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Caring for Ponds and Aquatic Plants

Posted on 25th April 2016

Ponds are a super addition to any garden, they enrich the environment by adding diversity to your

planting, bring wildlife and biodiversity and add depth by reflecting light and moving water will also

add sound. However, if not cared for a pond can quickly become messy and even murky and smelly

so it is important to carry out regular maintenance at the right time of the year.

It can be tricky to find the best time to care for your pond and aquatic plants especially if you have

any fish or amphibians living in the water. Ideally you should avoid the breeding season (mid spring to

early summer) but also you need to be careful about disturbing the silt at the bottom of the pond

during the hibernation season which runs from autumn to mid spring. If you have any rare and

protected species such as the Great Crested Newt then it is important to get advice on when you are

allowed to disturb their environment.

It is always best to choose suitable plants for the size of your pond but many aquatic and marginal

plants grow quickly in the nutrient rich water and will soon need to have some care. Most aquatic

and marginal plants are herbaceous perennials and will benefit from the same sort of care that you

give to ordinary herbaceous perennials.

Cutting back in late summer/early autumn will prevent too much aquatic plant debris from sinking to

the bottom of the pond and every three or four years you may need to divide your plants if they

have become rather large. This can be carried out in early autumn if you have frogs and newts in

your pond or in spring if you are sure that you do not have any amphibious aquatic life. It is

important not to disturb the pond in their breeding season. The eggs and young tadpoles should be

left to develop and any essential spring maintenance will need to wait until after they have gone

through their metamorphosis and are able to survive out of the water.

If you need to empty your pond to repair or replace the liner, mid-summer to early autumn will

impact on pond life the least severely. You should take care of any creatures that you find in your

pond and keep them in an ample bucket in pond water during any treatment so that you can return

them safely afterwards. You can use a pump to empty the pond but a bucket will suffice on a small

body of water. The water will be rich in nutrients so use it on your garden! Any pond weed, debris or

cut back plant material should be left by the side of the pond for a few days so that any pond

creatures lurking within it can find their way back into the pond. Keep back a little pond water to

activate the fresh water that you need to refill with.

After repairing or replacing the liner you need to get your ecosystem going again as soon as possible.

Fill the pond with rainwater if possible, tap water contains too much chlorine and can be toxic for

aquatic life so if this is your only option then you should leave it in buckets to stand for several days

before adding or use an Aloe based water dechlorinator. Either way you should also add Some of the

old pond water back into the pond and return any pond life and aquatic plants.