Most people know it by the name of the pond island, but it is also called a swimming cap or textile swimming island: These green areas in the middle of the pond not only look beautiful, but they also have a number of advantages. You can find out which ones exactly here.
Pond islands mostly swim around freely on the surface and are only driven by wind and the movement of the water. You can limit the movement with stronger planting, because the more plants, the heavier the island and the less it drifts around. Of course, you can also attach the island – you can do this with a sheathed wire (sheathed so that it does not rust) or synthetic fibers.
Nowadays, many dealers offer ready-made planting islands – equipped or without plants. Often these consist of woven synthetic fibers, which in turn are formed from pressed wood fibers; natural fabrics such as bast are also often found. The mats are available in different sizes and shapes and are extra robust so that the island lasts for a long time.
Most often holes are made in the surface, which is used to insert plants. When the plants begin to grow, they take root all over the island to the water, where they get their nutrients.
Build a Pond Island Yourself
A cheaper and more individual variant of the island you have bought is a self-made one. It’s neither difficult nor does it require too much material.
The basic material is a Styrodur board in the desired size. This material is more stable than Styrofoam and has a higher density. Once you have cut the plate into shape, it is the turn of the holes for the plant baskets. You should measure the diameter beforehand so that the holes don’t get too big and the baskets slip through. It looks most beautiful if you then paint the Styrodur black with a suitable, non-toxic paint or cover the island with stone foil. They become so invisible because they blend in well with the natural environment. You can now decorate the island with stones or roots: To do this, you have to consider beforehand whether you want an “overgrown” island or a puristic one, in which the plants are limited to a certain space, leaving room for decoration or lighting.
If you want to cover the island with plant material for protection, it is a good idea to create a stone edge so that the material stays on the island. Gravel or gravel is particularly suitable here. You should avoid using mother earth, as this brings too many unused nutrients into the water and thus leads to algae bloom. If the island drifts too high in the pond after completion, you should put additional stones in the planting baskets, drift them too deep and you still don’t want to leave out any plants, you can glue additional Styrodur under the island for more buoyancy.
Plants for “on top”
Since nobody wants a bare island, we now come to the planting. Here it is important that you choose the right plants. Weight and height play an important role because if the plant becomes too tall or too heavy, the island can sink or tip over if the center of gravity shifts. Different types of swamp plants such as frog spoons, swamp sword lily, or dwarf rushes are suitable. The plants should not exceed a height of 50cm, as the center of gravity is alarmingly “swaying” here.
When the island is ready and you start planting, you should first clear the roots of the soil. Then you put them in the integrated flower pots. As already mentioned, you can also stabilize them with planting ground such as gravel or gravel, but this is not a must. The individual pots make it very easy to exchange individual plants if they do not thrive or not. You should put the island on the pond relatively soon after you have planted it.
You will be happy to hear that maintaining such a pond island doesn’t really take much time. On a well-thriving island, you only have to prune the plants once a year to stimulate growth. In addition, by removing parts of the plant, the weight is reduced, which prevents the pond island from sinking. In autumn, you should then reduce the plants and roots to 5cm each: With this approach, they will survive winter and the onset of frost in the pond. Even if they freeze, there is a good chance they will turn green again next spring.
More work is only required when the plants stop growing or the leaves turn yellow. This is often a sign of a lack of nutrients, especially a lack of trace elements. To get to the bottom of this, you should do a water test: This way you can see exactly which substances are missing.
Plus Points of Such an Island
Finally, we want to show the advantages of such a pond island. This list is of course led by the optical benefit that such a system brings. In addition, the roots of the plants growing there remove nutrients from the water that can otherwise cause algae to grow; the water quality is improved.
In the summer, frogs or turtles in the pond enjoy sunbathing on such an island. But also under the island, something is being done for the animals: The roots offer protection and habitat for small animals such as fish offspring and useful insects.
Of course, the larger pond fish also have something of the island: This offers them protection in acute threats, creates shade, and allows the fish to seek out the pleasantly warmer layers under the pond surface without immediately falling prey to herons and the like.
An island is also a place of protection for the plants: with good planting, even small swamp plants have a chance to “grow up” without being threatened by overgrown reeds, for example. In addition, this “swamp zone” does not run the risk of being flooded or drying out when the water level changes.
Finally, a tip especially for owners of a puristic Koi pond. A stylishly planted pond island is also suitable for Koi ponds that are otherwise devoid of plants and, in addition to the protective aspect, offers a good alternative to the settlement of marsh plants, which otherwise would not be possible due to the steeply sloping banks.