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May 20, 2021 - How to make a wildlife pond

We just completed another project: a wildlife pond! If you've been following us, you'll know that we have a fish pond that is in our back wooded area. However, we wanted to create a pond that was more "garden visitor" friendly since we found that we have quite a few species of animals that regularly visit.

Japanese Iris blooming in our wildlife pond

So what is a wildlife pond and how is it different from the fish pond?

A wildlife pond is similar to our fish pond, but the emphasis is on creating a natural-ish space that is designed to support the traveling wildlife that passes by. Ours happens to be much shallower so we can grow more zone 2 planting depth plants. A shallower pond allows animals to safely drink the water without falling in, and if they do, they can easily get out. We added a couple of different entry/exit points for snakes, turtles, frogs, Polly the opossum, and even bugs to escape. Our shallow spots even work as a bird bath too.


This website has a great visual of pond planting depths. https://www.pondexperts.ca/pond-plant-depth-zones/


It's different from a fish pond because we don't stock fish like goldfish inside that will eat most anything they come across. We did get some mosquito fish to eat mosquito larvae because the mosquitoes can very quickly get out of control in Georgia, US. However, these fish won't get large so they won't have the same effect as our fish pond. The bottom of ours is lined with sand and river rock so that there are raised areas for animals to walk on in case they go into the middle.


How did you make your pond?

Since we wanted to make ours more easily, we simply purchased a preformed plastic shell. Our bog area is fairly wet, so was easy to dig into the damp mud and fill in the gaps afterwards. You can just as easily use a pond liner to create a custom shape if you prefer. After it was dug in, we filled the bottom with about one foot of playground sand and then a layer of river rocks. Our plants were potted up using clay and the existing soil they were potted in. Our strawberry buckets worked very well because of the holes in the sides of the pots. After filling it with rainwater and pond water, we let it sit in the sun for a day to UV sanitize the water. We added the plants and mosquito fish and that's it! It's super simple and anyone can quickly make a wildlife pond. Total time: 2 hours


Recommendations:

  1. Don't expect it to stay crystal clear. You want it to be as natural as possible.

  2. If you have to use city water to fill up the pond, give it a couple of days in the sun for the chlorine and other chemicals to be removed by the UV rays.

  3. Make sure you have entry and exit points for wildlife.

  4. Add plenty of water plants - it'll feel much more cosy and be more like a natural habitat.

  5. If interested, this would be a great place to set up a camera to record the action, especially at night. You can find many inexpensive wildlife cameras that can record or show live action of what's going on in your pond.


Weather report: Why's it getting so hot already? Temps in the 80's and approaching 90, and sunny!


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