Bark Dust Kills Ponds!


Glug ole’ Froggie,

The first thing people do in the spring is cover things with bark dust. This kills your food supply. The tannins in bark dust and conifer shavings contain chloro-phenols, natural insecticides and herbicides. These trees evolved in the age of the insects and were dinosaur food. Higher animals can sequester them but insects and crustaceans die. If you put bark dust next to your pond, you get a grey green soup. The pond is dead. If you kill the invertebrates, there are no algae predators, no insects and no fish food. Nothing survives.

Wood however, is important in a pond. The most common organic compound in the environment is cellulose. It is the basic food for most on the planet. The rot in a log serves as habitat for over 4,000 species of micro- and quasimicro- beasts. They are insect larvae such as the dragon fly. The common crayfish eats them and graze on algae. A dead deciduous log such as maple, alder or poplar; or barley straw adds cellulose that is easily decomposed. It is the best fish food!

Now let us talk SEX! Sex is the fusion of an egg and a sperm. This can only happen if the cell membranes are soluble. This happens at a high pH (why soap is slick). At low pH, the cell membrane will not fuse the egg and sperm (why vinegar grabs). If you ferment sugar such as cellulose in the presence of air, you get vinegars (acetic acid) and alcohol without air. This lowers the pH of the pond. Low pH equals no sex: no algae ergo clear water.

Gluggums, I want you to have groceries for your polies, and something to eat for yourself. I will try to get a good log for you to eat. Beware however, logs are great turtle furniture. We will also need birdies and butterflies and they come with nectar from flowers. Home sweet home.
PonDoc      from the pond

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