Does your pond need a lot of sun?


Shady ponds are not so shady in the winter and early spring

Shady ponds are not so shady in the winter and early spring

It’s common to read statements like this about places to put garden ponds:

– ‘Avoid shade [when making a pond] – a sunny, sheltered spot is best’

– ‘Your pond will need a lot of sun, especially in early spring’

– ‘As most pond plants and creatures prefer sun and warmer water it should be away from excessive shade’.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you can probably guess what’s coming next!

So no surprise then when I say: these statements are not the really the whole truth.

It’s true tadpoles like the sunny bits of ponds; its true that many (not all) dragonflies like sunny places.

But lots of animals like some shade; many water plants grow in dappled sunlight; and full sun will make algae grow like mad, especially if you’ve got nutrienty, polluted, water.

So what’s the right answer?

In practice ponds can be in the sun or the shade – they’ll just be different.

But which is best? Well, like the people who wrote the statements above, I don’t know!

But I have seen lots of ponds where some shade is no bad thing, and my own pond is in quite deep shade a lot of the time. It only gets full sun in the middle of the afternoon in the height of summer.

Is it the worse for it? It seems not. The pond had a pretty good emergence of frogs last year: our garden was hopping with babies. Its had three different kinds of dragonflies breeding so far. It’s got lush growths of submerged mosses, for a lot of the year it has clear water, and it has loads of other animals. It’s even been colonised naturally by Bulrush (Typha latifolia). And my Large Red Damselflies clearly preferred the shady side of the pond for laying their eggs.

But above all, quite a lot of shade seems no obstacle to having a great wildlife pond.


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