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Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

Hardy Water LilliesTropical Day BloomersTropical Night Bloomers
Bog PlantsVictoria Lily
Dr. Clyde Ikins Lakeside GardensGarden Scenes
Informational Articles


Compared with other types of gardens, water gardens require a minimum of attention. There is very little weeding, certainly no watering, and there are fewer insects or diseases which attack the plants. Clear water is usually the primary goal of any water gardener. In a new pond, however, the water is seldom clear for very long. This can be rectified easily if the pond is of the correct depth, has a good filtration system, and correctly chosen plants and wildlife are stocked in sufficient numbers. Given enough time the new pond water will clear. During the summer, the level of the water should be checked at regular intervals and brought up to its maximum. The plants should be washed once a week with a strong spray of water from a garden hose in order to dislodge any accumulation of aphids which may have come to the pool. If algae has become a nuisance, much of it can be washed down the drain or over the sides of the pool by using the garden hose and a rake. During the summer one should watch that other plants such as the submerged aquatics do not grow too rampant and take over the bottom of the water feature. Day-to-day care of water garden plants during the summer is mostly a matter of grooming. If there is an over-production of foliage, trimming is necessary. All discolored or torn leaves or dead blossoms should be cut and removed, stem and all, close to the roots.

The worst thing to do is change the water. Replacing the water will only delay the developing balance of the new pond's ecosystem. There are algaecides on the market and even dyes to artificially color the water, but these are only temporary solutions to a problem only nature can correct. When fertilizing the lawn, take care not to contaminate the pond. Any new nutrients introduced to the system will only prolong the life of the algae or even start an algae bloom. Algaecides are of dubious value as they kill the algae all at once instead of the slow natural death rate that the pond ecosystem can handle. When this happens, the microbial population of the pond begins a massive degradation of the algae and in so doing uses all of the oxygen in the pond. This will weaken the animal life in the pond and possibly result in a fish kill.

In time the balance of the pond will shift away from the green algae, and the plants will cover most of the pond's surface denying light to the algae. The oxygenators and other plants will eventually out-compete the algae for the available carbon dioxide and soluble nutrients. Sometimes the pond will suddenly clear overnight as the algae succumb and sink to the bottom.


Pumps should be pulled from the pond and cleaned regularly. The filters may need weekly cleaning. The interval will depend on your particular pond's ecology. The filter should be checked weekly, and the pump inspected at these times and records kept to build a history of your pond. This is the best way to know what your pond needs and when.


The pool liner offers a greater degree of flexibility than any other pool construction method, but there is a potential for making mistakes at the marking out stage. Defining the area to be excavated and ensuring that is meets all practical and aesthetic requirements is a task that should be carefully undertaken before the liner is purchased. This will ensure that it will adequately line the excavation without necessitating short cuts, which may have undesirable long-term consequences. Liners should last without problem for the time specified by the manufacturer if they are properly installed and care is taken not to puncture them while walking in the pond to service the plants, fish, and circulation system.


The edges of a pool are among the most difficult aspects of the construction to finish off effectively. The treatment applied can either make or mar the whole feature aesthetically, and the manner in which it is achieved can have a considerable effect on the longevity of the pool structure. An ill-conceived edge, especially around a lined pool, can create all manner of problems. Edging, if well designed and constructed, should never need servicing. If the liner is installed and does not allow water in under the edging materials, and the ground underneath is firm, the stone or brick pond edging should give no trouble. If the pond is edged by lawn edging or has no edge, the main concern is to avoid contaminating the pond with lawn fertilizers and pesticides.


As the leaves and flowers of the aquatic plants die they should be removed. Watch the root balls and leaves for damage by fish and insects. Once a year lotus will need repotting in the south portion of Texas; in the north, every 2 years.


While plants make the major contribution to the appearance of the water garden, fish bring it to life. They also play an important part in the ecology of the water feature, feeding on aquatic insect life and depositing wastes which ultimately will benefit the plants. The most important role for decorative pond fish is the control of mosquito larvae and damaging aquatic insects pests. Submerged aquatic plants in the presence of sunlight absorb the carbonic acid gas produced by fish and other aquatic plant fauna. Aided by the green chlorophyll in their leaves, the plants convert this into nourishment and produce oxygen which is dispersed into the water for the benefit of the fish. Therefore, for the well-being of a water garden, it is desirable to have reasonable and balanced quantities of both fish and plants. Most people want to introduce fish to the water feature as soon as possible. However, resist adding fish to a new water feature for at least a month after planting the last plants. The plants really need time to become established, even if you are going to introduce small fish. Fish can be extremely boisterous and may disturb freshly planted plants, especially submerged plants, as they dig in the bottom of the water feature looking for food. Once plants have been disturbed, it is very difficult to re-establish them without emptying the water feature and replanting the containers. So be patient and let the plants become properly established before choosing fish. Ideally, you should add only two or three at a time at two-week intervals.


In winter the pond slowly shuts down. Any tropical species should be stored in the proper manner for each plant. The fish have greatly slowed their intake of food and their actions in the pond. They will need feeding only occasionally in the south and not at all in the north where the ponds freeze over for the winter. In the event that the pond should freeze over, a hole in the ice must be maintained for the survival of the fish. If the hole is not maintained there can be little air/water gas exchange and the fish will die as they continue to respire and use all of the oxygen dissolved in the water of an ice covered pond. What kills the fish is the asphyxiation by the noxious gases that are produced by decomposing vegetation on the floor of the pool. A hole in the ice can be maintained using any of the commercially available electric ice melting devices specifically designed for use in pond situations. Never use any device not manufactured specifically for that purpose. Never hit the ice with anything to break it open. The force from the blow will reverberate as shock waves in the pond and kill the fish. This is one of the major causes of winter death of fish in home ponds.

Another source of problems for the plants in winter is the accumulation of fallen leaves that may blow into the pond with every gust of wind. These and any dead fish should be removed immediately.

You do not need to run pumps throughout the winter as the fish need very little aeration and the algae are not growing at this time. However, the algae will have a spring bloom usually as soon as temperatures rise enough to heat the pond to any depth. At this time the pump and filtration system must resume its operation.

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