Pond Tips – Wildlife Ponds
If the springlike weather in February is making you think about building a pond this year here are some basic tips. If it’s a wildlife pond you want a third of it to be very shallow – 10 cms or so – and none of it needs to be more than 50 cms deep.
Fill it with native plants like bog bean, water mint and forget-me-not – the more the merrier. Animals that live in the water like shallow water because they know there aren’t likely to be any fish in it and it warms up quickly in the sun. Ideally have the pond where it gets at least half the day in the sun – tadpoles in cold, sunless ponds often don’t develop fast enough to leave the pond in the autumn and have to overwinter still as tadpoles in the pond.
One thing you often see suggested is putting silt or water from an established pond into the new one to “seed” it. This is entirely unnecessary as pond life is adapted to move from one water body to another because pools sometimes dry up in a hot summer. Water beetles for example will fly in and drop over your shoulder into the water even as you are filling the pond up.
Photo: A good wildlife pond – a nice beach edge with shallow water for birds to bathe in and lots of native plants to create habitat for pond creatures.