In addition to the shoreline and deep water zones, the shallow water zone plays a significant role in your garden pond. As it forms the transition from the shoreline to the deep-water zone, it should have a slope. You can create an attractive shallow water zone with various plants. The plants in the shallow water zone play a crucial role in water clarification and, unlike the plants in the shoreline, require a permanent water level. Plan the shallow water zone when initially designing your garden pond.
Roles of the Shallow Water Zone
The shallow water zone serves the purpose of water clarification and should, therefore, contain various plants. In the shallow water zone, plants that depend on a permanent water level thrive. These plants provide good hiding and spawning places for fish. The shallow water zone is the second deepest spot in your pond. It forms the transition from the shoreline to the deep-water zone and should, therefore, have a slope. Where it connects to the shoreline, it has a depth of 20 centimeters. At the transition to the deep-water zone, the shallow water zone should be 50 to 60 centimeters deep. The width of the shallow water zone depends on the size of your garden pond. A width of 30 to 50 centimeters is recommended. For larger ponds, it can be wider accordingly. It does not need to have the same width all around the pond.
Separating the Shallow Water Zone from Other Pond Zones
You do not have to establish the shallow water zone all around the pond. Depending on the size and shape of your pond, you can create the shallow water zone on just one or two sides and let the other sides of the pond slope more steeply. Since the shallow water zone has a slope, there is a risk that the plant containers may slide. To prevent this, you should create multiple steps. Two steps are well-suited to provide optimal support for the plant containers. You can separate the shallow water zone from the deep-water zone with a strip of gravel or larger stones. Make sure that there is at least ten centimeters of water above this separation. This allows the plants in the shoreline to receive enough water, and the fish can move from the shallow water zone to the shoreline and back.
Appropriate Substrate for the Shallow Water Zone
You should not plant the plants directly into the substrate in the shallow water zone, as they may not find the right support. Plant containers filled with substrate and placed in the shallow water zone are a better option. Plant containers prevent the substrate from being washed into the deep-water zone. A suitable planting substrate consists of a mixture of sand, clay, lava, and limestone. The grain size should be 0/8 millimeters. You can mix such a substrate yourself or purchase it ready-made. Remember to cover the substrate in the plant containers with a layer of coarse gravel or quartz sand to prevent it from being washed away.
Preventing Marsh Formation
A common problem in the shallow water zone is the beginning of marsh formation. Plant containers are suitable for the plants in the shallow water zone because they can counteract marsh formation. Marsh formation occurs when you plant the plants directly into the shallow water zone, and the roots develop into a dense carpet. This problem also occurs when you do not create a separation from the shoreline, especially in smaller ponds.
Especially for smaller ponds, refrain from using reed and other reed types in the shallow water zone, as they spread rapidly, can damage the pond liner, and quickly overgrow the entire pond. However, there are smaller types of reed plants that do not grow as quickly and are suitable for plant containers.
Suitable Plants for the Shallow Water Zone
Plants in the shallow water zone play a significant role in water quality. They contribute to pond cleaning by absorbing nutrients from the water and soil, helping to prevent algae formation. They ensure a good ecological balance in your garden pond. Plant containers provide an effective rhizome barrier, but you should still choose plants without strong rhizomes. Floating-leaved plants are suitable as they provide shade and hiding places for fish. Additionally, do not forgo plants that grow completely underwater, as they serve as spawning grounds for fish. Plants in the shallow water zone usually have a high nutrient demand. Particularly at the beginning, when you create the shallow water zone and plant the plants, do not skip fertilization. Fertilizer tablets or cones are suitable. The plants should create a harmonious transition to the plants in the shoreline. Therefore, place low-growing plants at the beginning of the shallow water zone, just behind the shoreline. You can also add plants suitable for the shoreline and those that already grow in the deep-water zone to the shallow water zone.
Suggestions for Plants in the Shallow Water Zone
The number of different plants you add to the shallow water zone and the varieties you choose depend on the size and shape of your pond. Pay attention to the plant height when selecting plants. It is also crucial to consider their requirements for sunlight or partial shade. You can also include flowering plants in the shallow water zone.
Here are some examples of plants suitable for the shallow water zone:
- Blue water speedwell is suitable for the transition from the shoreline to the shallow water zone and grows relatively flat. The plant produces its blue flowers from June to October and is winter-hardy.
- Pickerelweed is excellent for the shallow water zone and can grow up to 80 centimeters high. It prefers a sunny to semi-shady location and produces white to pink flowers.
- Water arum is limited in winter hardiness and has a low height. If you choose this plant, take it indoors when winterizing your pond. The water arum prefers a sunny location and reaches about 30 centimeters in height. The plant produces yellow flowers from April to June.
- Water hawthorn covers the water with its leaves, while its inflorescences protrude from the water. The plant is moderately winter-hardy, requires a sunny to semi-shady location, and blooms from June to September.
- Igelkolben is a reed plant and a classic choice for the garden pond. Unlike reeds, the Igelkolben does not spread as quickly and does not develop strong rhizomes. The Igelkolben grows to a height of only about 50 centimeters, is winter-hardy, and prefers a sunny to semi-shady location.
- Igelschlauch is a winter-hardy plant that grows flat and protrudes from the water with its inflorescences. The plant prefers a sunny to semi-shady location and blooms from June to September.
- Arrowhead is almost essential for the shallow water zone and is winter-hardy. The plant with arrow-shaped leaves prefers a sunny location and produces white flowers.
- The yellow iris is a winter-hardy plant that is excellent for the shallow water zone and prefers a sunny to semi-shady location.
Care for Plants in the Shallow Water Zone
Plants in the shallow water zone require proper care to prevent excessive spreading. Regularly remove dead leaves and flowers. During pond cleaning, take the plants out, trim them, or divide them if they have grown too large. Since these plants have a higher nutrient demand, fertilize them at the beginning of the pond season in spring.
The shallow water zone is essential for maintaining good water quality and serves as the transition from the shoreline to the deep-water zone. Include two steps to ensure plant stability. Plants in the shallow water zone absorb nutrients