After the recent spell of hot weather, David Coton was glad to see the recent rain freshening up the Garden Centre and he has these suggestions for some of the jobs that need to be done during August.
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 rapidly grows and spreads in ponds with crystal clear water becoming choked with what can only be described as green gunk.
Found growing under or on top of the water surface, blanketweed will also cling to the sides of the pond. The problem is not only aesthetic, as blanketweed removes oxygen from the water and can be detrimental to any pond life
A combination of warm water, sunlight, and nutrients from decomposing organic matter, provide the ideal conditions for the growth of algae while poor filtration and shallow water make matters worse.
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.
Preventative measures can be taken. Your pond may be positioned where leaves collect in the autumn, so either relocate the pond or use netting to prevent them entering the water.
Shade is important, make sure that plants such as water lilies cover 50% of the water surface, but don't forget to collect the dying foliage of aquatic plants before it falls to the bottom.
Ideally the water should be 3- 4ft deep and not overstocked with fish. To prevent the build up of nutrients, make sure that filtration is adequate and well maintained.
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.
GardenSite sell a wide range of Blanket Weed Treatments and Remedies, but first you have to clear as much blanket weed as you can using a net or a stick.
Barley straw is a proven remedy and is best placed at the base of a waterfall or fountain around Easter time. You'll need approximately 2oz of straw to 10sq ft of surface area (50gms for every sq metre) and, as it breaks down, a chemical is released that inhibits the growth of the algae.
Pre-packed straw is available, alternatively fill some net sacking or even an old pair of tights and weigh them down with a stone. The effect can take over a month to begin, and the straw will need to be replaced every six months. If your pond is quite small you may be able to use barley straw extract.
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 to use even during very hot summer weather. It's also completely plant and lily safe, and the treatment will stay in the pond for a period of time consuming any new strains of blanketweed that form.
At GLEE this year David Coton visited the VegTrug stand to find out how their specially designed space saving planters can encourage us to grow more of our own food without the use of pesticides.
Forest have been making high quality timber garden products for over half a century and at GLEE David Coton had the chance to see their brand new storage range that has recently been launched.
Everyone should be serious about encouraging wildlife, and whether you focus on pollinating bees, pest devouring birds or slug eating hedgehogs, David Hall has been looking at the products that Wildlife World design and manufacture to aid their conservation.
This week Robert Hall has been to the Glee Garden Trade show at the NEC in Birmingham and has reviewed the new Lotus Wheelie Bin Store; Metal Garages, Bicycle Store; Sheds and Workshops and more...