If you have a pond in your backyard and you love wildlife, consider maintaining your pond specifically with wildlife in mind. Wildlife ponds may look very natural, but these ponds still benefit from some planning and upkeep.
Make Shallow Water Attractive To Birds
Birds don't need a large pond to be attracted – after all, even a birdbath can bring them to your yard. What they do need is a shallow area of water that they can use for drinking and bathing. A sandy or rocky area extending down into shallow water is best, so try building up one edge of your pond with stones.
Decide Between Amphibians and Fish
Trying to include both amphibians and fish in your pond is very difficult as most fish find amphibian eggs to be a tasty treat. If your pond is deeper – more than two feet – then it could be a good candidate for introducing native fish. For amphibians, at least some shallow water will be needed. Either way, it is a good idea to also put flowering native plants near your pond to attract insects as a food source.
Choose Native Plants
While decorative water is often surrounded by the most colorful or exotic plants possible, you want plants that are native to your area so that you can attract local wildlife. If you're not sure what the local plants are, consider taking a book on plant identification and visiting natural ponds to see what is already growing there. Your state university's local extension is also a great resource for picking out native plants as well as learning about the wildlife specific to your area.
Remove Invasive Weeds
Whether they were planted decoratively in the past or simply spread to your pond over time, if you have invasive weeds, you'll need to get them removed. Weed control for ponds is generally divided into herbicides and manual tools.
Removing invasive weeds with manual tools means using weed rakes to pull them up and nets to catch and remove them. This method is inexpensive and environmentally-friendly. Unfortunately, invasive plants often regrow quickly if any fragments are left behind.
Herbicides can be very effective in weed control, but they are also complicated. Since there are so many different types of aquatic plants, selecting the correct herbicide is key. Proper application can also mean the difference between success and failure. Existing fish species, differences in hard and soft water, and surface area and water flow can also affect herbicide application. For these reasons, it's generally best to hire a professional like The Lake Doctors, Inc. for aquatic weed removal.