumulated sediment, even after 5 years.

    I have not needed to do a clean out on any Pond that I have installed in the past 6 years.
     
  10. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,806

    We are in full agreement up to the point where you put forth, if a pond is properly constructed it will never need cleaning. Your slapping allot of people in the face with a statement like that.
     

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