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Ponds in Winter weather

by leah

We've had our first really hard frost which froze the water in our ponds to 1". easily broken.  Pumps off.  Pond covered.


In the Sat Telegraph Gardening section it stated that putting a small ball onto the pond will stop the water freezing. WHY do people keep repeating this MYTH!!!!!  in 25+ years of pond keeping I have NEVER found that a ball will keep a hole in the ice to enable fish/frogs to breath.  I have in the past removed a bucket of water so that there is an air-gap between the surface and the formation of thick ice.  Sadly the last 2 years frogs have died :-(((( even though last Winter I was out there every hour in the coldest weather with an old saucepan + boiling water ........


How do you manage to keep an air-hole free of ice?

every change is scarey even if we want it
last edited on
by davecook

Boiling water will tend to freeze quicker than cold water. A ball floating in the pond can be removed, without cracking the ice and causing shock waves that harm the underwater life.

I use my heron frame and layer horticultural fleece and bubble wrap on the frame, which is an incredibly good insulation and keeps the pond from freezing in even the coldest spells. Bubble is waterproof, which keeps the fleece dry which is important for fleece to work at it's best. Much safer than rushing about with pans of boiling water every hour on icy paths...... wink


All humans should be free range and never kept in offices!
by leah

You've watched me skidding and sliding then Dave LOL!  I only saw an advert for heron frame this evening in the Sat. telegraph ...... himself has put wire with plastic sheeting over to stop the worst of the weather.  I find a ball will get frozen into the ice and causes more problems than taking a kettle of water into the saucepan.  I have never had any fish die due to breaking the ice ;-)

every change is scarey even if we want it
by HarmonyHerd

Float a polystyrene tile in the pond.  When the water freezes, it is easy to cut a hole in the tile.

I leave both of mine to freeze over, and I have lots of frogs, newts, water beetles etc.  One is 3 foot deep and the other is 12 foot deep.  The large one supplies water for pigs, so I had to bash it with a pick every day a couple of years ago to make drinking holes. 

If you have a large expanse of ice, break a bit off and chuck it in the middle of the lake.  It shatters and all the bits skid off at high speed in all directions.  Well, it amused me!

by doniv
Posted by: davecook

Boiling water will tend to freeze quicker than cold water.  ........


Perhaps you'd show us the Maths for that wives tale dave ?

'Tis the time's plague, when madmen lead the blind. - Shakespear - King Lear
by doniv

You either need a flock of ducks swimming around in circles - OR perhaps a 5 litre plastic drinks bottle with 4 and three quarters litres of water in - and an electric aquarium heater ? Standing in a reasonably shallow bit - that should keep a small area in liquid form.

'Tis the time's plague, when madmen lead the blind. - Shakespear - King Lear
by hermit

I thought frogs came out of the ponds to hibernate over WinterConfused I have no ponds as such but three spring head ponds that dry up sometimes. They have frogs in them but I pile logs and leaves and twigs etc to make hibernating places for them.

by alchemist

Having a pond over 2 feet deep should be sufficient to keep things alive in the UK. In very cold weather they tend to go for the deeper water.

HH, I enjoy watching the ice shooting in all directions too. Laughing

by doniv

There are some African frogs which go into a form of suspended animation in drought hermit, wrapping themselves in a cocoon of dried slime.

Generally speaking though you're absolutely right. Frogs cannot breathe under water and four months holding your breath would be a super - frog effort !

Toads dig burrows if they can. Frogs find shelter and hibernate on Land, so keeping a pond clear for them would be pointless.

'Tis the time's plague, when madmen lead the blind. - Shakespear - King Lear
Pippa G
by Pippa G
Posted by: doniv

You either need a flock of ducks swimming around in circles -

I remember one year in Poole Park a swan forgot to keep swimming and froze solid in the ice. In the morning there wasn't much of it left...a fox had trotted over the ice and had probably the easiest meal of the winter Rolleyes 

by leah

One of our ponds is 3 feet deep but the frogs died due to lack of oxygen :-( - 55 of them ..... I've tried the polysterene blocks, tried balls of varying sizes, don't have ducks ..........


Female frogs remain in the ponds, males wonder away: or the other way round can't remember which Rolleyes  3 weeks ago there was a male croacking all of one day!

every change is scarey even if we want it
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