Pond Management Recommendations

Extracts from Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission

  • A mixture of submerged (below water), emergent (stems below and leaves above water) and shoreline (entire plant out of water, but can tolerate occasional flooding) species are recommended for “aquascaping”. When established, these plants may out-compete problem species such as cattails and torpedo grass. 
  • Ideal pH should range from 6.0 to 8.0.
  • Cut a 2-inch square of white plastic from a bleach bottle and fasten it to the end of a wooden yardstick. Push this apparatus into the pond vertically until the white plastic cannot be seen. Note the depth at which the plastic first disappears. If the plastic disappears between 16 and 36 inches, your pond has a desirable productivity level.
  • Do not use fertilizers within 20 feet of the pond.
  • Do not allow lawn clippings, leaves or any other organic material to enter your pond.
  • Leave an “unmanicured” buffer of desirable vegetation between lawns, agricultural fields, pastures, and the waterbody. This helps reduce nutrients and erosion. 
  • When chemically treating large areas of vegetation during warmer months, only treat one-third of the total area scheduled for treatment at a time, waiting three weeks between treatments.
  • Consider planting trees far enough back from the water’s edge such that they allow enough sun to reach grasses and other herbaceous plants and allow easy access for recreation. 
  • One of the most important strategies to improve wildlife habitat around the pond is to establish a buffer of vegetation along the pond’s shoreline.
    • The vegetative buffer will improve sediment and nutrient retention, help stabilize the shoreline, and improve water quality. The vegetative buffer zone should include a variety of native plants such as grasses and herbaceous seed producing plants and woody stem plants such as trees and shrubs.
    • Grass and herbaceous plants such as wild millets, nut grasses, and numerous native “volunteer” plants provide nesting cover and shelter for a variety of wildlife. Many of these plants provide food resources such as seeds, berries, and other edible plant parts. They also serve to attract numerous insects, which are an important dietary component for birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and a variety of mammals.
    • Woody stem plants, such as wax myrtles, salt bush, willows, and Florida maples also provide food resources, cover, nesting habitat, and perching sites for a variety of birds. Artificial nesting structures (nest boxes) can be attached to trees or placed on posts with predator guards near the pond to attract cavity-nesting birds such as wood ducks, purple martins and bluebirds.

Extracts from LSU Ag Center

Submerged structure. Structure can be formed by anything in the water. It provides hiding places for fish, as well as a place to concentrate fish and increase fishing success. However, the type of structure present can have a tremendous effect on fish production and angling success. In general, the least beneficial structure in a pond is rooted vegetation. The problem with beds of vegetation is that they can become so dense that predatory fishes like largemouth bass are unable to forage effectively; this results in high densities of small sunfishes, which become stunted, attaining maximum sizes of 3-5 inches, and reduces bass reproduction. If rooted vegetation is not present, what types of cover are available, and what types are best?

  • One of the best types of cover is a submerged tree.
  • Brush piles that are lashed together and weighted
  • Tire Reefs

Other Extracts

The Fathead Minnow is very prolific. Spawning begins when the water temperature reaches 60 degrees  Fahrenheit and repeats monthly until water cools down in the fall. They lay between 2 to 500 eggs per spawn.

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