Carter’s Garden Blog

Keepin’ It Real – Top 5 Koi Myths Made Right! | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, Tennessee

It’s Wednesday, aka “Hump Day” and as usual the subject is Koi 😊 We were discussing erroneous information & myths about Koi keeping that are out there, so I thought why not make a blog post about it… Here’s a quick “Top 5”…

#1 – You Can’t Be A Koi Keeper & A Water Gardener.

Not true! You can raise healthy koi In your beautiful water garden! The koi can grow up to be just as beautiful and healthy as they are in traditional koi ponds. Proper design is key! You will LOVE how they compliment each other 😊 I have installed Hundreds of beautiful Water Gardens with healthy happy Koi.

Koi and Water Gardens go together like peas and carrots 😊 | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, Tennessee

#2 – Predators Will Eat All Your Fish.

Again, Proper Design is key! Raccoons generally won’t swim. That’s not to say they never swim, or couldn’t stand on the side of your pond and take a paw swipe or two at your fish… Fortunately, most fish will swim to a deeper, more protected part of the pond when a predator is threatening them. The one predator with legitimate credentials is the blue heron. Plenty of lily pads give them some protection and will work to minimize attracting a heron in the first place. Other protection measures include a motion activated water sprayer called a “Scarecrow” or even better a “Koi-cave” structure that can be built in during the pond’s construction. IF you already have a pond, they can be added with minimum remodeling during a clean out service.

A Blue Heron is a major Predator of our Koi and pond fish! BUT, we can stop them from harming our ‘finned friends’! Tools like a “Scarecrow”, or a fish cave really help! In the Fall a leaf net helps with more than 1 task 😊

#3 – Your Pond Must Be (3) Three Feet Deep to Keep Koi. 

There are literally tens of thousands of two-foot deep ponds all around this country, full of happy and healthy koi. The water in a two-foot deep pond will generally only freeze eight inches down in the coldest of climates, because of the insulating qualities of the earth that surrounds the pond – Here in West Tennessee usually not at all. Another Plus – a properly designed 2’ deep pond is easy to get in and out of 😉

#4 – Koi Can’t Be Kept With Plants.

In a naturally balanced ecosystem, koi and plants complement and need one another. In nature, fish feed on plants. As a result, the fish produce waste, which is broken down by aerobic bacteria on the bottom of your pond, which, in turn, is used as fertilizer by the plants to grow and produce more natural fish food. One tip I have learned from experience- start with small Koi, they will grow up with the plants and won’t bother them at all – like in nature.

This is one of my Display Water Gardens at Carters Nursery Pond & Patio – The Aquatic Plants & Koi have been doing great here for almost 30 years!

#5 – If You Forget To Feed Your Koi They Will All Die. 

Totally False! In a properly designed & stocked pond, the ecological balance will amaze you! Crystal clear water, thriving aquatic plants & a healthy eco-system are your reward! We all Love to feed our babies, but if you miss a few days they will get busy doing some “pond keeping” of their own! 😊 They will ‘Thrive’, not simply survive! The key is  to “Stay in Balance”!

Happy Pondering! & Merry Christmas 🎄 🎅🏻


Mark Carter
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio
2846 Old Medina Rd. 
Jackson, Tn. 38305
Ph.# 731-424-2206
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Hump Day Koi Fix – Cool Koi Facts | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN

It’s Wednesday, AKA: Hump Day! The day of the week that I like to blog about Koi. I have spent a lot of time lately blogging about Koi colors & markings and different varieties, etc… Today how about some fun facts… –

Some of my Koi. The Big Sanke in the middle of the pack – right below the Koi with the yellow ‘Ki’ head) is named Jaws 🙂 I got him when he was 15 years old. He lived another 15 years in my Pond and died at the age of 30 or so. A Koi breeder told me thats probably a good average age for a domestic Koi in a backyard Water Garden. | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN


10 Cool Koi Facts –

1- Did you know that Koi and Goldfish aren’t the same species? Koi are descendants of common Carp and weren’t selectively bred until the 1800’s.
2- Goldfish were bred for their beauty and were prized by collectors 100’s of years before Koi were developed.
3- Koi were originally used as a food source. They were originally brought to Japan for this sole purpose.
4- Koi get MUCH larger than Goldfish! The largest measured/recorded Koi was 4 feet in length & weighed over 90 pounds! WOW!

WOW! This is a HUGE Koi! Koi can grow up to 48″ in length and weigh over 50+ pounds…

5- Koi can live a LONG time! The oldest recorded Koi was named ‘Hanako’, (pronounced han-nah-koh) which means ‘Flower Maid’ in Japanese. Hanako lived to be 226 years old! WOW!

6- The aquatic plants in your Koi Pond not only look beautiful and provide natural habitat, they help provide much needed SHADE! Koi sunburn badly!
7- Koi LOVE different foods! Try feeding them lettuce, peas, watermelon and oranges!

It’s time to feed the fish 🙂 Try something different. Koi LOVE fresh fruit and veggies too!

8- We love them for their bright,beautiful colors, but, their colors make them a target for predators like Herons and other birds of prey. Install a ‘Fish Cave’ to give them a place to hide from danger.
9- One female Koi can lay as many as 50,000 eggs during a breeding season! Up to 50% can hatch… WOW! That’s a LOT of babies!
10- Koi are intelligent and trainable! You can easily train your koi to eat from your hand and to ring a bell for a treat! Prety Cool!


I LOVE learning more about my finned friends and I hope you do too!

Happy Pondering! and Merry Christmas!🎄

PS: Koi make a wonderful gift! 🎅🏻

Mark Carter
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio
2846 Old Medina Rd. 
Jackson, Tn. 38305
Ph.# 731-424-2206
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Fall Pond Questions – Should I Install Pond Netting? | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN

“To net or not to net, that is the question”…

Pond Netting is a great tool to help keep the maintenance of your Water Garden or Koi Pond down over the fall and winter months . It can protect your fish from predators too…

WHY should I net my pond in the Fall?

Great question! The main reason to net your Water Feature in the Fall is to help with leaf and debris control. All the Ponds that I personally design and install have a skimmer system (mechanical Filter) that does this task for you. You simply empty that skimmer basket from time to time and have little to no leaf or debris problems. BUT, if you have a lot of trees in your Landscape as well,  a Fall Leaf 🍁 Net may be in order. Depending on your leaf debris load, a skimmer might still need the help of a simple leaf net to keep up during peak leaf fall…

We stock bulk pond netting at Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio in Jackson, TN

HOW do you use the netting?

You simply pull the net over the Pond’s surface and secure it along the edges. Some ponds will allow for a tight stretched net over the surface but some times we install risers to make a “Tent” effect of the net. This helps shed the leaf debris to the edges to make it easier to dispose of them.

Some ponds will allow for a taught pulled net. Others may need a center support for the netting. Either way, it saves a LOT of time on maintenance!

Keeping the leaves and other fall debris out of your Pond is a good thing! Leaf debris is unsightly, it also quickly starts to decompose releasing many compounds that are bad for your fish. In turn algae is fed by the decomposing leaf matter and oxygen is depleted. ALL of these things combined can be catastrophic for the health of your finned friends, in heavy leaf fall areas, it can even kill them.

ALSO – in the Fall and Winter most of the aquatic plants are asleep, leaving very little cover for your Koi… Pond Predators strike most often in the Fall and Winter… BUT, Blue Herons can’t get your pets through the Pond Netting! So that’s another big plus for having a Pond Net!

A Blue Heron is major Predator of our Koi and pond fish! BUT, we can stop them from harming our ‘finned friends’ in the Fall & Winter by installing a Leaf Net.

So to wrap this up – IF you have a LOT of trees in your landscape that shed leaves in the Fall, a Leaf Net might be for YOU! AND – if you have Koi that you love and want to protect, leaf netting could help you too.

FYI: You can get leaf netting for your pond at Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio! We always keep 10′ and 20′ widths in stock, we cut to order and it’s very inexpensive. Questions? Call me at 731-424-2206

Mark Carter
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio
2846 Old Medina Rd. 
Jackson, Tn. 38305
Ph# 731-424-2206

WHAT is a Fish Cave & WHY do I need one? | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN

I recently did a blog titled – HOW TO DEAL WITH PREDATORS IN KOI PONDS where I covered several ways to combat Pond Predators – Like Blue Heron, Egrets, Raccoons, etc.

It was a very popular Blog! And it lead to several calls & conversations about this subject. The #1 question I discussed was ‘How-To’ make a Fish Cave aka; a KOI CAVE. So lets revisit this subject for a moment.

A  “Fish Cave or Koi Cave” is usually pre-designed and is normally part of the initial install of the Pond. It entails building a ledge or cave within the stone work of the pond walls to give the fish a place to hide from predators or to get out of hot sunlight for a while. Now if you already have a pond and want a fish cave – it’s really not a big problem! A fish cave is a common addition during your yearly Pond Clean-out. We add these quite often, so if your thinking you want to add a fish cave, it’s not a big deal.

This is an example of a “Koi Cave” that was pre-designed and built into the stone work. Beautiful as well as functional. | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN

For those that don’t want to go all the way with a Fish/Koi Cave, there is an easy add-on product that you can purchase and simply submerge in your Pond. It’s called a “Koi Castle”.

A Koi Castle is an easy to install protector for you pond fish. It will provide them cover from Pond Predators! We stock these at Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN

I think that pretty much covers what a Koi Cave is. Some are very elaborate and some are simply a big ledge rock but they all provide cover and protection for your ‘finned friends’! You are welcome to come by the nursery during business hours to see both of these products in action. We actually have Fish Caves in one of our display ponds as well as Koi Castles in 2 of our displays. They both work very well and have protected our fish for years.

Happy Pondering!

Mark Carter
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio
2846 Old Medina Rd.
Jackson, Tn. 38305
Ph# 731-424-2206

How to deal with Predators in Koi Ponds | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN
January 18, 2018, 12:23 pm
Filed under: Outdoor Lifestyles, water garden | Tags: , , ,

Have you ever looked out the window and seen a Blue Heron in your Water Garden? OH NO, my Koi! Or have you ever seen a dog, cat or raccoon harassing you Koi? You go out there and run them off… But, what happens when your gone and trouble comes knocking? What can I do to Protect my fishy friends?

A Blue Heron is major Predator of our Koi and pond fish! BUT, we can stop them from harming our ‘finned friends’.

The good news is most pond hobbyists will never have to deal with predators! BUT, IF you are attacked by a “Pond Predator”, there are things you can do to help!

#1 is a Fish Cave! This usually starts with the initial install of the Pond, building a ledge or cave within the stone work of the pond walls. If you already have a pond and want a fish cave – No Problem! A fish cave is an easy addition during your yearly cleanout.

If you want to do something right NOW, you can come by Carters Nursery & grab a ‘Koi Castle’ and install in about 1 minute 🙂

A koi castle is an easy to install protector for you pond fish. It will provide them cover from Pond Predators!

Another inexpensive way to protect your Koi is to use a motion-activated water sprayer system like a Scarecrow. A ‘Scarecrow’  will hit those heron with a timely jet spray of water. They are VERY effective! But can only be used when the temp’s are above freezing.

A scarecrow really works to run off Pond Predators like Heron, raccoons, unwanted pets, etc. We sell these at Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio in Jackson, TN. Call for info at 731-424-2206


You can also use a Heron or Alligator Decoy. I have sold hundreds of these and most say they work well.  They also look very attractive by the pond!

Alligator decoys look cool and can help keep Pond Predators at bay.
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN

Heron Decoys can really help to detour Pond Predators! They also look cool 🙂 We sell these at Carters Nursery in Jackson, TN

If your having problems with Pond Predators, I hope this article will help you! It’s an awful feeling to loose a Koi like this. The good thing is, with a little pre-planning and preparation you can almost assure that you and your fish will survive an encounter with a ‘Pond Predator’.

Happy Pondering!

Mark Carter
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio
2846 Old Medina Rd.
Jackson, Tn. 38305
Ph# 731-424-2206