With the days getting longer, and Spring cleaning sitting firmly at the top of your list, don’t forget to prepare your pond for the coming year. If you’ve got fish too, it is especially important to do some maintenance of your pond before we move into Spring and Summer.
Pond cleaning in Spring also means you get to clear out any debris or weeds before the Summer, preparing your pond space for optimal performance and results.
Follow these tips to prepare your pond for the Spring; and ensure your garden centrepiece remains a clean and vibrant place for the wildlife in your garden, not just a murky eyesore.
1. Prepare a holding tank for any fish or other pondlife
If you keep fish, or if there is frogspawn in your pond, take care to remove them to a holding tank. This can be done either with a clean fish tank, filled with some of the pond water.
Or, if you have larger fish, you may need to dig a small holding tank in your garden, ideally in a sheltered spot.
These holding tanks can also be used to keep your deep water pond plants happy. Marginal pond plants will be fine out of the water for a few hours so long as you keep them shaded and moist.
2. Remove weeds
Just like in your garden, you’ll need to take care of the weeds in your pond. Spring time is peak time for new growth, including algae and pond weeds, so make this a key part of your Spring pond cleaning.
Scoop any floating weeds or debris from the surface of your pond and remove other weeds from around the edge. You may need to use pond scissors to cut away dead plants or stubborn weeds.
Although you might want to get rid of these weeds immediately, it’s best to leave anything removed from your pond next to the site overnight. This allows any insects or animal life that previously called these plants home the chance to find a new space near your pond.
The next day, you can put these weeds and anything else cleared from your pond into your compost heap. Remember to dispose of garden waste responsibly, as certain species may cause ecological damage if disposed of in the wrong way.
3. Do you need to remove water from the pond?
There are two schools of thought when it comes to spring cleaning your pond. One is that a full water pump out makes it much easier to empty the sludge at the bottom and to manage the plants and weeds.
However, others feel that totally draining your pond is unnecessary and can be detrimental to the ecosystem and wildlife that call it home.
Both have a point, and your decision may depend on a number of factors, including:
- The overall health and state of your pond
- And, the size and depth of your pond
The case for pumping out pond water
Pumping the water from your pond is going to make cleaning it much easier, especially if you have a larger pond.
You can either rent a mechanical pump from your local garden centre, or you can buy one for under £100. There are options also for manual pumps, which are of course much cheaper, but save yourself the time and hassle and go for the automatic option.
As you are emptying the pond, you can collect any fish or wildlife and pop them in your holding tank.
It’s also a good idea to do maintenance on your pond plants at this stage too, deadheading them and diving them as needed.
Be sure to keep some pond water for when you refill the pond with clean water later.
The case for cleaning without pumping
If you clean without removing the water, you reduce the chance of damaging the wildlife and upsetting the balance of your pond.
It’s still a good idea to remove fish and other creatures before cleaning your pond, and storing them in a tank with some of the pond water.
Use a skimmer with a fine mesh to remove the bulk of the sludge from the bottom of the pond. Or, you can also use a pond vac which will make the whole process much simpler.
4. Managing your pond plants
The Spring is obviously when life starts to come back into your pond, but it’s a great time to do some maintenance on your plants. Take this opportunity to do a final prune, repot and introduce new pond plants to your pond.
As they’re in the water, which may still be cold, pond plants usually come to life when the sun comes out later in the season. If you’re repotting or introducing new plants into the pond, you may find this causes early algae bloom. Don’t worry too much as this should die down as the other pond plants come to life.
5. Cleaning the filter
If you have one, your pond filter will also need spring cleaning too. Remove it from the pond and clear any debris and build up from the system and clean any removable components.
Follow the cleaning instructions for your specific pump and if any parts need replacing, this is also a good time to do so.
6. Refilling your pond
If you’ve emptied your pond during cleaning, it’s a good idea to refill using rain water if possible. Tap water often contains treatment chemicals and chloramine, which can be damaging to the natural bacterias and wildlife in your pond.
If you don’t have stored rainwater, you can mix tap water with the saved pond water, but be sure to dechlorinate it first. There are chemicals such as liquid dechlorinators which you can use. The best (natural) way is to let your tap water stand for at least 24 hours before adding it back to the pond, and using a natural dechlorinator to remove the heavy chloramine from the water.
Now also might be an opportunity to place some Pond Clear in the pond as preventative measure against algae blooms.
And there you have it… Your pond is spring cleaned and ready to enjoy for the coming summer months.