October is the time to clear up your pond. Autumn neglect will lead to problems next Spring.
There are 4 key points:
1. Remove tree leaves as they fall
2. Cut back tatty stems and drooping leaf growth of pond plants to 6″ (15cm) above water level
3. Remove horizontal plant growth across the water surface
4. Remove some silt from the pond base
1.Begin to clear away any falling or rotting vegetation as soon as you see it.
Fallen tree leaves should not be allowed to sink down into the water. Remove the leaves as frequently as possible with a dipping net and add them to the compost heap.
A heap of leaves behind the shed is an ideal place for amphibians to overwinter.
You could use a pond net to cover over the whole water area so no leaves can fall in but take care you do not trap frogs and hedgehogs in it.
2. Tatty stems and dying leaves of upright marginal plants should be cut down to about 6″ (15cm). Do not cut below the predicted water level of Winter or the centre of the plant could freeze.
Pontederia (Pickerel Weed) plant clumps, especially, should be checked early in Autumn as their stalks contain cellulose which leaves a slimy scum on the water surface if you allow them to fall into the water and decay.
3. Brown leaves of waterlilies should be removed along with any annual surface cover plants to open up the water to more light in Winter. Check when removing horizontally growing rafting plants that there are not pond creatures hiding inside by shaking the clumps (leaving them on the side may not be enough to release them).
4. If you regularly do points 1-3 above there should not be much silt on the base of your pond so this part should be easy! Use a net to drag across the base of the pond and lift some sludge away with that. You need to leave some silt to allow creatures to bury themselves in so no need to be paranoid.
Or use Mud Muncher – a liquid product that digests organic matter such as fish waste, fallen leaves and decaying plant matter. It helps eliminate odours and reduces the need to clean out ponds and filters by keeping the sludge levels down.
More time spent now will be very beneficial for your water quality next Spring.
For more details see our Tips and Advice pages.