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Using water to attract wildlife


What is the one thing that you can do to attract a greater variety of wildlife to your habitat, regardless of the size of your property. The answer is... add water.

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									                   What is the one thing that you can do to                    O     ften when we want to
                                                                                    attract more birds or
                                                                               animals, we think in terms of
                  attract a greater variety of wildlife to your
                                                                               offering additional food
                         habitat, regardless of the size                       sources. While this is certainly
                                of your property.                              entertaining for us and
                                                                               appreciated by wildlife, there
                                The answer is... add water.                    are frequently other food
                                                                               supplies in the area, such as
                                                                               berries and seeds, or insects
                                                                               and smaller mammals.

            Add Water and                                                        Generally speaking, a
                                                                               species will limit its
                                                                               population in a locality

            They Will Come                                                     according to the food supply
                                                                               that is available. In addition,
                                                                               most species can survive a
                                                                               certain amount of time
                                                                               without food when supplies
                                                                               are short. Water is a very
                     For more nature habitat information                       different matter.
                           Visit these helpful websites:
                                                                                  We, like our household pets,
                                   A Plant's Home                              need water all year around, and
                                   A Bird's Home                               cannot survive for very long
                                   A Homesteader's Home                        without it. The same thing is
                                                                               true of all living things,
                                                                               including those in the wild.

                                                                                  When development fills in or
                                                                               pollutes wetlands and ponds,
                                                                               or a drought dries up vernal
                                                                               pools and there are no rain
                                                                               puddles or drops of moisture
                                                                               on leaves, or a long stretch of
                                                                               very cold weather freezes the
                                                                               usual water sources, then the
                                                                               stress on wildlife is

                                                                                 By providing a clean,
                                                                               dependable supply of water you
                                                                               will attract and benefit a far
                                                                               broader spectrum of wildlife
                                                                               than with any type of food.

                                                                                  This means that you will
                                                                               attract birds that don’t eat
                                                                               seed and won’t appear at your
                                                                               feeders, animals which are
                                                                               normally too shy to appear in
                                                                               the open, and creatures that
                                                                               you usually don’t think about

© WindStar Wildlife Institute
                                                     Page 1   A Plant's Home
    feeding but which are very
    beneficial, such as frogs and             “Of all the garden developments you can undertake to
    butterflies.                             increase habitat diversity, ponds are probably the most
                                            effective and the most gratifying. If you have the space, a
      When trying to create an              large pond offers a wide range of possibilities, but even a
    ecosystem in a limited area,                    tiny pool can make a noticeable difference."
    water is your most important
    resource.                                                                       – The Natural Garden Book
                                                                                                 Peter Harper
      If you are trying to provide
    water for a wide variety of         fountain, and even a few fish.          Sunshine can also be a
    creatures, then you should          Ideas would include large terra      problem, since the water in
    present it in several different     cotta pots, half barrels, stone      containers can overheat easily,
    ways. The first consideration is    troughs – you are only limited       so if your climate is very hot,
    height. Water at ground level, at   by your imagination.                 provide some shade, especially
    the height of a standard bird                                            if you are including fish.
    bath, and still higher above the      Containers which aren’t
    ground, perhaps in a tree, will     waterproof can be lined to make        Think about the wildlife that
    meet the needs of many              them suitable. The depth of the      you hope to attract, how much
    species.                            container will determine what        space you have, and whether
                                        plants you can grow, and             you want the water to merge
      Then you can think about size,    whether or not it is useful for      with your living space or be
    depth, still or moving water,       amphibians or birds.                 somewhat removed.
    solid or earth-bottom, clear or
    containing plants and rocks,           In colder climates these            Many people begin with a
    and so on with endless              containers may freeze in winter,     standard bird bath on a
    possibilities.                      killing the plants and fish and      pedestal. There are many styles
                                        possibly splitting the container     on the market, or you can make
    Small Spaces                        itself. Sometimes a heater can       your own. Whatever you choose
      If you don’t have much space,     be added, or they can be             should gradually slope to no
    many common containers can          brought indoors until warmer         more than 3 in. deep and should
    hold water, plus some plants, a     weather returns.                     have a rough surface.

                                                                                Birds fear deep water
                                                                             because they can easily drown,
                                                                             and smooth surfaces allow
                                                 Container Waterfall         them to slip and lose control.
                                                                             If it’s at least 24 in. to 36 in.
                                                                             wide it will allow several birds
                                                                             to drink and bathe at the
                                                                             same time.

                                                                               Bird baths should be out in
                                                                             the open, about 15 ft. from
                                                                             shrubs or trees. This allows the
                                                                             birds to see approaching
                                                                             predators and gives them a
                                                                             safe place to which they can

                                                                             Be Creative
                                                                               Once you have the basic bird
                                                                             bath installed, think about
                                                                             variations. By sinking a bird
                                                                             bath bowl – or a garbage can lid

© WindStar Wildlife Institute           Page 2    A Plant's Home
    or similar object – into the          Birds in particular are fond        sand, will attract butterflies.
    ground so that the lip extends      of moving water, and the              They not only need water to
    up a couple of inches (to keep      sound alone is often enough           drink, but also require
    dirt from washing in), you can      to attract them. Some bird            minerals from the wet dirt.
    create an instant drinking pool.    baths provide fountains, and
                                        there are kits to create your         Larger Bodies of Water
      Depending on its location,        own fountains in other                  Now that the birds and
    this type of arrangement can        containers. There are also            insects are provided for, you
    also attract reptiles and           special misting attachments           can think about other
    amphibians, insects, and small      that can be added.                    creatures which will appreciate
    mammals. If you are striving for                                          larger and deeper sources of
    a completely natural look,            If you are working with a           drinking water. Ponds have
    consider a large stone with a       limited budget, a hose draped         been recognized for the
    depression that can hold water,     over a tree branch and allowed        beauty that they add to any
    or a log that has been partially    to drip very, very slowly into a      home landscape.
    hollowed out.                       container of water will provide
                                        the desired effect.                     As a result, there is a
       There are also bird baths                                              wealth of information available
    which can hang from tree              A similar solution would be to      on building ponds of all sizes,
    branches or from brackets           replace the hose with a bucket,       as well as kits to make your
    attached to a deck railing or       plastic jug, or other watertight      job easier.
    wall. These are excellent for       container with a tiny hole in the
    apartment dwellers, or anyone       bottom, just large enough to let         This publication will primarily
    who has limited yard space.         the water drip out slowly .           give you an overview of the
    Some even use suction cups to                                             basics of building and
    attach to windows, allowing you       A series of half-barrels or         maintaining an informal pond
    to have a close-up view of the      other containers at different         designed to attract and serve
    action.                             heights, plus a recirculating         wildlife. Any bookstore, library,
                                        pump, can create the illusion of      large home improvement store
      Whatever water source you         a waterfall as the liquid flows       or nursery, or your Cooperative
    provide, it needs to be kept        through spouts or other               Extension Service can provide
    clean, filled, and free of any      connectors from one level into        you with seemingly endless
    chemicals. For winter use, there    the next.                             books and information on
    are heated bird baths, or                                                 more elaborate construction
    separate heating elements             Maintaining a packed area of        techniques.
    that can be added to any small      moist soil, or providing a
    water feature.                      shallow container of damp                Most pond construction
                                                                              books will give guidelines about
                                                                              waterfalls, elevation and
       “All too often, gardeners, when confronted with wet areas,             excavation, water tables, and
         attempt to alter the habitat by drainage or fill, with the           liner and pump sizes. If that
       purpose of creating lawns or planting shrubs in an attempt             type of pond is your goal,
        to shape a landscape into a scene resembling every other              taking time to do the research
                            developed landscape...                            now will mean far few problems
            Why not work within the parameters of the existing                in the future.
       environment, making use of water to create a landscape of
       both stability and beauty. Use the assets of the site, such              Your first step should be to
          as its natural moisture for a pool or a marshy habitat              analyze your space and decide
        rather than fighting nature. The creation of a wet habitat            where you want to locate your
         also offers unexpected pleasures in the form of the wild             pond. To get the most
          species that may appear naturally or be brought in by               enjoyment, it should be visible
                               migrating birds."                              from the house and
                                                                              customary outdoor living area
                                       – Gardening with Native Wild Flowers
                                          Samuel Jones and Leonard Foote      such as a deck or patio.

© WindStar Wildlife Institute            Page 3   A Plant's Home
      Situated closer to the                             If you take a photo of your                                     shallower is certainly safer
   house, you will have the                            yard and get inexpensive paper                                    than deeper.
   relaxing sound of the water,                        photocopies made, you can
   and a constant view of the                          draw many variations of your                                        Try to visit a number of
   flowers, fish, insects, and                         ideas until you’re happy with                                     different ponds in private yards,
   small creatures that are                            the results.                                                      public places or botanic gardens
   attracted to the pond. Larger                                                                                         to get a feel for the style and
   mammals are more cautious                           Simple or Elaborate.                                              features that you’d like to
   and will be more likely to visit                      The style of your pond is a                                     incorporate.
   a water source that is farther                      very personal choice, and it can
   from human activity, although                       be simple or elaborate, casual                                      When it comes to ponds,
   it can certainly still be in easy                   or formal. Safety, however, is                                    larger is generally better.
   view.                                               critical. Some localities have                                    Professionals say that they are
                                                       specific zoning ordinances                                        often called in to enlarge a
     Unless you are fortunate                          relating to water features, and                                   pond, but never to make one
   enough to have a large “farm                        anything deeper than 2 ft. may                                    smaller! Larger ponds tend to
   pond" which is spring-fed or                        be designated a “pool," so be                                     stay cleaner and the water
   can rely on rainfall, your pond                     sure that you are meeting any                                     temperature fluctuates less,
   needs to be in reach of a hose                      requirements such as fencing.                                     placing less stress on the fish
   for filling and cleaning.                                                                                             and plants.
                                                         Also check for any
     The surrounding area can get                      restrictions in your                                                Although any water in your
   very moist and soggy when                           homeowner’s insurance policy.                                     yard is better than none, if you
   rainfall is heavy, so providing                     Utility companies will usually                                    have sufficient space try for a
   for paths or stepping stones                        come to your home at no                                           pond that is at least 6 by 8 ft.
   will add to your enjoyment.                         charge to mark the location of
                                                       underground pipes and wires.                                        Lay out your design with a
     To appreciate the peace and                                                                                         piece of rope or hose so that
   serenity that your pond will                          If you have children in the                                     you can easily experiment with
   bring to your yard, include                         family, or even in neighboring                                    shape and dimension before you
   some kind of seating                                houses, water depth is an                                         actually start digging. Unless
   arrangement where you can                           important factor. Although it                                     you need a geometric shape for
   relax and contemplate the                           is possible to drown in just a                                    a specific formal plan, use
   beauty around you.                                  couple of inches of water,                                        curving lines and avoid sharp

          Wildlife Pond                                                                              Deepest part
                                      Shallow pebble                              Deep-water         of the pond                      Bog plants –
                                      beach to allow                              aquatics           should be at                     choose native
                                      small animals         Add a bucketful       grown in           least 2 ft. so as                species
                                      access to the         of water from an      baskets            to protect pond
                       Paved area     water without         established pond                         life in winter
                       for birds      drowning              to introduce
                       and people                           aquatic life

                       Butyl liner                                                                                                         Old logs
                                                                                                                                           and tall
                                     2 in. layer of                                                                      Bog garden        grass to
                                     sand above and                                                                                        encourage
                                     below the liner                                                 Marginal plants                       insects and
                                                       2-3 in. layer of                              grown in baskets                      animals
                                                       heavy soil on top       Oxygenators           and placed on a
                                                       of the sand layer       planted into the      shelf
                                                                               soil layer

                                                                                                  – The Rock and Water Garden Expert
                                                                                                                  Dr. D. G. Hessayon

© WindStar Wildlife Institute                          Page 4          A Plant's Home
    corners – they won’t look                Some ponders use sand bags          At the same time, don’t
    natural and will have a tendency       to form ledges. Many people         choose the lowest site on your
    to collect debris.                     choose to add electrical            property. If it is too low, you
                                           elements to their pond design,      may have problems with
      Know in advance where you are        such as pumps, filters, heaters,    contamination from debris or
    going to put the dirt that you         and lights.                         pollution from runoff.
    remove. Some suggestions are
    to use it for a berm around the          The most common filters are         Creating a berm, or raised
    pond, to form an island, or to         either mechanical (pulling the      mound, around the edges of
    create a new garden (perhaps a         water through filter pads) or       the pond will help prevent this.
    raised bed) elsewhere on the           biological (passing the water       The more level the site, the
    property.                              over cleansing bacteria living in   easier it will be to correctly dig
                                           a contained space).                 the pond.
    Consider Climate
      Find out the anticipated               The details about filters, as        If there is any slope, be sure
    freezing depth for your area. In       well as different types of          that the low side faces away
    most climates, 2 ft. is                pumps, are available in most        from the house or other area
    sufficient for small fish and          pond construction books. With       where overflow could cause
    plants to survive the winter           anything electrical, you need to    problems. If your water supply
    (but plan on at least 1 ft.            research local regulations, and     is chlorinated or treated with
    deeper than the usually                be sure that any lines are safely   ammonia, you will have to
    thickest ice).                         buried and that everything is       neutralize it since these
                                           grounded and intended for use       chemicals can be toxic to
      Adequate depth is also               outdoors and around water.          wildlife.
    important in warm climates,
    since it is dangerous for fish           Although you can choose a            Treatments are available
    and plants if the water gets           shady site, remember that you       through companies which sell
    too hot.                               will have to remove falling         fish or water plants. Before
                                           leaves in the autumn so that        treating, you will need to know
       Ledges at various depths            they aren’t sinking and             the water capacity of the pond,
    (starting at about 10 in. below        decomposing in the water or         which can be determined by
    the surface for marginal plants        clogging a filter system. Tree      multiplying the length x width x
    in pots) are recommended for           roots can also puncture liners.     depth x 7.5 gallons/cubic ft.
    different species of plants, with
    the shallowest one at least 1 ft.        On the other hand, if your        Bottoms Up
    wide.                                  pond is very shallow, shade will       The bottom of some ponds
                                           reduce evaporation and              consists of packed earth, while
                                           overheating of the water. If you    others depend on cement, a
                                           want to grow a variety of           rigid plastic form, or some kind
    Pond Ledge                             flowering plants in and around      of flexible liner. If you have clay
                                           the water, you will need to be      soil, digging a depression and
                                           sure that the site receives at      packing down the earth may be
               Shelf for marginal plants   least five hours of sun per day.    all that you need to do.

                                             Unless you are designing a           If you have soil that drains
                                           formal pond to be incorporated      rapidly, or you want to be sure
                                           into a specific landscape style,    that the soil stays really wet
                                           choose a site where the pond        all the time in order to
                                           will look natural.                  support water-loving plants,
                                                                               then you will need to add a
                                             You wouldn’t expect to see a      liner. Other than an earth
                                           body of water sitting on the top    bottom, a flexible liner is the
                                           slope of a hill in nature, and it   most versatile since it will fit
    – The Rock and Water Garden Expert     won’t look right in your yard       any shape that you choose to
                    Dr. D. G. Hessayon     either.                             dig.

© WindStar Wildlife Institute              Page 5   A Plant's Home
       Polyethylene liners are lowest   Pond Maintenance                           If you have an unexpected
    in cost but don’t last very long      Clean out debris regularly,           freeze, you can repeatedly
    (perhaps up to 10 years); PVC       because it can rob the pond of          place a hot pot on the ice until
    liners are mid-range in price       oxygen as it decomposes. Some           it melts a hole (keeping control
    but are stronger and may be         owners use netting to catch             of it so that it doesn’t sink!).
    reinforced with netting; and        falling leaves in autumn before         Don’t hammer on the ice to
    Butyl sheeting is the most          they enter the water.                   make an opening because the
    expensive but also the                                                      vibrations could kill the fish.
    strongest, tolerating both            Destructive insects should
    sunlight and frost. It can be       be washed off the plants or             Water Color
    expected to last 20-50 years.       the affected leaves should be              The color of the water is
                                        removed. Don’t use any                  significant. If your pond is
      Beware of using swimming          pesticides.                             healthy, the water should
    pool liners or other materials                                              actually be amber rather than
    not designed for ponds,               In winter, discard tropical           clear, indicating the presence
    because often they have been        plants and move hardy ones to           of beneficial organisms. Green
    treated with chemicals which        a depth of 18 in. or more. Stop         water indicates the growth of
    can be toxic to wildlife and        feeding any fish when the               algae and is normal during the
    plants. Look for products           temperature no longer goes              first few weeks after filling the
    marked “fish safe."                 above 50 degrees. They have no          pond.
                                        digestive systems and rely on
      When using a flexible liner,      the bacteria that only grows in           The fish and submerged
    pad the ground first with a         warmer weather.                         plants will help the pond come
    thick layer of newspaper and/                                               into balance. Brown water is
    or sand to protect the plastic        The fish will instinctively           due to particles of sediment
    from being punctured by small       move to the deepest part of             stirred up by the fish, or by
    stones.                             the pond. When temperatures             strongly moving water. This
                                        go below freezing, it is                can be reduced by removing
       To determine the size of liner   necessary to let oxygen into            some of the debris which has
    needed, measure the length          the water and also to let any           settled to the bottom.
    and width of the pond, adding       gasses caused by leaf
    an additional foot to each for      decomposition escape, or else             Black water means that tree
    overlap on the top edge, then       the fish will suffocate.                leaves are decaying in the
    multiply the maximum depth                                                  water, and they need to be
    times two and add it to the           A heater or deicer can be             removed since they can release
    first figures.                      used to keep a small portion of         toxic gases.
                                        water unfrozen, or you can drill
       Let the water settle before      1/2 in. holes along the length of         Decaying water lily leaves can
    trimming away any excess, but       a piece of 4 in. PVC pipe and           leave a film of oil on the
    leave enough material to fold       sink it at the deep end with 4 in.      surface which can be removed
    some over the sand or rocks         of the pipe extending above the         by placing a sheet of
    that are holding the edges in       water surface.                          newspaper on top of the water
    place as you fill the pond. Hide                                            and then pulling it off. If the
    the remaining visible edge                                                  water has a white, cloudy
    material with additional rocks.                                             appearance, look for and
                                           “...a small informal wildlife        remove dead fish or other
      Leaving some excess will let       pond can be accommodated               animals which may have
    you make adjustments in the          in most gardens, as it is the          drowned.
    future, if necessary. Using            natural population rather
    stones and plants around the          than the pond itself which            Types of Plants
    edges, putting some smooth              is the main attraction."              There are several kinds of
    gravel in the water, and using a                                            pond vegetation. The most
    dark-colored liner will all serve      – The Rock and Water Garden Expert   common are submerged plants,
    to make the pond look more                             Dr. D.G. Hessayon    marginal plants, water lilies,
    natural.                                                                    and floaters. As a general rule,

© WindStar Wildlife Institute           Page 6   A Plant's Home
    plants should cover about 60%       especially if it has a high clay
    of the water’s surface to keep      content. Small gravel on the            NATIVE PLANTS SUITABLE FOR
    algae growth under control.         top will hold the soil in place.        PONDS, BOGS, OR WETLANDS

      Many aquatic plants, provided       Water lilies prefer quiet             Floating Rooted Aquatics
    with a constant supply of water     water, so they are not                  s   Floating Heart
                                                                                    (Nymphoides aquatica)
    and nutrients, can be very          compatible with fountains.              s   American Lotus
    vigorous, and are often grown in    Tropical species cannot survive             (Nelumbo lutea)
    submerged perforated                winter temperatures, but hardy          s   Water Lily
    containers to keep them within      varieties will live if the foliage is       (Nymphaea odorata)
    reasonable bounds.                  cut back and the pot placed in          s   Spatterdock (Nuphar advena)
                                        the deepest part of the pond.           Free-floating Aquatics
      As a rule, use good garden                                                s  Mosquito Fern
    soil without organic matter           They are called “rooted                  (Azolla caroliniana)
    and low in nutrients, since         floating aquatics" because              s  Water Spangles
                                                                                   (Salvinia minima)
    these things will encourage         they are planted in soil but               Large Duckweed
    algae growth.                       their stems stretch to the                 (Spirodela polyrhiza)
                                        water’s surface.                        s  Inflated Bladderwort
      The plant species which grow                                                 (Utricularia inflata)
    underwater are called                 Floating plants don’t anchor
                                                                                Submerged Oxygenators
    oxygenators and they keep the       in pots or dirt, but rather let            Fanwort
    pond clean by removing excess       their roots dangle in the water.           (Cabomba caroliniana)
    nutrients, thus starving the        Like water lilies, their leaves cut     s  Eel Grass
    algae. They also provide hiding     back the sunlight, and thus the            (Vallisneria americana)
    places for fish and other           algae, and their roots consume          s  Waterweed
                                                                                   (Elodea canadensis)
    underwater creatures.               excess nutrients.                       s  Common Water Nymph
                                                                                   (Najas guadalupensis)
       Generally speaking, to keep        Many of these are very                s  Hornwort
    the water healthy, plan on          vigorous growers and can take              (Ceratophyllum demersum)
    planting 12 cuttings of             over a pond, so be prepared to
                                                                                Marginal Plants
    submerged plants for each sq.       scoop some out as necessary.            s  Duck Potato
    ft. of pond surface.                                                           (Sagittaria latifolia)
                                          The removed plants add good           s  Arrow Arum
      These are planted directly        nutrients to a compost pile,               (Peltandra virginica)
                                                                                s  Three Way Sedge
    into the soil at the bottom of      and the water is great fertilizer          (Dulichium arundinaceum)
    the pond. A layer of pea gravel     for flower beds if you ever have        s  Blue Flag (Iris versicolor)
    will help to keep fish from         to drain your pond for                  s  Water Horsetail
    disturbing them. If possible, let   maintenance.                               (Equisetum fluviatile)
    plants become established                                                   s  Wild Rice (Zizania aquatica)
                                                                                s  Swamp Lily
    before introducing fish.              Sometimes aquatic                        (Crinum americanum)
                                        vegetation can get out of               s  Pickerelweed
      Marginal plants are the ones      control and threaten the                   (Pontederia cordata)
    that you will place on the ledge    health of the pond. Often this
    of the pond, or plant in your bog   is due to an excess of                  Wetland Plants
                                                                                s  Soft Rush (Juncus effusus)
    garden. While they enjoy            nutrients, perhaps the result           s  Lizard’s Tail
    constant moisture on their          of runoff from lawn fertilizers            (Saururus cernuus)
    roots, they don’t want to be        or farm animal waste                    s  Woolgrass (Scirpus cyperinus)
    deep in the water.                  products.                               s  Cardinal Flower
                                                                                   (Lobelia cardinalis)
                                                                                s  New York Ironweed
      If you pot them yourself,           Lowering the water level                 (Vernonia noveboracensis)
    don’t use peat moss or              allows you to pull the weeds by         s  Water Willow
    commercial “soil-less" mixes        hand. Any biological or                    (Decodon verticillatus)
    because those substances will       herbicidal controls should only         s  Wild Red Mallow
                                                                                   (Hibiscus coccineus)
    float and pollute the water.        be used as a last resort and            s  Swamp Pink (Helonias bullata)
    Use regular garden soil,            with careful supervision.

© WindStar Wildlife Institute           Page 7    A Plant's Home
       Never use any chemicals in                                        Add a liner if your soil                         If you live in an area with cold
    streams or ponds that connect                                      doesn’t naturally retain                         winters, mulch bog plants well.
    to or overflow into estuaries.                                     moisture, but this time poke                     The additional moisture in the
                                                                       some small holes in the liner                    soil can cause severe “frost
    Create a Bog                                                       and fill the depression with a                   heaves" which may kill your
      While they don’t get the                                         mixture of sand, humus, some                     perennials if they aren’t
    amount of public attention that                                    soil and water.                                  protected.
    ponds do, many naturalists
    prefer to create bogs in their                                       The formula recommended by                        If you already have wet areas
    habitat.                                                           Ken Druse in The Natural                         on your property, enhance
                                                                       Garden “three parts acidic
                                                                                is                                      them rather than try to
      These provide water and                                          humus, such as peat moss or                      overcome them. Drainage
    support a range of wildlife and                                    oak leaves, to two parts sand,                   ditches can be deepened and
    plants, yet don’t have the                                         to one part loam – good                          lined (if necessary) and then
    safety concerns of electricity or                                  topsoil ."                                       planted to become lovely
    deep water, and don’t require                                                                                       stream features.
    the more intensive commitment                                         Placing a soaker hose (one
    of time and money for                                              with tiny perforations along                       Low-lying ground that never
    construction.                                                      its length) at the bottom of                     seems to dry out can become
                                                                       the bog, with one end sealed                     a valuable bog or wetland
      They can also do well in partial                                 and the connecting end                           area. If you can locate the
    shade, and don’t have as many                                      sticking out enough to be                        source of the water – possibly
    problems with tree roots. As                                       accessible, will let you add                     an underground spring – then
    before, start with a depression                                    water as needed without                          you can center a pond there,
    about 18 in. deep.                                                 disturbing the surface.                          and surround it with a bog
       If the bog area is large                                          Some people also choose to
    enough, create some mounds                                         create bog areas around a                           The constant moisture will
    to accommodate acid-loving                                         more traditional pond, thus                      allow you to plant flowers that
    shrubs like blueberries and                                        accommodating any overflow                       wouldn’t grow well under normal
    pussy willows which appreciate                                     from heavy rain, while at the                    garden conditions. Some
    constant moisture but don’t                                        same time creating another                       thoughtful landscaping can
    like to live in standing water.                                    distinct habitat environment.                    turn what seemed like a
                                                                                                                        negative feature into the focal
                                                                                                                        point of your yard.

         Bog Garden                                                  STEP 6:
                                                                     COMPLETE THE GARDEN                                Attracting Wildlife
                                                                     Rake 2 oz. Growmore or
                                                                     balanced organic fertilizer
                                                                                                                           Toads and frogs will be happy
                                                                     per sq. yd. into surface                           if the sides of your pond slope
                                     STEP 4:
                                     ADD COMPOST LAYER                                                                  gently and are covered with
                                     Compost mix of 3 parts
                                     topsoil, 3 parts peat and                                                          pebbles. Avoid purchasing
                                     1 part lime-free grit                             STEP 5:
                                                                                       ADD STONE EDGING                 tadpoles, since they usually
                                                                                       Place pebbles along
                                                                                       either side of the bog
                                                                                                                        end up being bullfrogs which will
           STEP 1:
           LAY THE LINER
                                                                                       garden to hide liner             displace smaller, native frogs.
           Use butyl sheeting – place under
           the flexible or rigid pond liner
           and on top of 2 in. sand layer                                                                                 Many amphibians appreciate
                                                                                                                        protection in the form of
                                                                                                                        bushes, lily leaves, rock piles, or
                                                                                                                        an upside-down flowerpot with
                                                                                       STEP 3:                          a broken-out “doorway."
                                              STEP 2:                                  ADD GRIT LAYER
                                              MAKE DRAINAGE HOLES                      Place 2 in. layer of lime-free
                                                                                       grit or gravel at the base
                                              One 1/2 in. hole every 3 ft.
                                              is necessary                                                                Branches which overhang the
                                                                                                                        pond allow tree frogs to lay
                                                                     – The Rock and Water Garden Expert                 eggs and have them drop right
                                                                                     Dr. D. G. Hessayon                 into the water.

© WindStar Wildlife Institute                                            Page 8       A Plant's Home
     For winter cover you can          How About Fish.                     Sticklebacks are more
   create a hibernacula by digging       Many pond owners choose to        appropriate if you want to
   a pit (3 ft. wide by 6 ft. long     add fish, but you need to           maintain a native ecosystem.
   and up to 18 in. deep is ideal)     consider some of their
   and filling it with loosely         drawbacks as well as their            Sometimes construction
   packed sticks and rocks. Leave      beauty. While they eat              techniques and materials can
   lots of spaces and layer with       mosquito larvae, they also eat      seem overwhelming to nature
   leaves and wood chips. Add a        the eggs of amphibians and          lovers who just want to provide
   layer of soil and mulch and top     insects.                            water for the local fauna.
   with straw or wood chips.
                                         They will provide easy meals        To illustrate how feasible a
     Salamanders and newts will        for herons and raccoons, an         simpler approach is, we have
   look for daytime hiding places      important consideration if you      only to look at the experience
   such as dead logs. Dragonflies      have spent a lot of money on        of one WindStar Master
   will come if the water is kept      the fish. Don’t overstock your      Wildlife Habitat Naturalist. He
   clean, and bees will be attracted   pond or it will be out of balance   fully intended to build an
   by the flowering plants. Like the   ecologically.                       elaborate pond system,
   frogs, many insects which are                                           complete with waterfall, in his
   attracted to water                    Wait several weeks to let the     suburban yard, but he had to
   environments, including water       pond settle before introducing      stop temporarily after only
   beetles and damsel flies, will      any fish, and plan on only one      digging a shallow depression in
   make your life more pleasant by     inch of fish per five gallons or    the ground.
   eating many mosquito larvae.        per sq. ft. of water surface
                                       unless you are using pumps            Before long deer, rabbits,
     The toads are especially          and filters.                        frogs, birds, and a variety of
   helpful in cutting down on                                              other creatures were
   populations of harmful garden          Overfeeding will also pollute    appearing regularly to take
   pests.                              the water. Don’t give them more     advantage of the rain water
                                       than they can consume in five       that collected there! Pond
     Birds will also come to the       to ten minutes. Once the pond       aesthetics are geared to
   pond, and if you have flocks of     is stabilized and balanced with     people; wildlife just needs the
   30 or more you should               plants, there shouldn’t be much     water.
   consider a pond at least 8 by       need to feed the fish at all.
   15 ft., so that it doesn’t
   become overly contaminated by         Feeder goldfish are hardy and          This article was written by
   their droppings.                    inexpensive, compared to koi             Maryland Master Wildlife
                                                                                   Habitat Naturalist
                                       which cost a great deal, need                 Cathy Gilleland.
     As discussed previously, be       water at least 4 ft. deep, and
   sure that part of the pond is       require a lot of care and             For more information or for the
   very shallow and has rocks just     attention. Species such as              name of a Master Wildlife
   below the surface for perching if   Gambusia (mosquito fish),             Habitat Naturalist in your area,
   you want to attract birds.          Rosy Minnows, or Three-spined                 please contact:

                                                                                 WindStar Wildlife Institute
     s   The Complete Pond Builder, Helen Nash (recommended by          
         many pond owners)
     s   How to Attract Birds, Ortho Books (creative birdbath ideas)          WindStar Wildlife Institute is a
     s   Garden Ponds, David Squire                                                national, non-profit,
     s   Water Gardening, Ken Druse                                          conservation organization whose
                                                                               mission is to help individuals
     s   The Rock and Water Garden Expert, Dr. D. G. Hessayon                   and families establish or
     s   Gardening with Native Wild Flowers, Samuel Jones and                 improve the wildlife habitat on
         Leonard Foote (good list of native aquatic plants)                          their properties.

© WindStar Wildlife Institute           Page 9   A Plant's Home

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