When the leaves start falling from the trees it is essential to cover your pond with netting. Here Dan Everton describes the different types of pond netting that will prevent leaves having a detrimental effect on pond water and wildlife.
This guide will help you to maintain and revamp your pond during March which is a great month if the weather has picked up for getting out in the garden again.
As the temperature has begun to pick back up and get warmer it’s a great time to get back outside and start work on your pond. It is still early and you'll be out there before algae blooms begin and this is ideal for preparing the pond for the year ahead.
One of the most important jobs I would recommend to do is to replace your pond ultra violet lamp, this is because the UV output of the lamps will only last around 6-9 months of continuous use. The reason I don’t tell you to change it sooner than every 12 months is because it is only required when it’s very sunny outside as this is what creates green water, so during the winter you won't need a full strength lamp as algae rarely blooms during Winter in the UK. Please remember to never look at working UV lamps though as this will damage your eyes.
Whilst you are changing your pond UV lamp it’s also advisable to remove the quartz sleeve and give it a clean. This is the glass tube which covers over the lamp to stop water getting to it and causing damage. The reason that you should clean the quartz sleeve is because algae and lime scale can fuse onto it over time and if left untamed will coat the whole quartz preventing the ultra violet light from penetrating and killing green water algae.
A dirty quartz is also one of the most common cases of peoples UV clarifiers not clearing the pond, after a faulty or aged UV bulb. If the lime scale or algae cannot be removed, then it's best to purchase a replacement quartz sleeve.
As you are taking apart your UV unit or filter it would also be an ideal time to replace any seals, usually available in service kits or as seals kits, you want to replace these because over time they tend to become hardened and brittle, not doing their job and allowing water into the unit, damaging it which can prove much more costly than the price of a seal or pack of seals.
Divide up your marginal pond plants which have grown and become overcrowded, this will give them space to bloom this year with ease, and it’s also a good time to top the gravel on them back up to prevent fish from digging up the plants.
It’s also a good time to start buying your hessian liners, pond baskets and compost before they sell out at aquatic centre's when the busy season begins. Always try to prevent any compost from falling into the pond when you are planting pond plants, the fertilisers in compost will feed algae and it will bloom more than ever. Adding plants though will feed off this fertiliser and hopefully prevent the algae from feeding off it.
If you haven’t already, remove pond cover netting which has been used to prevent leaves falling into the pond, if you use a cover net year round to protect against predators then our advice would be to use a different one or purchase a new one, this is because of the cold weather during the winter may have made the netting become brittle. A brittle net will be useless against a relentless and patient predator like a Heron.
If the temperatures have picked up enough then you can start to feed your fish, if it's still slightly cold but the fish are eating then feed wheatgerm food as it is easier for them to digest than regular fish food. I also recommend that you feed them little and often at this time as opposed to a large feed once a day, this will get their digestive system used to eating again before you start feeding more per day.
Due to their digestive system shutting down or slowing down during the winter your fish will be weak and so will their immune system so it’s a good idea to dose the pond with tonic salt to give them a boost.
Read our March Gardening Jobs Guide.
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