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My pond is mostly clean but should I do a fall cleanout? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A


Q: My pond is mostly clean but should I do a fall cleanout?

Q: My pond is mostly clean but should I do a fall cleanout?

Melanie – Ludlow, MA

A: Relax! Unless your pond really (and we mean really) needs it, we don’t recommend doing a total fall cleanout. Doing so would stress your fish out and compromise their health. Any amount of cleanliness you’ll achieve is just not worth the risk.

Instead, here’s a four-step to-do list to prepare your pond for fall:

  1. Get Your Plants in Shape: After the first frost, remove dead foliage from you aquatic plants, trim them back and sink them in the bottom of your pond to protect them from the cold temperatures. If you have tropical water lilies or other temperature-sensitive varieties, make room for them inside your garage or another place that will not freeze.
  2. Remove Algae: If you have a stream or waterfall in your pond, remove any algae or debris with CrystalClear® Algae-Off®, which vaporizes string algae, and Pond Logic® Oxy-Lift™ Defense®, which foams up and lifts debris from surfaces. These oxygen-based products are safe for use around plants and fish.
  3. Clean Up Debris: Using a brush and net, like those included with The Pond Guy® 3-in-1 Pond Tool, scrub down your rocks and liner and net out as much decaying debris as possible. Then use a vacuum, like The Pond Guy® ClearVac™, to suck up whatever’s left. This will minimize the amount of algae-feeding muck decomposing in the pond throughout the winter.
  4. Treat with Beneficial Bacteria: Finally, continue to treat your water garden with muck-munching beneficial bacteria until water temperatures dip to 50° Fahrenheit. Once the water is below 50°F, switch to Seasonal Defense® to continue breaking down any remaining debris. It’s formulated for use during the cooler months.

With these chores completed, your pond will be in good shape going into winter. Until then, relax and enjoy the fall colors and changing season!

Pond Talk: What do you do to prepare your pond for winter?

Make Fall Maintenance Quick and Easy - The Pond Guy(r) ClearVac(tm) Pond Vacuum

2 Responses

  1. I need information on how to get my ponds ready for winter, in order to keep our FROGS alive. We have no fish, but many frogs and tadpoles. Last year, in the spring we found 14+ floating on top of the water when it thawed in the spring, plus many were in our skimmer box(,expired).I had heaters in both ponds, but not an aerator. There is a 90% Parrots feather plant covering both ponds right now. Should I remove that? My husband thought that the frogs may have gotten caught in the floating plants and their roots last winter.

    • Hi Sherry – Some leaves and debris should remain in the pond. This will allow the frogs to bury themselves in the pond. The Parrots Feather should be mostly removed from the pond, otherwise, it will start to die off and decompose, leaving very little oxygen available for the tadpoles and frogs that remain in the pond. You should also get an aerator to help bring oxygen into the pond, in addition to the deicers. Over the next few weeks, you should check your skimmer to ensure no frogs have entered the skimmer box.

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