Build Your Own Natural Swimming Hole
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Algae compete with other aquatic plants for nutrients and light, but spring algae blooms often decline as soon as water lilies and other plants emerge to shade them.
If you have more persistent problems with algae, consider adding plants, which will help consume excess nutrients. A second option is to keep phosphorous levels low by preventing fertilizer-rich runoff and urine from entering the pool. Increasing the pool’s aeration schedule will also help.
For more information on managing algae, visit the Ohio State University Extension Web site for the article at OhioLine.osu.edu/a-fact/0012.html.
Removing plant litter in spring and fall will help maintain the long life of your natural pool. Keep your water level constant and be prepared to add water as needed. Inexpensive test kits, available in garden centers, will allow you to monitor your pool’s nutrient levels, alerting you to problems.
In addition to maintaining the pool’s biological health, check the mechanical systems annually. Wipe diffusers with vinegar to remove deposits, check air hoses for cracks and obstructions, and examine all connections to the pumps. Given these precautions, your pool should provide you cool pleasure for years to come.
Environmental writer and educator Douglas Buege is an avid organic gardener and beekeeper. Freelance writer and editor Vicky Uhland has written about holistic lifestyles for a variety of publications. This article first appeared in the August/September 2002 issue of Mother Earth News.
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