A pond with an established culture and a natural balance between plant and animal life will need less attention than one where there isn’t, but even nature ponds need maintenance to ensure they remain healthy. Here are a few tips to help maintain your pond through the seasons.
Small ponds need cleaning about every five years, large ponds about every 10 years.
Natural ponds and man-made ponds designed and built to attract and sustain wildlife should not be cleaned to often and never completely cleaned out at all. It can take years to develop a balanced ecosystem and just a day to destroy it. It's a fine balance between cleaning a pond and ruining it.
Equipment you will need to clear out a pond.
Pond cleaning tips
Things to do in autumn and winter.
Use a net to sweep leaves from the surface of your pond to keep the water free of decaying vegetation.
Remove dead leaves from marginal plants to stop them falling over and decaying below the surface.
Prune back the excess growth of surface and submerged plants so that plenty of light can get through to deeper plants in your pond to allow them to continue to photosynthesize and replenish oxygen levels.
Looking after garden ponds in winter.
Continue to remove dead leaves and any other debris from the surface of your pond.
Dead head marginal plants, in the same way you do with garden plants, to encourage new growth and allow for bigger and brighter blooms of flowers.
If you can, move new plants that are planted in baskets, like lilies towards the deepest part of the pond to prevent their tubers freezing. Established plants that are more than two years old, have obviously survived a couple of winters and can be left alone.
Fish are less active in winter as the temperatures drop and need less food, gradually reducing until stopping feeding altogether when the temperature drops below 10 C (50F). To much fish food is one of the main reason for the growth of algae.
It is important to keep your pond from freezing over, if the surface remains frozen for more than a few days it causes a buildup of gases and the oxygen levels to drop, killing your pond-life and fish. A frozen pond will also cut of the supply of drinking water for birds and other garden wildlife.
if you have a pump leave it on, the water movement will help keep an area free of ice and circulate the water helping keep up oxygen levels.
If you don't have a pump running keep a hole open in the ice by pouring on boiling water from a kettle, or if the ice isn't too thick poke holes in the ice with a broom handle or sharp stick, another way is to use one of the small floating pond-heating units.
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