The King of Ponds              The Salmon Family Garden Center since 1968
Arbordale Nurseries & Landscaping

Arbordale Nurseries & Landscaping

The King of Ponds                         The Salmon Familu Since 1968


Welcome to Arbordale Nurseries Landscaping and Garden Center. We are a family-run full-service nursery garden center located just 15 minutes from downtown Buffalo, NY. Visit our blog regularly for tips on lanscaping, ponds, plants and gardening.

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pond winterization

Posted by jeff on November 5, 2018 at 4:45 PM

Northern Winter care of the pond

Care is different for Lily ponds versus goldfish ponds versus koi ponds. We present here a generalized look at winter care, please keep in mind your special situation in regards to your fish load and your climate, I'm sitting in Buffalo, NY so my low temperature and ice thickness is lighter than those of you in Minnesota for example.

1. Fish inside or out? small goldfish can be easily over-wintered in most ponds, even 18" preformed pools. Larger goldfish and small koi desire a spot 24" deep. Larger Koi 12" and up need 30" - 48" depth to be safe. This doesn't mean the whole pond, just a spot. In our fish pond installations we usually create a deep spot that is 30% of the pond.

2. Leaves -Consider a leaf cover, it is ESSENTIAL to get leaves out if you are over-wintering fish. Clean up marginal plants as soon as frost knocks them down, the spent foliage must not be allowed to fall into the pond and pollute. You do not want rotting leaves and fish waste to pollute the pond as the fish will NOT survive. We strongly recommend after physically removing the leaves and debris to add beneficial enzymes that will consume the inevitable sludge you miss as it gets colder. We use Spring and Fall Prep and Muckoff tablets. Water quality in late fall should be great, your water should be crystal clear, if not do small water changes. (Make sure you don't change the temperature of the water more than 2 degrees, as this will cause fish stress) It is imperative to keep the bottom as clean as possible, this why experienced fish keepers never put stones in the bottom. The specific problem is growth of psuedonomas and aeronomas bacteria. The symptoms of these two "bad" bacteria's do not show up until late spring. As temperature of the water increases they attack the fish. Many of our clients have been happy with over-wintering their fish and then loose them in April and May never thinking it was winter sludge activity that killed them. Your fish should be never happier than they are in late fall, as water temperature drops it holds more oxygen and their metabolism slows down.

3.Hardy Plants - hardy plants can be allowed to dieback on their own or cut back, except the ones in small tubs and container gardens. Cut plants to 6" from the top of the pot and place in bottom of pond after the first heavy frost. However, hollow stemmed plants should be trimmed above the water line. Trimming these below the water line could cause rotting. Drop hardy lilies down to the deep part of the pond 30". If you do not have that depth store them in their pot mud and all in a frost free location. Hardy marginals like Iris can be dug in (pot and all) somewhere in your gardens. Cut back water lilies to about 1 inch above the soil, replace soil and gravel as necessary. Keep hardy oxygenator plants uncut in the bottom to reduce early algae problems in spring. Oxygenating Plants: Cut back to 2 to 3" above pot and place in the bottom of the pond. Decaying plants will foul water quality and should be removed from the pond.

4. Annual plants -

All floating plants including water hyacinth and water lettuce should be discarded unless you bring them indoors and keep the water temperature at least 70 degrees F. and use a good grow light.....a rather expensive endeavor. Tropical lilies should come inside when water temperature goes below 70. Why many people consider these annuals and toss them, I have always had good luck by washing off the soil, wrapping them in damp newspaper and put in tray of perlite or peatmoss , then storing them in a cool dark spot.

5. Critters- Remove all tadpoles, snails, and frogs, Snails and tadpoles have a hard time overwintering, so bring them in. Release the frogs into your yard. I PROMISE they will find your pond again next year. Keep checking weekly for fogs because if they stay in the water they will die. Their corpses are toxic to fish and the smell in spring is something you don't need to experience.

6. Ice - with fish overwintering it is IMPERATIVE we have some open water for gas exchange. This is the most important winter task!

Pond Deicers are available from the 100 watt to 1500w units that will keep a hole in the ice and are controlled by a thermostat. We are NOT heating the pond. For best results combine with a aerator to avoid issues with snow load etc on pond. Position deicer directly above aeration bubbles for best results. The year around benefits of aeration are enormous. We stock heavy duty air pumps, these units use as little as 4 watts of power. Remember, if the pond freezes over, the freezing is not what is killing the fish, but trapped gases asphyxiate them. You must keep a hole open even if you have to melt a hole with a hot pan.

(Old Wives tale #23 - "breaking the ice with a hammer will send a shock wave and kill the fish - FALSE!)

7. Fall Fish Feeding- feeding when water temperature is below 50 will kill your fish, they don't have stomachs and cannot digest food in cold water. Suggested feeding schedule:

70 + twice a day or more with a fresh high protein food like Sakana Fish Food that we use ourselves.

61+ twice daily

56-60 Feed just once a day.

51-55 feed 2 to 3 times a WEEK

42 -50 Spring/Fall Wheat Germ blend foods only


< 42 no feeding

don't watch the calendar- watch the thermometer on when to feed.

8. Salt- if you remove your plants you should salt the pond to a rate of 3 lbs. per 100 gallons. Pond salt kills 7 of the 10 common parasites. The salt level will be diminished in spring by your first water changes before the plants go back in. Most people find bringing fish through the winter a easy task, but then they tell us they died in spring. two words: BACTERIAL INFECTION. The salt prevents a lot of this, plus it improves gill function and helps the fish create more of it's natural slime coat. Pond Salt has no iodine or YPS anti-caking agents that kill fish and found in most 

9.MOVING FISH INSIDE: when you move fish to their inside tank, do so gradually. Move a few in at a time to a tank that was set up in advance with pond water. Make sure their winter home is large enough. Bring as many plants in as you can, even run grow lamps on 10 hour timer. If you don't put plants in be sure to cover with netting. As you add each new batch of fish monitor pH, ammonia, and nitrite, If you are not sure your getting enough aeration, check with a oxygen test kit. Feed very sparingly the first week to avoid a ammonia spike. Consider ammo rocks etc, if you have to bring all the fish in at once. After your filter system shows it can handle more feedings, you'll be amazed at how much they grow this winter.

10. Equipment - Job #1 -remove check valves so pipes can flow! Remove any piece of water holding equipment that is closed including UV Sterilizers, Pressure Filters, Bead Filters. Open top equipment like Filterfalls and skimmers are fine. Take the pump out and store in a pail of water. While you have it out, clean and inspect. Magnetic Pumps should have the magnets pulled out and chambers cleaned. Oil bath pumps should have the oil inspected if it is not clear the seals need to be replaced.

Avoiding Rabbit Damage

Posted by jeff on November 2, 2018 at 4:30 PM

Rabbit Resistant Plants

While no plant is absolutely resistant to rabbit browsing, the following are the plants that appear to be seldom chewed in Upstate New York:

Annuals: Begonias Impatiens

Perennials:Achillea (Yarrow) Anemone Aquilegia (Columbine) Artemesia (Sage) Coreopsis Digitalis (Foxglove) Ferns Geraniums (Hardy Gaillardia (Blanketflower) Hemerocallis (Daylily) Lavandula (Lavender) Monarda (Beebalm) Nepeta (Catmint) Papaver (Oriental Poppy Perovskia (Russian Sage) Vinca (Periwinkle Peony Rudbeckia

Trees & Shrubs: Abies (Fir) Berberis (Barberry)Buxus (Boxwood) Celtis (Hackberry) Cotoneaster Daphne Fraxinus (Ash) ) Picea (Spruce) Quercus (Oak) Rhus (Sumac) Ribes (Currant) Syringa (Lilac) Viburnum (Cranberry) )

Thin barked trees are generally favorites of rabbits. These include Willows, Poplar, & Apples. Ash and Maples are susceptible until they get past the sapling stage. Oaks are usually ignored completely. As for evergreens, pines are usually preferred over spruce and fir.


My Recommended Rabbit Deterents:

Metal Fencing

Repels-All spray and granules ( made in NY)

Liquid Fence Repellant

Shake Away Predator Urine Repellant


Quality Bird Food help birds survive cold weather

Posted by jeff on January 5, 2018 at 5:10 PM

Quality Foods Provide More Calories to Help Birds Survive the Cold Weather 

Buying bird feed can be confusing - there are so many different varieties! The following are some questions you may have about the ingredients in bird feed mixes. 


Q. Should I get German millet?

A. It's something to avoid and is less attractive to native birds than white proso millet.


Q. Do birds like Golden Millet, Red Millet, and Flax?

A.These seeds are often used as fillers in  packaged birdseed mixes, but most birds shun them. Waste seed becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, contaminating fresh seed more quickly. Make sure to read the ingredients list on bird feed mixtures, avoiding those with these seeds. In particular, if a seed mix has a lot of small, red seeds, make sure they're milo or sorghum, not red millet.  


Q.Why are Lyric and Meadow Ridge Farms  seed more expensive?


A. Those manufacturers bird seed is made from fresher, cleaner seed. Debris is left in many other brand's mixes as filler so there is less seed in the bag, making it appear less expensive.


Q. What is the difference between red and yellow milo?

A.While milo is not a completely inedible seed, it isn't preferred by birds. It is what is used in cattle feed lots, due to the fact it discourages birds from eating there. Milo is added to seed mixes to reduce price because it is relatively inexpensive. We find no research into the differences in attractiveness between red and yellow milo. In millet, red is less attractive than white due to the higher tannin content of the shell giving it a bitter taste. That MAY come into play here as well.


This is from Cornell Ornithology:


Q. Milo Or Sorghum in wild bird mixes?

A. Milo is a favorite with many Western ground-feeding birds. On Cornell Lab of Ornithology seed preference tests, Steller's Jays,  Curve-billed Thrashers, and Gambel's Quails preferred milo to sunflower. In another study, House Sparrows did not eat milo, but cowbirds did. Milo should be scattered on the ground or on low tray feeders. Stop offering it if you're subsidizing cowbirds.

Q. Is all Black Oil Sunflower the same?

A. In black oil sunflower, the lower quality brands are generally "field run" and are allowed to contain significant levels of debris. The non-seed material clogs feeders (especially tube feeders) and more importantly reduces the amount of seed in the bag.


Here is some additional information our bird feed suppliers: 

-"We triple clean all our mixes through aspiration. It goes through the process three times where all of the seed is blown at high speed to get the dust off."


-"We do not use any oils to clean our seed, as a lot of companies do. Oil makes the seed "look" shiny, but, the dust is still there, it is just masked by the oil."


-"The oil is also not good for feeders. It wears them out quicker, and, on tube feeders it makes the clear tube oily and it gets a milky film on it."


-"We are also very picky about the seed we buy when it comes into our facility."


Indoor Low Light Plants

Posted by jeff on October 26, 2017 at 2:20 PM

Indoor Low Light Plants

Botanical Name Common Name Height Comments

Aglaonema spp. Chinese evergreen 1-2’ Several species .

Aspidistra elatior.  cast iron plant 1-2’ Tough in every way; 

Beaucarnea recurvata. ponytail palm 1-6’ Will grow in all light conditions

Chamaedorea elegans ‘Bella’ parlor palm 1’-2’ best low light palm

Dracaena deremensis ‘Janet Craig’  similiar to cornstalk, but solid green foliage;

‘Warneckii’ is also popular.

Dracaena fragrans ‘Massengeana’ cornstalk plant 2-6’ 

Epipremnum aureum. Pothos 1-4’ or more Vining plant that can trail or grow up supports.

Philodendron scandens. heart-leafed philodendron 1-3’ or more Vining plant that can trail or grow up supports.

Philodendron selloum  1-4’ Also called lacy tree philodendron.

Sansevieria spp. snake plant 6”-4’ Succulent, leathery leaves.

Spathyphyllum spp. peace lily 1-3’ Also called spathe flower; blooms best in east light.

Syngonium spp. arrowhead vine 1-3’ Grows best on support, or cut back often to prevent rank growth.

Zamioculcas zamiafolia zz plant 1-3’ Succulent leaves; rots easily when overwatered.

Do I need to put enzymes in my pond if I put bacteria in there?

Posted by jeff on March 9, 2017 at 2:40 PM

Do I need to put enzymes in my pond if I put bacteria in there?


Bacteria and enzymes may both be microscopic heavyweights when it comes to breaking down decomposing organics in your pond, but they play distinctly different roles. Here's what you need to know about them – and how they complement each other.


Natural Bacteria: The Leading Role

Aerobic and anaerobic bacteria already live your pond, and they're prolific. These hungry stars of the show decompose organic material, like dead algae, decomposing weeds and leaves, and pond muck.


Of the two types, the aerobic variety, which is found in bacteria additives like MuckAway™, PondClear™, Ultraclear BPC™ does a much better job at gobbling the decomposing organics than the anaerobic type that lives in oxygen-depleted environments. Most ponds, in fact, have an overabundance of anaerobic bacteria, thanks to poor circulation.


Enzymes: The Supporting Cast

Enzymes are a different critter altogether. In simple terms, enzymes accelerate chemical reactions – so in a pond, they play a supporting role. They're catalysts that help natural bacteria by speeding up the digestion of all that organic material. This allows the bacteria to work more efficiently.


Give Them a Boost

Do you need to add both bacteria and enzymes to your pond? No, not really.


Self-sufficient microorganisms, aerobic bacteria naturally secrete their own enzymes to help digest muck. Simply increasing the number of hungry bacteria by adding PondClear™ or UltraClear™ and MuckAway™ (both found in ClearPAC® PLUS Pond Care Package) will grow the amount of productive enzymes, which ultimately means more decomposed muck and a cleaner, clearer pond.


If you want to give your bacteria a boost, be sure your aeration system is in tip-top shape to pump oxygen into your pond, and use EcoBoost™ Bacteria Enhancer to bind excess phosphates and other suspended organics in the water. It also adds more than 80 trace minerals to promote fish health and growth, so it's great for all critters – microscopic or otherwise!

When is the best time to install underwater pond lighting?

Posted by jeff on February 20, 2017 at 9:05 AM


Whether it's illuminating a patio, a landscape or a water garden, outdoor lighting can have a dramatic impact on the area's space. It creates a special mood and spotlights stunning features while adding ambient light to the environment.


Underwater lighting is best installed when your pond is empty, like while it's being constructed or – in most cases – while you're doing your annual spring cleanout. 


Choose the Right Lights: Landscaping lights come in many different sizes and varieties, and so it can be hard to choose the best for your needs. 

LED lights are evolving quickly and most LED pond lights serve double duty as outdoor garden lights. 

Point Lights to the Pond: Rather than directing your landscape lights toward the patio or other viewing area, shine the light on pond instead. Your goal is to illuminate your water feature – not blind yourself while viewing it.

Cast an Underwater Glow: Beneath the water's surface, install lights that will spotlight your waterfall or stream's cascading water. And don't forget to include some that will highlight landscaping around and pondscaping in your water feature, too.

Stash Extra Power Cord: To give yourself easy accessibility to the underwater lights when you need to change their bulbs, wrap some excess power cord around the light. This will allow you to simply pull the light out of the water and change the bulb without having to drain the water or move a rock.

Over time, algae and other debris will build up on your lights – and so you'll need to add a new to-do item on your spring cleanout checklist! Each year, plan to give those lenses a good scrubbing and replace any burned-out bulbs.

Black Walnut Tree - what not to plant underneath

Posted by jeff on January 6, 2017 at 1:20 PM

Black Walnut Tree Toxicity

The Black Walnut (juglans nigra) is a vigorous hardy tree. Unfortunately, the black walnut’s roots, which may extend 50 feet or more from the trunk, do exude a natural herbicide known as juglone that prevents many plants from growing within their reach.

Tomatoes, potatoes, apples, pears, berries, and some landscape plants such as rhododendrons, azaleas, and lilacs may be killed or stunted if grown in close proximity to black walnut roots

Plants to avoid planting under the canopy of a Black Walnut:

vegetables: asparagus,cabbage,eggplant, pepper, potato, rhubarb, tomato

fruits; apple, blackberry, blueberry, pear

Landscape plants: azaleam hydrangea, larch, lilac, magnolia, mountain laurel, mugo pine, potentilla, privet, rhododendron, viburnum, yew

flowers & perennials: baptista, chrysanthemum, lily, peony, petunia.

For a more detailed list of what can or cannot be planted visit our complete black walnut page here

Easy Plant Protection with Wilt Stop

Posted by jeff on December 3, 2016 at 1:50 PM


Wilt Stop is one of the most under rated garden items in New York. This natural, non-toxic product, derived from the resin of pine trees, has the unique ability to form a soft, clear flexible film on treated plants. This film protects plants from drying out, drought, wind burn, sunscald, winter kill, transplant shock and salt damage. WILT STOP also extends life of cut flowers and Christmas trees. We soak our christmas wreaths at start of season to prevent needle drop. It replaces using burlap in many yards so your home is far more attractive. Great for use year around on deciduous trees, evergreens, shrubs, roses, transplants, vegetables, fruit--- RTU -5% Pinene. Made in New York State by family run Bonide Mfg.

5 Health Benefits of Houseplants

Posted by jeff on October 21, 2016 at 2:30 PM

Bringing plants into your home beautifies the space, but it also helps beautify you, inside and out. From breathing healthier air to increasing your concentration, house plants offer many health benefits. Our local garden center can help you find houseplants that provide the following benefits:


1. Easier Breathing


When breathing, you inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Plants on the other hand, do the opposite during a process called photosynthesis. This opposite pattern of gasses creates a mutually beneficial relationship between plants and humans. Having plants in your home can increase oxygen levels allowing you to breathe easier.


2. Purified Air


According to NASA, houseplants can remove up to 87 percent of volatile organic compounds from the air each day. These are toxins that come from certain liquids or solids that we have in our home like paints, cleaning supplies, pesticides, cigarette smoke, rugs, grocery bags, etc. These toxins are oftentimes trapped inside our homes. Plants pull these contaminants into the soil where they are actually then converted to food for the plant.


3. Enhanced Mood


Plants can help ease our tension by making us feel closer to nature. This is especially important in this day in age in which spending time outdoors is often hard to squeeze into our busy routines. They also beautify our indoor environment which naturally enhances our mood. Stop by our local plant nursery to pick up a potted lilac plant. Lilac can be used to relieve anxiety and promote relaxation and improved sleep.


4. Sharper Memory


Many studies have shown that adding houseplants to your work environment aids with concentration and productivity. Not only that, but working amongst houseplants can increase memory retention up to 20 percent.


5. Better Health


Plants naturally increase the humidity of your home. Studies have shown that this helps with dry skin, the common cold, sore throats, fatigue, headaches, and dry coughs. High humidity makes it harder to transmit the flu virus. Studies have also shown that adding plants to hospital rooms of surgical patients resulted in less requests for pain medication, less instances of fatigue and anxiety, and even faster discharge times.


A quick trip to our local nursery garden center can provide you with a wealth of health benefits for you and your home.


Preparing for Winter a Guide for Cold Weather Pond Care

Posted by jeff on September 26, 2016 at 9:25 AM

As winter approaches, it's important to take the right steps to preserve the health of your garden pond. Here are some things you can do to maintain your pond all winter long, ensuring a good comeback when spring arrives.


1. Remove leaves and debris.


It's easier to simply allow leaves that fall in your pond during the Autumn months to rot and decompose in the water, but this can actually disrupt the ecosystem you have cultivated and endanger your fish. As leaves decompose, they increase the acidity of the water and create a recipe for bacterial infections.  Instead, carefully remove all the leaves, and use the following garden pond supplies to help prevent any other organic matter from falling the pond:



  • A pond netting. This mesh screen allows for air circulation, but prevents large amounts of leaves and snow from landing directly on your pond's surface, helping to preserve the life of hardy pond plants.
  • A net for skimming out heavier plant life. You'll need to carefully remove old flower heads, water lettuce, and annual floating plants. If left in the pond, they will sink to the bottom and decompose. Fish cannot survive the winter with the gases emitted from these dead plants.
  • apply Muck off and Spring/Fall prep per directions on bottle until pond ices over



2. Know the right care for your water level.


The deeper your water, the better your pond will mimic a natural water ecosystem; fish will hibernate and be protected from frigid temperature, and deep water plants are more likely to return to healthy growth in the spring. If your pond is quite shallow, you may need to remove your fish and plants and put them in an indoor aquarium with their familiar pond water and garden pond accessories.  For most garden ponds, you'll need tor have an aerator that continues to oxygenate the water and helps to release damaging  gases.  A deicer maintains a hole in the ice is a valuable device, together they create the best insurance of happy fish.


For more information, contact us at (716) 688-9125 or see our pond accessories here.