Clear up your pond this Autumn

Clear up your pond this Autumn

October or November is the time to maintain your pond. Neglecting this job in Autumn will lead to algae and blanketweed problems next Spring. Begin to clear your pond of surplus plant growth before it gets too cold.

4 key points in clearing up a pond:

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. Reduce horizontal plant growth across the water surface

4. Remove some silt from the pond base

1. 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.

2. Clearing up drooping tall plant growth:

  • Cut down tatty stems and dying leaves of upright marginal plants to about 15cm/6" above water level.
  • Do not cut below the predicted water level of Winter or the centre of the plant could freeze and the plant could die.
  • Leave leaf growth on Cyperus involucratus  Eriophorum angustifolium Equisetum scirpoides Juncus ensifolius Typha minima without cutting back overwinter.
  • Cut back browning or tatty leaves on Iris plants to 15cm/6" above water level but leave any short, central leaf as this is the start for next season's growth.
  • Check Pontederia (Pickerel Weed) plant clumps early in Autumn. Their stalks contain cellulose which will give a slimy scum on the water surface if they fall into the water.

3. Horizontal plant growth:

  • Remove brown leaves  & stems on waterlilies and any annual surface cover plants to open up the water to more light in Winter.
  • Reduce the spread of horizontally growing rafting plant stems if you want to control them.
  • Check when you reduce rafting plant stems that there are no pond creatures hiding inside.
  • Do not just leave clumps on the side. Creatures may not be get out if the plants are well rooted or in a twisted mass.
  • Unravel, open out and shake plants over the water.
  • Use long pond gloves to help keep your hands and arms clean and dry while working.
  • 2 hand sizes available - Small hand size (approx size 8) and a larger hand size (approx size 10 glove size)
  • No excuses!

4. Silt:

  • If you regularly do points 1-3 above there should not be much silt on the base of your pond to clear up 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. Check it for wildlife.
  • 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.

Oxygenating plants

  • Leave all oxygenating plants in the pond over Winter and do not thin out until Spring.

Spend more time now & clear up your pond and you will have fewer problems with blanketweed and water quality next Spring.

See our Tips and Advice pages for more advice on The look of your pond plants in Autumn and Autumn - Maintain and clean your pond.

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