Tag Archives: plants

The Do’s & Don’ts For Ponds

Pond keeping can be a mind field when it comes to knowing what you can and can’t do to achieve algae free, crystal clear water. One ‘expert’ will tell you to do this, another ‘expert’ will tell you to do that and suddenly it all becomes a very confusing, tangled web of conflicting information.

We are not claiming to be experts but we do know a lot about bacteria and how it thrives in ponds. Therefore, we have compiled a list of do’s and don’ts to help you create the perfect water conditions in your pond, keep algae at bay and maintain a balanced eco system.

DO treat your pond with a bacterial product on a regular basis.
Beneficial, aerobic bacteria is the foundation to any ponds eco system, it keeps algae at bay by eliminating any excess nutrients in the pond, prevents sludge from becoming anaerobic and releasing toxic hydrogen sulphide into the pond and helps prevent fish illnesses.
Bacteria needs to be topped up regularly. As with any living organism, it only has a certain lifespan and once it has died, it needs replacing.

DO use a hosepipe to wash your filters.
This is a very conflicting point within the pond industry but at Envii we recommend using a hosepipe to wash filters. The chlorine that is found in tap water is only present as a trace element and the amount that is left behind on the filters is so small that it will have a very insignificant effect on the bacteria that is present in the pond.
By using pond water to wash your filters, you will remove a lot more of the bacteria that is present in the pond and then have to replace the pond water with tap water.

DO check your water parameters on a regular basis.
Although your water may look clear, it may not be the quality, healthy water that your fish need. Check your water parameters every couple of weeks to ensure your pH, KH, ammonia and other levels are where they should be. If you don’t know what your water parameters should be, have a read of our Water Parameters post. Water parameters can change rapidly and can have severe consequences on your fish.
If you find that your water parameters are not where they should be, use Pond Equaliser to instantly stabilise them and create the perfect water conditions for your fish.

DO ask for technical advice.
Nobody wants to buy a product that they think is going to solve their problem, only to find out that they have purchased the wrong product or not used it correctly. We provide expert advice not only for our products, but for any other pond query either by email or phone. So, take advantage of us and give us a call!

DO treat your pond with a bacterial product all year.
We hear from more and more people every week who had a crystal-clear pond in winter that suddenly went green in spring. Algae won’t grow below 8°C which is why ponds look good during winter. However, bacteria also die when it gets below a certain temperature and with a lack of algae to feed on, come spring their numbers have decreased drastically. The depleted number of bacteria, coupled with the rise in temperature in spring quickly results in an algae bloom that will turn your water green.
Treat your pond with Winter Pond Treatment during the colder months to keep bacteria present in the pond and prevent an algae bloom in spring.

DO keep your pumps and filters running all year.
A lot of pond owners decide that once the temperature drops, the pumps should be turned off as the pond can no longer be enjoyed. However, by turning the pumps off, you will be creating problems that will not show themselves until spring. During winter, a lot of debris falls in to ponds and starts to break down. If this debris is not cleared out, it releases excess nutrients into the water that algae will feed on when spring arrives.
Keep your pump and filter running to remove any of this debris and keep the water moving.

DON’T empty your pond and start again.
One common misconception when a pond is struggling with algae or green water is to empty all the water out, clean the pond and refill it. However, this is possibly the worst thing to do in this situation. By removing all the water, you also remove any of the beneficial bacteria that was in the pond. When the pond is refilled it is filled with what is technically sterile water that contains chlorine, toxic heavy metals and little to no bacteria. Initially, the pond appears to be in a very good condition as the sterile water stays clear for a few weeks but then quickly turns green due to the lack of bacteria available to fight off any algae spores.
If for some reason you do have to empty your pond, introduce a bacterial product as soon as you have refilled to introduce bacteria into the pond straight away.

DON’T remove blanket weed whilst it is still alive
The most obvious thing to do when you see blanket weed appearing in your pond is to pull it out and throw it away. If you have ever done this, you will know that within days, the blanket weed reappears and you begin the cycle again.
If you remove blanket weed when it is still alive (green) the strands tear and release new spores back into the water.
Ensure that any blanket weed you remove has been killed first by using Blanketweed Klear. For more information on blanket weed, read our post on How to Get Rid of Blanket Weed.

DON’T change your filters
If your filters are getting dirty when using a bacterial product, it is because your pond is dirty. You should only clean the filters, not change them.
Bacteria anchor themselves on to the filters and digest any algae or sludge that gets caught. If you change the filters, you remove all the beneficial bacteria that has been added to the filters.
If you have to change your filters, be sure to apply a bacterial product directly to the new filters.

DON’T introduce plants without leaching out fertiliser
When buying plants to add into your ponds, the easiest place to buy them from is the local garden centre. However, these plants are grown in fertilisers that aim to speed up the growing process to allow the garden centres to sell them quicker. If these plants are added straight into the pond, the fertiliser leaches out and in to the pond, harming the beneficial bacteria.
Before adding plants to the pond, put them in a bucket of water for 7-10 days and change the water every day. This will leach out the fertiliser and they will then be safe to add to the pond. For more information on pond plants, read our post Should I Keep Aquatic Plants.

DON’T feed fish during winter
As the temperature starts to drop in autumn, you should consider changing over to a high protein food for your fish. When winter begins, stop feeding your fish all together. Fish don’t feed throughout winter, so the food that is thrown into the pond will break down and release nutrients into the pond to feed any algae spores when the temperatures rise.

DON’T allow your pond to freeze over completely during winter
You should avoid letting your pond freeze over during winter at all costs. If the pond does freeze over completely, it will create an air tight seal that will not allow any oxygen to enter the pond or any toxic gases to leave the pond. If this continues for an extended period, it may result in fish death. For more tips on caring for your pond in winter read our Preparing Pond for Winter post.

DON’T overstock the pond
It is very easy to overstock a pond, after all, who wants a clear pond and only two fish to look at. However, if a pond contains too many fish it can have a big effect on the water quality in the pond. Fish produce a lot of waste; this waste gives off ammonia which can in turn raise the pH in the pond and lead to illness or death among the fish.
As a rule of thumb it is recommended that a pond has 55cm of fish per 1,000 litres. The average fish size in UK ponds is around 6 inches so this would equate to 3-4 fish per 1,000  litres.

Do's & Don'ts Infographic

The New Way To Protect Your Plants From The Heat

Physical Plant Protection Is Past Its Prime

British weather is some of the most changeable in the world. While we don’t have a lot of ‘extreme’ weather, it’s nearly impossible to accurately predict, which can make life very difficult for gardeners.

That’s why we have so many physical methods of protecting our plants. Plant blankets for cover in the winter and greenhouse shading and water irrigation in the summer are a few of the most popular methods. But it’s always been hotly debated as to how well these methods really work.

This is why we have developed a range of products that can protect your plants from unpredictable weather more efficiently. We know that by bringing out certain qualities in plants, we can help them to help themselves by managing their natural reaction to stressful situations.

Here’s an example – When a plant is subject to high temperatures its natural reaction is to wilt and abort its flowers in a last ditch attempt to survive. This happens because the plant can’t get enough moisture from the soil in order to cope with the high temperatures.

This adds up to the risk of your plants dying when a sudden hot spell comes along.

However, by changing the plant’s natural reaction to heat stress you can save them from this fate. Envii Chill Out reprograms the plant’s natural reaction by redirecting a plant’s growth into its roots rather than growing upwards and suppresses the gene that makes a plant abort flowers and shoots. This means that when high temperatures come along, the plant has a much larger source of water and nutrients to survive on. Then, when the temperature drops to a normal level, the plant automatically returns to its normal growth and development.

The product was initially designed for glasshouses in the Middle East where temperatures soar to over 40°C. Then, having been extensively tested by the University of Nottingham, we decided to launch it to amateur and professional gardeners alike. This means that, without the need for complicated water irrigation systems, unreliable shading or constant tending to, gardeners can grow their plants without the risk of them dying from heat stress.

Click here for more information on Envii Chill Out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should I Keep Aquatic Plants?

There is a split between pond owners as to whether to have plants or not. Aquatic plants can be a great aesthetic addition to your pond, as well as providing several health benefits to the water and fish. They offer shade, compete with algae, remove harmful nitrogen and give back useful oxygen into the pond.

How To Stop Koi Eating Plants

One reservation some pond keepers have when deciding whether to keep aquatic plants is that some fish, Koi especially, like to eat the plants, upset pots or disturb the soil, resulting in a dirty pond. This can easily be resolved by either planting in aquatic cloth liners or aquatic gravel.

Alternatively, there are some plants that would benefit from being planted in waterfalls or streams, keeping them out of reach for fish, whilst still purifying the water.

 

Different Varieties Of Aquatic Plants

Water lilies and lotus’ are common floating plants that provide much needed shade for fish. This shade also slows down the growth of any pond algae and sludge as it restricts the amount of sunlight that can reach the algae. As well as providing shade, these plants also compete for nutrients with existing algae. The combination of shade and nutrient competition results in very little algae growth.

Submerged plants such as hornwort and water moss are essential to a well-structured pond or water garden. They provide small fish with cover from predators such as herons and cats. They also provide the water with copious amounts of oxygen whilst absorbing some of the more harmful chemicals in your pond such as ammonia and nitrogen. Be sure to plant these plants in aquatic gravel or cloth liners to avoid fish digging them up.

Shallow water or marginal plants can sit on the shelves of ponds and provide all the health benefits of submerged plants whilst providing shelter and protection for other aquatic wildlife such as frogs, newts and dragonflies. Some varieties such as water iris produce vibrant flowers that add another dimension to your pond throughout the year.

How To Prepare Your Garden For Spring

To save you wondering what to do in your garden this winter, we’ve compiled some advice that will help you get your garden ready for spring. Gardening isn’t just for the summer time; there’s a lot you can be doing while the nights are short and the air is cold.

 

Create a space for composting

If you don’t already have a designated spot for your compost, pick one now before the season kicks in. Ideally, you want a space where the conditions are constant; finding some cover from rain and sun will improve the quality of the compost.

Compost bin –  A purpose-built compost bin will provide the best conditions for composting.

Open air compost – While it’s more difficult to control the environment factors effecting an open-air compost spot, it will still compost eventually.

Envii Compost Accelerator is our very own high strength compost accelerator. It’s task-specific bacteria and fungi improve the speed of the composting process whilst improving the fertility of the end-result. Read this review on The Middle-Sized Garden.

 

Tidy up your garden

When there isn’t much else to do on the gardening to-do list, get out there and pick up dead leaves, trim any herbaceous perennials and remove any other debris from your borders. If possible, wait till late winter/early spring to do this because all sorts of creatures may still be using the debris for shelter from the cold.

 

Prepare your soil

  • Remove weeds from the soil
  • Dig, lift and turn all your soil – this gives it better access to air and improves the fertility.
  • Spread compost, manure or fertiliser to your top soil.
  • Add our soil improver:  Envii Foundation – It has beneficial bacteria that improve the germination and growth of young plants and protect against plant diseases.

 

Order your seeds early

Decide early what you want to grow this year and order. This will give you the chance to plan when you are going to plant in advance and take all the stress away.

 

Prepare your defence against garden pests

Cleaning up your garden is the first step to defending against garden pests. It is also worth encouraging birds into your garden by putting up bird feeders etc. These will eat slug and snails and act as your garden patrol.

Use Envii Feed & Fortify as a physical protection against molluscs. As a form of diatomaceous earth, Feed & Fortify dries the molluscs out and kills them. It also included iron silicates that improve the fertility of the soil.

 

Start growing plants indoors

Plants that have a longer growing cycle – like tomatoes and peppers – can benefit from being started indoors. Plant them indoors around 8 weeks before the last expected frost and then re-pot them into deep containers before finally planting them in the ground. This will improve your success rate dramatically. Envii Foundation can still be used on plants started indoors in order to improve the germination and growth.

Click here for any more information on the products mentioned

 

 

 

How To Extend The Life Of Your Hanging Baskets And Other Flowers

September is a funny time for gardeners. A lot of your time will be spent preparing for next season; treating the garden, planting evergreens, trimming conifers. A lot of jobs that won’t let you reap the rewards for another 8-9 months.

But don’t worry. The season isn’t quite over yet and we’ve got a product that can make it last even longer.

Envii Revive is our rescue/repair remedy for slow-developing or damaged plants. It contains some carefully selected nutrients that can help boost a plant’s health.  After talking to some of our customers, we found that some people were using it on their hanging baskets and other decorative flowers in order to make them last longer. And it works! All you have to do is start spraying the leaves lightly twice a week and you’ll see the life return to your plants in no time.

Click here for more information or to buy Revive.

Testimonial From A Professional Grower

Around 2 months ago we sent some product samples to  John Soulsby, professional grower and owner of a massive nursery dedicated to growing hanging baskets for the wholesale market.

Here’s what he had to say about Envii Chill Out –

“We have not had much of a summer so far this year, but about six weeks ago we had a really nice spell of hot weather. At that time I was sat on a lot of hanging baskets and patio tubs along with a full stock of garden centre plants.

My typical day was to start watering at 6 am and finish watering at 7pm, serving a few wholesale customers in between. I had worked 7 days a week for several weeks and was due a day off.

There was a break from the sunny days forecast for the Saturday so I decided to take the day off. This was a big mistake and going back into work on the Sunday I could have kicked myself. Everything in the greenhouse was limp and looked dead for the need of water.

I knew it was going to take me about 10 or 12 hours to get through all the plants with water and felt sick at the thought of the poor plants at the end. I was sure I had lost them.

I decided to put your product to test and was amazed at the results.

On turning into work on the Monday morning I went straight to the last baskets watered to see if they had pulled around. They looked great, had just about made a full recovery and over the next few weeks grew into super hanging baskets.

This saved me a lot of money from not having to throw them on the compost heap.

Thank you so much for your product.”

Envii Chill Out is available from our website www.bio8.co.uk ,  Amazon & eBay.

Thanks to John for giving the product a go!

 

Protect Your Plants From The Heatwave

We’re in the middle of a heatwave. Hot air is coming up from Africa causing temperature of over 30°C in some parts of the UK. For most people, this is a cause for celebration but for gardeners it means your plants are at risk. If the temperature outside is over 30°C, imagine what the temperature in your greenhouse can rise to.

Most of us serious gardeners have, at one time or another, had plants die because of hot weather. That’s why we have developed a new and more reliable way of protecting our plants from the heat.

It’s called Envii Chill Out and it’s designed to change the way a plant reacts to heat stress and allow it to survive.

Envii Chill Out reprograms the plant’s natural reaction by redirecting growth into its roots rather than growing upwards and suppresses the gene that makes a plant abort flowers and shoots. This means that when high temperatures come along, the plant has a much larger source of water and nutrients to survive on. Then, when the temperature drops to a normal level, the plant automatically returns to its normal growth and development.

It’s been extensively tested in the Middle East and in The University of Nottingham to ensure it really works. However, perhaps the most interesting result of these findings was the other beneficial effects Chill Out can have on your plants. It’s been proven to improve the flavour, growth and yield of plants which, in our opinion, is a pretty good side-effect to have.

For more information or to buy Envii Chill Out, click here.