August Garden To-Do List: Tending Southeastern Gardens In Summer — 199

Odds and ends

Keep the weeds pulled, before they have a chance to flower and go to seed again. Otherwise, you will be fighting newly germinated weed seed for the next several years. Weeds in the garden are harmful because they rob your plants of water and nutrients, harbor insects and diseases, and, on occasion grow tall enough to shade your flowers and plants. Change the water in your bird bath regularly, and keep it filled. Standing water is less healthy for the birds, and may become a breeding ground for mosquito larvae.

Continue to watch for insect, slug and snail, or disease damage throughout the garden, and take the necessary steps to control the problem.

Aloe Juvenna ‘Tiger Tooth Aloe’ Care

Are They Indoor or Outdoor Plants?

Aloe Juvenna ‘Tiger Tooth Aloe’ plants can grow happily both indoors and outdoors. Whether indoors or outdoors, providing the right potting mix and adequate sunlight are key to their survival.

Indoor Lighting Requirements

Place in a bright location indoors. Choose an east facing window if possible. A south or west facing window will also work. Overwatering along with poor lighting can send the plant to an early grave. You may need to move the plant around your house a few times to find the best location where it’ll be happiest.

For areas that receive poor lighting no matter the time of the year, you may consider using a growlight. Growlights can help supplement your plants’ lighting requirements especially during those long, dark winters. Here are some of my growlight recommendations.

To read more about this topic on indoor lighting for succulents, check out my post on “Proper Lighting for Succulents Indoors” to get some helpful tips.

Outdoor Sunlight Requirements

Aloe Juvenna ‘Tiger Tooth Aloe’ plant can tolerate partial shade to full sun. They are happiest in sunny areas that receive partial protection from full sun. When exposed to full sun, the plant turns brownish red in color.

Before moving the plant outdoors or increasing the amount of sunlight it receives, it is better to acclimate the plant to help prevent sunburn or sun damage. Slowly increase the amount of sunlight it receives until it is fully acclimated to the sun. Keep in mind that even when the plant is already acclimated to full sun, it can still get sunburned during a heatwave or intense heat. Mature plants are more tolerant to heat than smaller plants.

Sunshades are a real lifesaver for my plants during the intense summer heat here in Northern California where the temperatures can rise above 100℉ or 37.8℃. Here are some of my recommendations for sunshades and sun protection.

For further details and information on outdoor sunlight requirements, please visit my post “How Much Sunlight Do Succulents Need Outdoors?” to get some useful tidbits.

Aloe Juvenna ‘Tiger Tooth Aloe’ plants are hardy in USDA hardiness zones 9-11.

Frost Tolerance

Aloe Juvenna ‘Tiger Tooth Aloe’ can tolerate mild frost and freezing temperatures as long as they are not for long periods of time. If you live in USDA hardiness zones 9-11, you can leave the plant outdoors all year long and they can even be planted in the ground. My plant stays outdoors all year long, and it survives the cold rains and occasional frost we experience in the winter months.

If you have extreme winter conditions in your area, the best way to grow these plants are in containers. That way you can bring them indoors during winter or when there is a forecast of frost or snow. In case you can’t bring them in, there are ways to protect the plants from frost and freezing temperatures outdoors. You can use frost cloths or mini greenhouses to help them survive the cold winter. Here are some of my recommendations for frost protection.

Soil Requirements

Like all succulents, Aloe Juvenna ‘Tiger Tooth Aloe’ plants need a well-draining soil. The right type of soil goes hand in hand with proper watering. Succulents are susceptible to root rot so a well-draining soil helps keep them alive especially if you are unsure of how to water. I have been using a simple, tried and tested concoction that has worked well for my plants. I like to use a cactus potting mix combined with perlite for added drainage. I do not use exact measurements but eyeball it to about 2:1 solution of cactus mix and perlite.

Others recommend using sandy soil. This can be achieved by mixing cactus mix or potting soil with coarse sand (about 2:1 ratio). Or you can use a combination of all three materials mentioned. I get most of my materials from a local hardware store. You can also purchase them online. Here are some of my soil recommendations. To read more about soil for succulents, click on “Best Soil and Fertilizer for Succulents” to get more useful information.

Watering Requirements

Watering largely depends on the climate you live in. Although these plants are highly adapted to dry weather conditions, they do much better when given sufficient amounts of water. There really isn’t a set schedule or formula on when to water succulents. My watering schedule is dictated by the very dry climate I live in.

In the summer months, I water my Aloe Juvenna ‘Tiger Tooth Aloe’ ‘ as often as every 7-10 days, sometimes more during a heatwave. I cut back on watering to about every 10-14 days when the weather cools down. During the winter season, I mostly rely on rainwater and hold back on watering altogether because this is when we get a lot of rain in my area. But if we don’t get any rain at all during winter then I water at least once a month or every 2-3 weeks, depending on how dry the soil gets.

For those people in humid locations, you won’t need to water as much. And if you keep your plants indoors, you may not have to water as much especially if they are not receiving a lot of light. Too much water and not enough light is a recipe for disaster for these plants. Adjust your watering needs by the amount of light the plant receives.

One good way to tell whether it’s time to water is to check the moisture of the soil. The top inch of the soil needs to feel dry before you can water again. If you are unsure how much and how often to water in the beginning, it’s always better to underwater and increase watering as needed. Pay attention to how your plant looks and you can adjust watering accordingly.

For further help with watering techniques, consider using tools like hygrometers or moisture meters to check for moisture in the soil and air. These tools are pretty affordable and can come in handy especially if you are unsure of when to water your plant next. I have narrowed down the choices here on my resource page. Do visit the page if you need help in gauging your watering needs.

Interested in finding out more about watering succulents? Visit my post “How And When To Water Succulents” where I go into details about this topic.

Pond Algae and How to Control Algae

Algae forms in a pond when sunlight reacts with nutrients in the water. These nutrients are comprised of primarily Ammonia and Nitrate which you may recognize as the ingredients in fertilizer. These nutrients result from the breakdown of debris such as leaves, grass, and other windblown organic matter as well as from fish waste and uneaten fish food. As these items decompose, the nutrients become the food for algae in many forms including string algae that covers rocks and clings to the surface of your pond as well as the usual green water also called pea soup effect.

There are several ways to control your pond water and keep it crystal clear. Each have benefits and certain drawbacks and are detailed below.

  • A liquid or powder algaecide is the fastest way to clear up your pond but also the fastest way to kill your fish and pond plants. A liquid or dry algaecide will chemically destroy algae but is done so with harsh chemicals and compounds that are being increasingly monitored or banned by certain states and municipalities. With an algaecide, you can expect to see an overnight improvement but it comes at a price. The algaecide will be very hard on any plants you have in the pond. Additionally, the oxygen supply in the water will plummet. When algae are alive, they are living breathing plants that actually add oxygen to the pond water. Upon death, it rapidly consumes all the available oxygen in the pond.

If you intend to use an algaecide, please read the directions carefully as an overdose can quickly harm or kill your plants and fish. When using an algaecide, you will also want to increase circulation in your pond with a waterfall, fountain or aerator. These will replace lost oxygen and hopefully prevent a fish kill.

Finally, it should be noted that the dead algae will fall to the bottom of the pond and form the food for the next generation of algae.

  • A UV filter / UV Sterilizer is often used to clear up green water quickly in a pond. These items are both the same thing and differ only by how fast the water flows through them. A UV filter is a device that allows water to be pumped through it and bombards that water with Ultra Violet radiation from a bulb. The slower the water travels through the unit the longer the water stays in contact with the bulb and the more UV rays are absorbed. These UV rays sterilize the algae and it quickly dies. Use of a UV filter can clear green water in just a few days.

Unfortunately, UV filters only cover up the water quality problem. While they clear the green water, the underlying problem that caused it to begin with remains. Often the algae will come back in another form such as string algae which clings to the surface area of your rocks and pond liner. This algae does not pass through the UV filter so it is never treated and continues to thrive off the nutrients in the pond and the dead algae.

If you need to quickly clear the pond water, a UV is great but it should be used in conjunction with other treatments to eliminate the nutrients in the water and establish a natural balance in your pond.

  • Barley straw or liquid barley extract is a natural way to keep your pond clear. Barley straw bales have been used by farmers for hundreds of years as a type of natural algaecide but in reality it does not actually kill or remove the algae. Barley added to the pond will begin to degrade and break down. As the barley decomposes it releases enzymes that will slightly change the PH of the pond water. This change in PH provides the pond with a habitat that is less suitable to the growth of algae.

Use of the barley extract or barley bales is most effective before a pond has an algae problem. Both the bale and the liquid extract need to be retreated frequently so that the pond continues to have a new supply of degrading barely. Many people find this method very effective while others fail to achieve the results they hoped for. I believe this method is best used in conjunction with a pond bacteria product as part of a multi pronged approach to clear water.

  • Liquid or powdered pond bacteria is another popular way to establish a healthy naturally clear pond. Bacillus bacteria is found in all natural ponds and is part of natures way of keeping a healthy water cycle. Bacillus bacteria is a natural garbage disposal for your pond. As the colonies of bacillus bacteria grow, they feed on the very same nutrients that algae like to feed on. The bacillus bacteria will begin to consume decaying plant matter and fish waste and will continue to eat and multiply for 12-16 weeks. The regular use of a pond bacteria will ensure that continual new colonies of bacteria will emerge and scrub the pond clean of the nutrients that algae require to grow. If algae does not have a food supply then it cannot thrive.

Like the barley treatment, use of pond bacteria will require a bit of patience as the colonies take 2-6 weeks to grow and mature. This is a long term solution that should be considered as one of the best possible preventative measures to keeping a clean and healthy pond.

If you use a UV filter you will want to use the pond bacteria to help consume the dead algae and to reduce the nutrients in the water.
If you use a chemical algaecide, you would want to follow with a large dose of pond bacteria to consume the dead algae before the next cycle begins.
If you use a barley extract, you will want to consider adding the pond bacteria to reduce the nutrients that feed the algae.
If you use a debris scrub on the surface areas of your pond then follow with treatments of bacteria to your pond.

The bacteria will attach itself to any surface area in the pond and is invisible. However, if you add bio media such as bio balls into the waterfall filter of your pond, that media will house large colonies of beneficial bacteria and will scrub the water as it passes over.

Pond bacteria comes in both liquid and powder and each method has its own following. The powered form is generally more potent and treats a larger area but the liquid is easier to apply. Look for a high concentration of bacteria colony forming units (1-5 billion) when making your purchase. These CFU numbers will tell you how potent the product is. Unlike an algaecide, you can double treat and dose frequently with bacteria without any worry of over treatment or harm to your plants and fish from this naturally occurring bacteria

Special winter note: During the falls leaves and other debris will accumulate on the bottom of your pond. Use a winter blend bacteria or a super concentrate and treat through the winter. The bacteria will continue to consume debris through the winter and will allow your spring startup to be more problem free.

  • Other algae reducing tips will help control algae in your pond and will help make any of the above treatments more effective.
    1. If possible, plan your pond so it is not in the direct sunlight the entire day. The cooler the pond the less problem summer algae will be
    2. Add water plants to your pond up to 30-40% of the surface area of the pond. These plants will both reduce the temperature of the pond and they feed off of the ammonia and nitrates in the water
    3. Do not over feed your fish. Goldfish and Koi typically do not require daily feeding. Some customers tell us that they feed their fish 2-3 times a day. The more fish waste the more nutrients in the pond for algae to consume. Feeding fish should be done no more than once a day and they should be given no more food than they can consume in 2-3 minutes. In a pond with full algae bloom, I would not feed the fish at all until it is under control. The fish will be happy eating the algae itself and it is probably better for them that the regular fish food.
      NOTE: Once the temp of the pond water falls below 50 degrees do not feed the fish at all as their system cannot properly digest it and you can harm or kill the fish.
    4. Do not overstock your pond with fish. A general rule of thumb is 1 inch of fish per 100 gallons of water in your pond. That is probably a very conservative estimate but if you have a 400 gallon pond stocked with 20-30 goldfish or koi that are 1-3 inches long, you are going to require a considerable amount of filtration and treatments to handle that kind of fish load.

Final note: Pond maintenance should be a simple quick routine done on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. The use of the proper items to care for your pond will ensure a safe and happy home for your pond plants and fish and will give you more time to enjoy your pond instead of working on it.

Graystone Industries and its web sites offer many pond water care items which may be viewed at At this time, we do not offer any chemical algaecide products as we firmly believe that the harm to the fish and plants in the pond outweigh the benefit of killing the algae. We do carry UV lights, bacteria, barley extract and other effective and safe pond water treatments.

Written by: John Olson CEO of

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