Need advice for planting in shallow wildlife pond

Ger1993Ger1993 Posts: 13
edited 26 March in Problem solving
Hi,

I am in the process of creating a small wildlife pond. I have done some research and I have discovered that the depth of the pond should be no more than 30cm to benefit wildlife.

My pond is pretty small so a lot of it will only be around 10cm deep or so.

Now, my gardening skills and knowledge is practically zero so I need some help.

Will it be possible for me to get plants that will grow in depths of around 10-15 cm?

I was hoping to put some oxygenators in the pond too.

I have added some photos, any advice or general comments would be much appreciated. 

I am particularly worried about trapping hedgehogs and other wildlife, so if you think my sides are too steep etc. Please let me know

Thanks very much!
«13

Posts

  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 27,188
    Ger, it appears that you have posted this thread twice. I've replied on the other one.
    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • robairdmacraignilrobairdmacraignil Posts: 75
    edited 26 March
    Where did you find the information that a pond should be no more than 30cm deep to benefit wildlife?

    There are many ponds with deeper areas that are still very beneficial to wildlife.

    An old piece of a tree or a log left half floating in the water and half out of it can help animals that get into the water get out again.

    Can't see from your photo exactly how big your pond is but I have read that if a pond is too small it can have a temperature variation too extreme for a lot of aquatic life. In winter your pond may turn to a solid block of ice and in summer it wont be much cooler than everywhere else on a hot sunny day and if you are not adding more water after a dry spell could evaporate completely like a puddle. Here is a clip of my own attempt at a wildlife pond a couple of months back.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 27,947
    I think you're going to struggle with that depth you have, for a few reasons.
    While it's true that most wildlife inhabits quite a shallow depth, you'll find that many oxygenators will need more than that, so make sure you have a bit of depth to drop them into - whether in pots or just weighted and chucked in. 
    A pond ideally needs plants at different levels, so try and have enough room for at least one plant at that 30cm depth.
    A sloping edge, combining with the shallows, is also a good idea. That ensures all sorts of wildlife can get in and out, including insects, and is usually made with varying sizes of gravel, pebbles and rocks. If you 're worried about anything falling into the deeper part, you can always have a simple grill of some kind resting over the deep part, so that creatures are only ever accessing the shallowest parts. 
    You can certainly get plants for depths of zero to 6 inches[ 15cm] so that isn't a problem. A variety of heights and types is ideal.
    Shallow water also heats up very quickly in spring, and you'll get blanketweed and algae forming very easily. There are various ways of dealing with that, and it's all very normal, so don't worry. You'll get plenty of help dealing with that too.

    I'm assuming you're going to have a liner for the pond. That also needs an underlay to prevent anything piercing the liner from below, so you'll need to dig your levels an inch or two deeper to allow for that  :)
    Finally- wildlife needs surrounding planting for cover, not just the plants in the pond, so try and plan for that at the same time. That can be as simple or as fancy as you want it, but include some evergreens and some plants which will hang over the edges.
    There are loads to choose from, so you'll get plenty of help with that. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Ger1993Ger1993 Posts: 13
    Thanks very much for the replies and advice. This is a link from the freshwater habitats trust that states 30cm is the max depth a pond needs to be.

    https://freshwaterhabitats.org.uk/pond-clinic/create-pond/make-garden-pond/


    Apparently, it only needs to be deeper if you plan on having fish in it!

    As fairy girl pointed out, a lot of information online states that most wildlife lives in the 0-10 cm zone.

    Again, I am certainly not an expert and I appreciate all your comments!
  • Ger1993Ger1993 Posts: 13
    Fairygirl said:
    I think you're going to struggle with that depth you have, for a few reasons.
    While it's true that most wildlife inhabits quite a shallow depth, you'll find that many oxygenators will need more than that, so make sure you have a bit of depth to drop them into - whether in pots or just weighted and chucked in. 
    A pond ideally needs plants at different levels, so try and have enough room for at least one plant at that 30cm depth.
    A sloping edge, combining with the shallows, is also a good idea. That ensures all sorts of wildlife can get in and out, including insects, and is usually made with varying sizes of gravel, pebbles and rocks. If you 're worried about anything falling into the deeper part, you can always have a simple grill of some kind resting over the deep part, so that creatures are only ever accessing the shallowest parts. 
    You can certainly get plants for depths of zero to 6 inches[ 15cm] so that isn't a problem. A variety of heights and types is ideal.
    Shallow water also heats up very quickly in spring, and you'll get blanketweed and algae forming very easily. There are various ways of dealing with that, and it's all very normal, so don't worry. You'll get plenty of help dealing with that too.

    I'm assuming you're going to have a liner for the pond. That also needs an underlay to prevent anything piercing the liner from below, so you'll need to dig your levels an inch or two deeper to allow for that  :)
    Finally- wildlife needs surrounding planting for cover, not just the plants in the pond, so try and plan for that at the same time. That can be as simple or as fancy as you want it, but include some evergreens and some plants which will hang over the edges.
    There are loads to choose from, so you'll get plenty of help with that. 

    I really appreciate your detailed response.

    This is probably a very stupid question but if I want to put marginal plants in the pond, should I make a shelf right at the edge of the pond or should I make a shelf a little in from the edge or does it matter ?

    And in relation to the oxygenator, I am planning on having two small areas with depths of 30 cm so I can plant two oxygenating species.

    Do you think 30 cm would be enough or would they likely die?

    Thanks again
  • Ger1993Ger1993 Posts: 13
    Where did you find the information that a pond should be no more than 30cm deep to benefit wildlife?

    There are many ponds with deeper areas that are still very beneficial to wildlife.

    An old piece of a tree or a log left half floating in the water and half out of it can help animals that get into the water get out again.

    Can't see from your photo exactly how big your pond is but I have read that if a pond is too small it can have a temperature variation too extreme for a lot of aquatic life. In winter your pond may turn to a solid block of ice and in summer it wont be much cooler than everywhere else on a hot sunny day and if you are not adding more water after a dry spell could evaporate completely like a puddle. Here is a clip of my own attempt at a wildlife pond a couple of months back.
    Your pond looks good .. nice work

    Can you recommend any suitable native Irish plants to use in/around my pond.

    (I'm assuming you're Irish from your YouTube video, apologies if I'm mistaken) 🙃
  • Ger1993Ger1993 Posts: 13
    Ladybird4 said:
    Ger, it appears that you have posted this thread twice. I've replied on the other one.
    Yeah sorry, I've only just joined and I don't really know what I'm doing haha

    In relation to your post, I certainly would not be able to go 1 meter deep as my pond is too small.

    If I was to go that deep, the edges of the pond would be basically at 90 degrees.

    I'm hoping do make mine with more natural sloping sides. 
  • Ger1993 said:
    Where did you find the information that a pond should be no more than 30cm deep to benefit wildlife?

    There are many ponds with deeper areas that are still very beneficial to wildlife.

    An old piece of a tree or a log left half floating in the water and half out of it can help animals that get into the water get out again.

    Can't see from your photo exactly how big your pond is but I have read that if a pond is too small it can have a temperature variation too extreme for a lot of aquatic life. In winter your pond may turn to a solid block of ice and in summer it wont be much cooler than everywhere else on a hot sunny day and if you are not adding more water after a dry spell could evaporate completely like a puddle. Here is a clip of my own attempt at a wildlife pond a couple of months back.
    Your pond looks good .. nice work

    Can you recommend any suitable native Irish plants to use in/around my pond.

    (I'm assuming you're Irish from your YouTube video, apologies if I'm mistaken) 🙃

    Thanks for the comment on the pond. It still needs for the planting around it to get more established for it to be  good for attracting frogs which was the main aim in making it but at least it's on its way in the right direction.

    Not specifically an Irish plant but the main marginal plant I have put around the edges was golden creeping jenny which the girlfriends da donated to the garden as it is easy to propagate. It was only moved to the pond in small pieces last year so I'm hoping it develops a bit more around the pond this summer as it has not really grown at all over winter. It has nice yellow flowers and the golden version of the creeping jenny is said to be less invasive than the green type. The original plant I have can be seen flowering just after 6 and a half minutes in to this video clip. It can live in the water as well as growing on the edge.

    (Am Irish so no need for apologies.)

    Another thing to remember when getting your pond established is to get a bucket of water from an existing mature pond and add this to your pond when you have it constructed and filled. It should contain lots of small types of pond life that will help get the ecosystem established there faster.

    In retrospect I should have got some specific pond plants organised for my pond sooner but going to just see how it pans out now with just what's there already. The butter cups and a honeysuckle plant I added are not specifically pond plants but I think its nice the way they stretch into the pond edges without being able to grow in the water. There are also some ajuga and forget me not flowers that are doing fine at the edge without being specific aquatic plants.
  • jamesholtjamesholt Central texasPosts: 136
    Here in texas we need to have fish in our ponds due to west Nile virus and dengue fever.  Fish generally need deeper water than 30cm to survive water fluctuations and predation from birds and snakes.  Are mosquitoes not an issue?
  • Ger1993Ger1993 Posts: 13
    jamesholt said:
    Here in texas we need to have fish in our ponds due to west Nile virus and dengue fever.  Fish generally need deeper water than 30cm to survive water fluctuations and predation from birds and snakes.  Are mosquitoes not an issue?
    Mosquitoes are not really an issue in Ireland. I don't think they're too fond of all our wind and rain!! They are probably more of an issue in the U.K. but not on the same level as somewhere as hot as Texas I'd imagine!
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