Author Topic: Wildlife pond advice  (Read 10203 times)

Mrs Pingu

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Wildlife pond advice
« on: 19 December, 2021, 06:51:52 pm »
One day we'd like to build a wildlife pond. Now that we've been at Pingu Towers mkIII for a couple of months we now know that the soil tends to clay and we have been able to observe where the puddles build up when it rains (marked as 'boggy' on the photo).

Originally I'd been thinking about the left hand side of the garden but now seeing where the water builds up we were thinking the RHS might be a more sensible place for the pond.
The garden is on a slight slope towards the house.

2021-12-19_06-41-55 by The Pingus, on Flickr

However, I'm aware that you don't want soil and nutrients getting in a wildlife pond so I'm concerned about the potential of run off down the garden and into the pond.

I'm sure some of you clever peeps have some experience... thoughts?
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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #1 on: 19 December, 2021, 07:39:25 pm »
I’m far from an expert, but my 2p...

My (very small) wildlife* pond is a sunken plant container. It sits just a bit above the soil, with ramps either side to avoid trapping anything. That avoids soil getting in, though the plants around it still shed their leaves at it - but also provide some shelter around it.

Will you end up needing to mow around it? Will that sabotage attempts to keep the water fresh, or interact badly with an electric mower?

* there’s some plants, water and no deliberate fish. It’s attracted a frog, and is more reliably full than our bird bath. Does it qualify as a wildlife pond?

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #2 on: 19 December, 2021, 08:16:57 pm »
Pingu actually already put a pond in, it's a washing up bowl sunk into the LHS bed :)
Given our old downstairs neighbour's pond was surrounded by grass I would think mowing should be ok if we're careful (and place enough plants round the edge).
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Wowbagger

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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #3 on: 20 December, 2021, 12:11:48 am »
I don't think I've got room for a pond but I'd like one. My brother has quite a big garden and he dug one by hand, and it's at least 20 inches deep and probably about 10 square metres. He uses it to breed frogs and quite often has to remove grass snakes and take them for a walk to another pond about half a mile away.

Last winter he tried to walk on the ice, with hilarious consequences.
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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #4 on: 20 December, 2021, 08:17:05 am »
We used to have a pond about 3m in diameter and 60cm in depth. Fish and all until one winter it got down to -22°C and then it was just lillies, frogs and mozzies in season.  Then one of our Leonbergs got a bit too fond of bringing us complete lily plants and copious helpings of pond mud to tease out of his fur so we dumped the liner and turned it into a dell.  Life without mosquitoes was wonderful.
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Mrs Pingu

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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #5 on: 21 December, 2021, 10:06:06 pm »
Looks like we need to find YAPF...
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CrazyEnglishTriathlete

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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #6 on: 30 January, 2022, 02:23:45 pm »
We installed a pond when we moved to CET Towers in 1996.  It's 3m x 1.5m x 60cm deep, which was a very big hole, and took some to dig, although we were lucky to be a back corner plot where they'd heaped up all the top soil.  Around the edge we put a layer of stone chippings, so most of the soil drainage goes into that rather than the pond.  To oxygenate it we have a pump which feeds a waterfall, with about a 45cm drop (that's where much of the soil went, to be the base for a rockery).  It has a custom stainless steel grid over the top, which cost a fortune, but replaces the plastic mesh which was there to keep herons, cats, hedgehogs, and children out.

Every year I pull out 90% of the floating oxygenating weed, and cut back the water mint all the way to its underwater pot.  There are also irises and a huge marsh marigold which we planted in 1997 and still survive.  There are goldfish in there, which we don't feed and are a self-sustaining population.  There are always frogs.  I've seen toads in the garden and I sometimes find newts when I'm cleaning out the pond, including a great crested newt one year.

The key things are:  1) having a pond big enough, so that it can be self-sustaining, 2) the water flow, to keep it oxygenated, which also seems to help avoid mosquitos, 3) the annual clean, so that it doesn't revert to bog. 

I would expect its probably only about 45cm deep now, with the rest being a steady accumulation of mud, but that's not a worry, it just encourages more stuff to live in it.
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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #7 on: 03 February, 2022, 08:11:23 pm »
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Mrs Pingu

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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #8 on: 03 February, 2022, 08:27:09 pm »
Yes I've already read the first one (and several others similar) and don't think the SEPA one is really aimed at your average back garden puddle. Just struggling to find much useful info on slopes. I think we're just going to end up digging it and suck it and see.
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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #9 on: 09 February, 2022, 07:41:05 pm »
Our pond started off over 5ft deep at the deepest.
The shallow end is rapidly progressing to sphagnum bog, while the deeper end is a flourishing fen carr.
Been heaving willow seedlings out of it today.
But it does support a lot of wildlife.

Pingu

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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #10 on: 05 March, 2022, 10:42:08 pm »
It looks like I've scored some free pond building material from a local wildlife Facebook group  :thumbsup:

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #11 on: 06 March, 2022, 04:44:33 pm »
Pond had its annual clean out last weekend, took out about a kilo of mud from the filter, so the waterfall is running a lot better now.  Also heaved out surplus oxygenating weed and shrank the water mint back to 5% of pond cover from the 30% it gets to each year.  There are 5 goldfish, descendants of the ones that were put in there in 1997 and there was a dead newt stuck to the pump water filter.  Less frogspawn than usual.
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rr

Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #12 on: 06 March, 2022, 04:57:33 pm »
Looks like we need to find YAPF...
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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #13 on: 07 March, 2022, 12:27:08 pm »
A fish pond isn't a wildlife pond. No need for pumps and filters etc in a wildlife pond. They are more likely just to disturb the wildlife.
Plenty of oxygenating plants will keep it fresh enough. Though its natural for it to go a bit green from time to time, especially as its getting established. Adding some daphnia may help to control algae, and provide food for wildlife.

Pingu

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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #14 on: 18 April, 2022, 11:20:54 am »
Don't dig it here, dig it over there.


IMG_9757_01 by The Pingus, on Flickr

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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #15 on: 18 April, 2022, 11:51:22 am »
Aberdonians never got the hang of peat cutting.
It is simpler than it looks.

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #16 on: 18 April, 2022, 07:17:38 pm »
I have cleaned the camera lens now...

Also, I was a bit shocked when I got back to the office after a long lunch, had a quick shufti at my phone and saw the big hole in our lawn  :o
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Pingu

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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #17 on: 18 April, 2022, 09:08:28 pm »
Inspector of works.


IMG_9760 by The Pingus, on Flickr

Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #18 on: 18 April, 2022, 10:15:28 pm »
Inspecting the new litter tray?

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #19 on: 30 April, 2022, 04:32:11 pm »
This was the pond the next day. We then decided we might have been slightly hasty trimming the liner as we'd not really decided how to keep it in place.
2022-04-30_04-22-50 by The Pingus, on Flickr

Anyway, today Pingu seemed set to empty it and put a new bit of liner in, but then we found someone had moved in already.
IMG_9944_01 by The Pingus, on Flickr

So we took the lazy gits way out and back filled the turf a bit.
IMG_20220430_143512 by The Pingus, on Flickr

IMG_20220430_143531 by The Pingus, on Flickr

Needs plants now...
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Mrs Pingu

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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #20 on: 19 May, 2022, 09:58:36 pm »
Pond update:
We were utterly failing to choose plants, so we went for Waterside's starter pack for a 1-2m2 pond.
2022-05-19_09-50-23 by The Pingus, on Flickr

Seems to me like we still need more plants, I don't think that's enough?

On the plus side they were kind enough to send some wildlife, I think the 1st one might be some sort of odonata nymph (there were a couple but one was dead).
2022-05-19_09-51-31 by The Pingus, on Flickr

2022-05-19_09-50-42 by The Pingus, on Flickr
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ravenbait

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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #21 on: 20 May, 2022, 08:07:23 am »
Once we've got the storm damage cleared (that'll only take 7 years, at the rate we're going), I'll be putting a pond in at the Ravenbait Eyrie. One of the first things I'll do is snaffle some duckweed from somewhere. We put in a large pond in the garden in Devon, and it was an algae-filled nightmare until some duckweed got in there and the lilies grew. Then it magically cleared and became a really good wildlife pond with lots of frogs, toads, breeding dragonflies, the lot.

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Mrs Pingu

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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #22 on: 20 May, 2022, 11:15:39 am »
I have a feeling we just hoicked some duckweed out of the washing up bowl pond...
It looked like globs of jelly in the water but was green and weedy when we pulled it out.
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ravenbait

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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #23 on: 20 May, 2022, 11:18:28 am »
Duckweed forms wee round leaves like teeny tiny lily pads that float on the surface.



Sam
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Mrs Pingu

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Re: Wildlife pond advice
« Reply #24 on: 20 May, 2022, 11:19:11 am »
Ah, thanks. Not what we had then.
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