Clear up your pond this Autumn

Clear up your pond this Autumn

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

Tree leaves:

  • Begin to clear away any falling or rotting vegetation as soon as you see it.
  • Do not allow fallen tree leaves 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.
  •  Use a pond net to cover over the whole water area if your pond is under trees so no leaves can fall in but take care you do not trap frogs and hedgehogs in it.

Drooping leaf growth:

  • Cut down tatty stems and dying leaves of upright marginal plants to about 6" (15cm).
  • Do not cut below the predicted water level of Winter or the centre of the plant could freeze.
  • Check Pontederia (Pickerel Weed) plant clumps early in Autumn as their stalks contain cellulose which will give a slimy scum on the water surface if you allow them to fall into the water and decay.

Horizontal plant growth:

  • Remove brown leaves of waterlilies and any annual surface cover plants to open up the water to more light in Winter.
  • Check when you remove horizontally growing rafting plants that there are not pond creatures hiding inside by shaking the clumps
  • Leaving the clumps on the side may not be enough to release wildlife if the plants are well rooted in a mass.


  • 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!
  • If necessary 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 clearing up your pond will be very beneficial for your water quality next Spring.

For more details see our Tips and Advice pages.

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