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Aquatic Garden Preparation

Aquatic Garden

Q. I have a small aquatic garden in my yard. How do I get it up and operating for summer?

A. Performing basic maintenance on your water feature as part of spring startup will enable it to be a source of enjoyment throughout the warm weather. Here are the basic steps.

• Once the marginal plants begin to grow, remove the pond cover and trim back any dead foliage.

• Verify that pumps and other electrical equipment are operating properly and repair as necessary.

• Service any filters according to their manufacturer’s instructions.

• Fill a 5-gallon bucket with pond water, place it aside, then drain the water to a depth of 2 inches.

• Remove pond plants to a nearby spot, keeping them moist and protected from direct sun.

• Carefully remove any fish, placing them in the bucket of pond water.

• Collect all the snails and place them in a small bucket, rinse with pond water, and return to a protected corner of the pond. Do not disturb them during the remaining steps.

• Remove the debris, dirt, and remaining water from the pond using a brush and shovel, taking care not to damage the liner. Dispose of the dirt in a garden or other area.

• Using a hose and nozzle, rinse the sides of the entire water feature and clean any water lines to the waterfall or fountain. Do not remove or damage the slime algae on the sides of the pond.

• Rinse the bottom, leaving the area of hard waste.

• Refill the pond immediately, adding the pond setup chemicals per instructions.

• Return any fish to the pond by floating them in buckets to minimize temperature shock.

• Clean and fertilize the pond plants and return them to the pond.

Please contact Plant Information at (847) 835-0972 or plantinfo@chicagobotanic.org for more information.