Ten minutes each week is all you need to keep your pond in great shape over the summer months.
Prevent your garden pond drying out
Unless it rains all summer long (fingers crossed it doesn't), the level in garden ponds will drop during windy or hot weather as the water evaporates, leading to a reduced surface area and less oxygen that is available for fish.
To keep your pool healthy, top up once a week (if necessary) with rainwater siphoned from a butt.
Alternatively, use water from the mains - if you keep fish, add this more often, in smaller amounts, as water direct from the tap is cold and can give the livestock in your pond a nasty shock. You could also leave a bucket of water to stand in a sunny place to warm it up, which will also allow chlorine to evaporate.
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How to clean your garden pond
Tidying up pond plants
Dead, dying or diseased leaves of pond plants can rot and discolour the water in your pond. Although you should not have to carry out much trimming during the summer, spend five minutes each week removing fading flowers or yellowing leaves from marginal plants, along with any tatty lily pads floating on the surface.
Submerged oxygenating plants will grow wildly over summer. Prevent them completely swamping your pond by pulling up a few handfuls. Leave the clumps on the edge of the pond overnight so any aquatic wildlife can crawl back into the pond, then put the debris on the compost heap.
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Blanket weed and duck weed
Removing pond weeds
Keep the surface of ponds clean by removing floating weeds.
Use a net to scoop out mats of tiny-leaved duck weed and twirl hair-like blanket weed from the surface with a stick or garden cane - but before you put the weeds on the compost heap, place them next to the edge of the pond for a night so any creatures you have removed with the weeds can return to the water.
After removing floating weeds, check around the edge of the pond and among marginal plants for any traditional garden weeds and tug them out.
Dealing with algae
There are hundreds of different types of algae that can cause problems in ponds, from those that cause a ‘pea soup’ type effect in the water, to others that form a dense mat of growth on the surface.
Tap water is rich in nutrients that benefit algae, so you can reduce their spread by using rainwater to top up ponds and by adding a UV clarifier gadget – this causes algae to clump to together and makes it easier for pond filtering devices to remove them.
Garden centres and aquatic nurseries sell algaecides, which can be applied to ponds to clear up algae. However, these should be considered a quick fix, rather than a long term solution. To prevent problems, ensure ponds are built in partially shaded areas (rather than full sun) and plant well with a mixture of marginal, floating and submerged aquatic plants.
Barley straw can also help keep ponds clear and is available both as a liquid extract and as solid floating bales.
Be safe. Near water, young children need adult supervision at all times. If you have grandchildren in your garden regularly you could consider placing a rigid grill over it to prevent them falling in. Please visit the RoSPA website for more information on pond safety.
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