Water features can make properties inviting. But such features add another level of maintenance to your landscaping tasks.

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Maintain pumps

Water features in Southern Maryland require the constant flow of water to prevent stagnation and proliferation of mosquito and other insect larvae. That requires a pump to push the water around. According to Grounds Maintenance, a green industry professionals resource, the pump should be securely situated on level ground so that vibrations will not cause the pump to move around and eventually loosen fittings.

Even pumps protected by an intake filter or screen can become clogged with debris. It’s necessary to routinely inspect the screen and the pump filter and remove any obstructions. Otherwise, the pump motor can overheat and malfunction. Keep in mind that debris also may include animal life, such as frogs, snakes, turtles – anything that may be drawn to the water feature.

Finding balance

The wrong balance of conditions in the water can cause problems. According to the experts at This Old House, which offers ideas and advice for old house enthusiasts, algae can be the root of all evil in garden features. Controlling nutrients, which may involve watching the levels of nitrogen compounds and phosphorous, will help control the algae.

Avoid locating the water feature where lawn and garden runoff will find its way into the water. Filtration and routine testing of water levels also can help. Water features that are not meant to become wildlife habitats may benefit from a mild sanitizer to keep algae at bay. A thorough cleaning of liners at the end of the season to eliminate materials that build up on the bottom can help, too.

Winter preparation

When colder weather arrives, homeowners must decide if they want to keep the water feature running or shut it down. Many experts say smaller ponds should be drained, cleaned and left empty until spring. This is also a time to cut back the dead plant material and remove any tropicals from the water. Remove pumps and drain water feature lines so they can overwinter without freezing.

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