A pond with an established culture and a natural balance between plant and animal life will require 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 wildlife friendly 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.
The best time to clean
ponds, is from winter through to early Spring when most pond life is less active.
Equipment you will need to clean a pond.
Container to keep the pondlife and any fish.
A pump to empty the pond.
A large container to save most of the pond water.
Buckets and a shovel to clear the silt and decaying pond plants.
A waterproof container to save most of the silt from the bottom, it will be home to a lot of the pondlife..
Spade and loppers to divide and trim overgrown plants, maybe a saw to divide plants like Irises with thick roots.
A brush to clean the water features.
Pond cleaning tips
Fill a suitable container with water from the pond to put the fish, oxygenating weed and deep water plants into
whilst you are cleaning out the pond. Marginal plants can be stored in old plant pots, buckets and washing up bowls etc. .
Pump the water from the
pond by disconnecting the hose from filters or water features and pointing it to a downward slope away from the pond. Even small ponds hold a lot of water. If
there's nowhere to drain the water to, without it running back into the pond or flooding borders or you don't have a pump. You may need to hire a pump with a long hose to drain the pond water
into drains. Removing the water manually with a bucket can take forever. Save as much of the water as you can for returning to the pond.
As the water level drops, remove fish with a net. Try not to disturb plants as this may muddy the water, making it
difficult to see and catch the fish.
Remove plants. Check all the fish have
been caught. One or two fish will hide in the silt and can be caught later when you scoop it out from the bottom, look out for them wriggling. Lift the pond plants out and place them
on the edge of the pond to allow smaller creatures to escape back into the pond, then into containers.
Put any larger pond life into the container. Providing there's cover in the
garden, frogs are best left to hop away, they will return to the pond when its finished.
When all plants and fish are safe, scoop up the silt with buckets. Silt is a great organic fertiliser for borders and vegetable plots.
keep a few buckets of silt and pond water to add back to the pond to help
re-establish tiny organisms.
Clean the liner. I don't scrub the liner, there 's no need too. Never use chemical cleaners or washing up liquid in a nature pond.
Bail the remaining dirty water out with a bucket.
Replant the pond plants and
position the marginal on the shelves, placing stones on the roots to stop them floating or slipping of the shelf.
Reconnect the pump to the water feature, It is a good idea to place the pump on bricks just off the bottom to stop it getting clogged
Important. Pour the saved silt
and pond water back into the pond and top up.
Check everything is working and the plants aren't floating.
Return the fish and any other creatures to the pond. The muddy water will clear within a few
Depending on how much silt and water was returned to
the pond, a cleaned out pond can take several months or even years to return to a balanced ecosystem. Don't go over the top, it's a pond not the kitchen