Why should you maintain and clean the pond?
Answer: To avoid algae and blanketweed growth next Spring.
Maintenance of the pond every Autumn:
- Net the pond to stop tree leaves falling into the pond water
- Remove any tree leaves that reach the water with a dipping net while still on the surface
- Cut back most upright marginal plant vegetation to 15cm (6") above the Winter water level
- Exceptions that should not be cut back are Cyperus involucratus, Eriophorum angustifolium, Equisetum scirpoides, Typha minima
- Reduce low growing foliage - old waterlily leaves and long stems from rafting plants
- Remove small amounts of accumulated silt by dragging a fine mesh net over the pond base.
- Do not allow a compost heap to build up on the base.
- Remove all dying plant growth to avoid rotting in Winter
- You will get less algae bloom and blanketweed next Spring.
- Tidy the pond and remove excess plant growth. Reduce clump size of rafting stemmed plants.
- This allows maximum amounts of light to pass through the water to the submerged oxygenating plants in Winter.
- Leave all oxygenating plants in the pond in Autumn.
Maintain and clean the pond little and often.
See below an 8ftx8ft pond: Photo after one seasons growth on LHS and after pond clean & cutting back in Autumn on RHS.
Take special care as you maintain and clean the pond out in Autumn:
- Be aware of any banned invasive plants in your pond.
- Check out our images on the Banned invasive pond plants page to identify all banned plants.
- Compost these carefully and never throw into natural waterways.
A sign of a pond in need of extra attention is its smell:
- This pond will have had leaves or excess fish food sink to the base of the pond
- This smell comes from the layer of silt/sludge at the bottom of the pond and is caused by the incomplete rotting of vegetation due to the lack of oxygen (anaerobic).
- If there is not enough oxygen in the water the rotting process (the Nitrogen Cycle) cannot complete resulting in the production of other gases - methane and hydrogen sulphide (the smell of rotten eggs) which are noxious to fish and other living organisms.
To clean some of the pond base in Autumn:
- Remove the thick silt layer
- In a small pond use a fine, flat edged dipping net which you can drag cross the base of the pond and lift any silt into a wheelbarrow for redistribution on the veg patch as a good source of nutrients.
- Some silt left will be a source of nutrient for waterlilies next year.
- 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 other overwintering creatures like Great Diving Beetles.
- We recommend you net across one half of the pond floor one year and the other half the following year.
Alternatively, use Mud Muncher.
- An environmentally friendly solution to the build up of sludge and mud in ponds.
- A blend of live bacteria that contains no herbicides or pesticides.
- It digest organic matter such as fish waste, fallen leaves and decaying plant matter, which causes the build up of sludge.
- Helps eliminate odours and reduces the need to clean out ponds and filters.
- Safe for fish, wildlife, pets and plants in the pond.
Major pond clean out:
- Do any one-off clean out or overhaul an old, neglected pond in Autumn
- Less wildlife species are in the water at that time of year.
- Be vigilant to check and replace any creatures that are removed from the water accidentally.
- Remove overgrown plants and decide how much of the clump should go back
- Would that plant benefit from being divided and potted into more than one basket?
- Keep as much mature water as possible in clean dustbins to replace back into the pond after the clean out
- Top up with rainwater over Winter if possible.
Other Autumn pond tasks:
- Place any Half Hardy and Non Hardy plants into a greenhouse for protection.
- Place all waterlilies low enough in the water to be below any expected ice level in your area.
- Check any plants for duckweed and wash them clean before replacing them in the pond.
- Check for leaks or splits and weak spots in the pond liner and mend or add a patch of pond liner with waterproof adhesive
Spend more time now and see beneficial results next Spring.
- Useful long armed pond gloves to clean and maintain the pond in Autumn
- Cover the entire hand and arm in waterproof materials
- Available in 2 sizes for both the smaller and medium/large hand size - there will be a pair to suit everyone!
- No excuses! Clean out your pond now.
For related products - see below: