Although slightly disappointing at the moment, the summer may well heat up over August, and Dan Everton says this is a time when you must keep checking the health of your pond and aquatic plants.
This is my guide to pond blanketweed which is very common and it's likely that most experienced pond keepers will have come across this unsightly algae before.
Blanketweed is a hair like algae with long fibres, it grows and spreads fast in ponds and will take over if left to its own devices. It can be found growing under or on top of the water surface and will also cling to the sides of the pond. The problem is not only aesthetic either, blanketweed can be a problem for fish such as Sturgeon, tangling them up, and it can also deoxygenate your pond.
There are multiple causes of blanketweed, some of which are natural and others which are caused by ourselves, and can be avoided.
Ponds which are constantly in sunlight with no shading are likely to suffer massively. Sunlight will feed the algae just like regular plants and this can be a major problem as blanketweed can grow anywhere in your pond and has lots of surface area.
Fish stocking levels can affect algae in your pond and high amounts of fish with an inadequate filter means lots of fish waste in the pond, this feeds the blanketweed and allows it to thrive.
A build up of sludge and silt in your pond should also be avoided. It is caused by uneaten fish foods, fish waste, leaves and other debris sitting at the bottom of the pond and rotting. This rotting process releases nutrients that feed algae.
One of the most common causes of blanketweed and other algae is too much tap water being put into the pond. The chlorine contained in tap water can upset the balance of your pond, killing vital bacteria and feeding algae blooms at the same time.
Controlling blanketweed can be done through simply adjusting your pond set up and adding treatments. Firstly, you need to stop the growth, the best way to do this is by adding shade to your pond. You can add shade to a pond in a number of ways including adding floating ornaments such as artificial lilies.
For natural prevention of blanketweed you can use barley straw, placed at the base of a waterfall or fountain around Easter time for best results, removing it after approximately 6 months. Barley straw removes many of the nutrients that algae would otherwise feed off.
Removing the bulk of blanketweed by hand will also help your treatments. If your pond is quite small you may be able to use barley straw extract which will remove nutrients just as barley straw does.
A product that's received great customer reviews is Cloverleaf Blanket Answer. It's a natural enzyme and won't take oxygen out of the water, making it safe for use even during very hot summer weather. It's also completely plant and lily safe.
A it is a natural enzyme the treatment will stay in the pond for a period of time consuming any new strains of blanketweed that form.
Don't add soil into the pond unless using aquatic planting baskets as the fertilisers in soil can feed algae and cause blooms. If you vacuum your pond regularly this will also prevent a build up of sludge at the bottom. Any soil which has come out of baskets will be removed during this process too.
Netting the pond over the Autumn period stops any leaves falling into the pond, this will stop them from sinking to the bottom and rotting down, a major cause of silt.
You can read my Oase Pond Vacuums Review for more details on pond vacuums.
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