how can I clean my pond without hurting wildlife?

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how can I clean my pond without hurting wildlife?

Post by grangerwhitson on Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:56 am

We have had a small wildlife pond in our garden for about 10 years, and now the lilies and aquatic plants have outgrown their baskets. My husband and I agree that while we are sorting out the aquatics, we need to give the pond a “spring clean”, but can’t agree on how far to take things. He would like to clean out the pond and remove all the sludge, but I am worried about the newts, snails, water boatmen and so on.

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Re: how can I clean my pond without hurting wildlife?

Post by johncoady on Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:26 am

All ponds need regular maintenance to prevent them silting up and turning into bog gardens.Small ponds need a complete overhaul to remove debris every five years, while large ponds need thorough cleaning every 10 years.
The best time to clean ponds is in late autumn when many creatures are less active.
Start by preparing a holding tank in a shady spot for fish and deep water plants; use some pond water in the tank, unless it is particularly cloudy. Marginal (water’s edge) plants will survive out of the pond as long as they are kept moist and shaded
The easiest way to drain the pond is to use a pump, which can be rented for the day from a machinery hire shop
As the water level falls, remove fish as they become visible
Remove plants as the water levels drops, placing them in the holding tank. Take the opportunity to re-pot or divide plants if necessary
If you find any, put larger pond creatures into the holding tanks
Place decaying plant material on the side of the pond, so any smaller creatures hidden away can return to the pond
Scoop up the silt from the base. You can use this on your border, but retain a little to add back to the pond as it will help re-establish tiny organisms
Clean the liner with a scrubbing brush and water, bailing the dirty water out with a bucket
Return the saved silt and any saved pond water. Next, refill with water (rain water if possible), positioning pond plants as you go
Finish by returning the fish and any other creatures
After cleaning out the pond, it can take several months or years to return to a balanced ecosystem.

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