Pond clean up - stage 3:
This is the best time of year to remove some of the silt or sludge at the bottom of the pond caused by accumulated plant debris dropping to the pond floor. If you have had Frogbit - Hydrocharis morsus ranae in your pond this Summer please check back to our recent post and make sure you rescue some before carrying on with this task.
Drag a fine mesh dipping net across the bottom and lift the silt out. Check the net for creatures that need to be replaced in the water but most wildlife will have left the pond for a Winter on land.
Do not be paranoid - you do not need to remove all the silt - look out for dragonfly and damselfly larvae using it as a hiding place and for some overwintering creatures like Great Diving Beetles. Some silt will also be a source of nutrient for waterlilies next year. Too much sludge and silt can cause a reduction in oxygen in the pond over Winter.
The aim is to stop this layer building up to a number of inches thick and becoming a smelly area that needs major attending to and the removal of all the pond water.
If you regularly remove leaves and vegetation from your pond and do not allow a compost heap to build up on the base then you will be able to avoid a total clear out of the pond water for many years.
Little and often is the motto with pond maintenance.