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A New Hardiness Zones

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a new version of its Plant Hardiness Zone Map, the first update of the map since 1990.

You can click on the picture of the map to be taken to the U.S. Department of Agriculture website and look up your zone by zip code.

The new Plant Hardiness Zone Map reflects data collected over the 30-year period 1976-2005; the 1990 version was based on a 13-year period from 1974-1986.

Jointly developed by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Oregon State University, the new Plant Hardiness Zone Map adds two new warm zones: zone 12 (50-60 degrees Fahrenheit) and zone 13 (60-70 degrees Fahrenheit). The 1990 Plant Hardiness Zone Map had 11 zones, with zone 11 being anything warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

No posters of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map have been printed. But state, regional, and national images of the map can be downloaded and printed in a variety of sizes and resolutions.

Geographical locations-and their climatic pluses and minuses greatly affect the outdoor koi ponds.

~In the South:: Koi-keepers in the South probably never need to heat their outdoor koi ponds; ponds stay warm enough in colder weather with a simple cover. However, during the summer these same koi-keepers may need to add a garden waterfall or fountin feature to cool the pond water.

~In the desert: Koi-keepers in arid areas like southern Arizona need to top off their backyard koi ponds with fresh water to replace water lost through evaporation. They also need a protein skimmer to filter off that scummy layer of pollen that settles after the summer monsoons.

~In the North: Koi-keepers in the North bear the brunt of expenses (like heating costs during the winter). Most koi-keepers elect to cover their outdoor koi pond when water temperatures dip below 52 degree F the point at which Koi become relatively inactive. The cover can be Pilofilm stapled to a 2-x4-foot frame just a few feet above the water. For northern Koi-keepers, the big difference in cost is electricity and nautral gas costs during the winter.

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When KH is depleted, it causes pH to fall or crash into the acidic range. KH MUST be replaced so the pH will move back into the alkaline range. WARNING:

  1. NEVER correct pH without testing ammonia which should be zero. If not, add AmQuel or ClorAm-X to bind the ammonia.
  2. Now KH (carbonates) can be brought up by adding baking soda, 1/4 cup per 1000 gallons. Circulate through the filter and retest until pH reaches a safe range.

How Often Should I Test?

Depending on the season, fish loading, the size of your pond, and basic water quality, you may find it necessary to test anywhere from daily to monthly. For a new pond with an uncycled biofilter, you should test pH, ammonia and nitrite daily for the first two weeks followed by every other day (EOD) for the next two weeks. If ammonia becomes problematic or temperatures are high, daily testing for the first six to eight weeks is not necessarily extreme.

Japanese Definition of Koi:

"A freshwater fish which will become your sweetheart, with its brilliant colors and friendly nature. They look at you with their wise, round eyes, and the entire day can be lost watching them."

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Hardiness Zones Beginning

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