It is our belief that the less you do manually to a pond the better;. Get the right equipment, and it should generally look after itself. However, there is a minimum amount of Autumn maintenance that needs to be done before the Winter hibernation starts.
Cut back any dead foliage from deep water plants such as lilies, emergent plants such as rushes and reeds and marginal plants such as Iris and Marsh Marigolds. Re-pot or divide any overgrown marginal plants every two to three years. Add a plant food stick to keep nutrients going into the roots.
Although surrounding trees give much needed shade in the Summer, the downside is that their leaves fall into the pond in Autumn. Leaves and debris turns into sludge as they decompose. A small amount of sludge is beneficial as it contains eggs, grubs and insect larvae, but an excess of sludge will only encourage blanket weed to thrive, and could lead to an ammonia build up.
Clean out the sludge now with a pondvac - we have manual and eletric versions, which make pond cleaning easier. Alternatively you can use a sludge busting product, available instore.
Netting the pond will go a long way toward reducing the amount of future sludge. Use a net float instead of traditional netting as a heron deterrent - this floats on the pond surface and is almost invisible to the eye.
If your pond has sprung a leak, you will have no alternative but to drain the pond, repair the leak and refill the pond. Try to save the pond water as it contains beneficial life. If you do need to top-up with tap water, do add a water conditioner to remove harmful chlorine.
Once the water temperature has dropped to below 10 degrees you need to switch from your normal food to a good quality wheatgerm food. A wheat germ-based diet is designed to transition your pond fish from eating a high-protein, high-energy diet which they enjoy throughout the Summer to fuel their active underwater lifestyles – to their annual Wintertime fast, when they enter into a period of low metabolic activity. Use a pond thermometer to keep an eye on pond temperatures - when it drops below 4 degrees, stop feeding until it warms up above 4 degrees again.
Do Autumn maintenance now before the Winter hibernation starts. Frogs will return to the pond in Autumn to see out the Winter. Oxygen levels will rise as the water temperature drops. Once the water temperature falls to below 4 degrees celsius, fish will hibernate on the bottom of the pond.
It is always advisable to give your pump and filter a once over before the Winter sets in. Change filter foams if needed. You will need to leave your system running throughout the Winter to maintain water quality in your pond.
WINTER SURVIVAL = POND HEATERS
It is a great idea to install a pond heater now to prevent your pond freezing in the winter. If the pond freezes over completely there is nowhere for toxic gases to escape, and this could kill your fish. Never break ice as the shock-waves can also kill fish. Get prepared, and buy a pond heater now.
ASK US FOR ADVICE
If you need any further advice, please come and see us, and our friendly team will be happy to help.