Aquatic expert Dan Everton has this advice on how to maintain your pond during November, when the days are short, frost threatens and leaves are falling from the trees.
Dan Everton's guide to March Pond Maintenance will help you to maintain and reinvigorate your pond, bringing it back to life after the dormant winter months.
When temperatures begin to rise it’s a great time to get back outside and start work on your pond, preparing for the year ahead.
One of the most important jobs is to replace your pond ultra violet lamp, this is because the UV output only lasts for 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 the weather is very sunny as this is what creates green water. So during the winter you don't need a full strength lamp. Please remember to never look at working UV lamps 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 unattended will coat the whole quartz, reducing the effectiveness of the UV light.
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. A damaged unit 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 up the gravel 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 centres when the busy season begins. Always try to prevent any compost from falling into the pond when you are planting pond plants, the fertilizers in compost will feed algae and it will bloom more than ever.
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. Cold weather during the winter may have made the netting brittle and thus useless against a relentless and patient predator like a heron.
If it's still slightly cold but the fish are beginning to feed then offer them 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.
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.
Robert Hall, senior partner at GardenSite.co.uk has been elected to sit on the Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (GIMA) Judging Panel for 2017. The news was announced on 31st March 2017 on the GIMA website.
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