March is the right time of the year to start preparing your pond. Click here for more information on what you should be doing.
With Britain experiencing some severe weather conditions over the past few weeks, the summer months may seem a long way off. However, this stage in the pond calendar is all about preparing for our warmer months when your pond will see the most activity.
March is the perfect time of the year to prepare your pond for the summer; the weather is starting to get warmer and that means you can start to prepare your pond for the summer months. This means checking on your fish, any wildlife that you may have in your pond and garden, dusting off equipment that has been in storage, sorting out the chemical balance of your pond and pruning any plants ready for the warmer weather.
It’s an ideal time to repair any faults in your liner and make any adjustments. We offer a selection of pond repair kits should you need to patch any holes. We also have a guide on this; see our Pond Liner Guarantees and Repairs blog.
These steps should get your pond off to a great start to the new season so you can reap the benefits during the long warm summer days.
We get regularly asked this time of the year; when should people start feeding their fish? It is a difficult question to answer because it depends upon your pond’s location and your area. As the temperature rises, you should see your fish come to the surface of the pond looking for food. But this could happen at very different times based on if your pond is in shade, if its in direct sunlight or if you are in the south of the UK or up in the north.
If you are beginning to feed fish, it is best if you feed them a little but often. This helps to prevent excess fish food decaying and leading to unwanted blooms of algae.
March is also the start of the year for frog and toad spawning; frogs generally breed first, laying clumps of jelly-like spawn at the edge of the pond. After this, toads will start to breed, though they normally spawn in larger ponds or head back to an ‘ancestral’ pond.
You may also find the occasional hedgehog venturing into your garden; if you do not have a gentle slope leading in and out of the pond, be on the look out for a hedgehog that has entered the pond. You may also want to leave some food out; they enjoy water to drink, and meat-based cat/dog food.
Often, pondkeepers put away their equipment over winter. It might be their pumps, filters, or any water features. It is now the perfect time to start having a look at them.
The first thing you should do is to dust the strainer cages of your pumps. These can accumulate a lot of dust and you do not want this going into your pond and affecting your water. After this, open the strainer cage and dust the inside with some pond water; even open the impeller chamber and check the impeller and how it spins. Remember, if the impeller spins without resistance, it could be faulty, or the flow rate could be reduced! You can read more on our pump maintenance blog.
You will also want to brush and polish any outdoor features; these could be frog spitters or a waterfall kit. You should clean these out with some pond water and make sure there are no blockages. Making them ready to be plugged in and used once again. They may have accumulated green and brown algae over them; its time to clean the algae and get the features looking brand new. You do not need any particular cleaning agent, just good old elbow grease.
At this point in the year, depending on the local temperature, you should remove any pool heaters and cover nets; it is unlikely you will need this as they are used to keep your pond warm enough to prevent ice from forming and to prevent autumnal leaves from entering the pond.
If your filter has been turned off over the winter then now would be an ideal time to turn it back on to check the UV bulb for any running problems. If your filter has been running throughout the winter then now would be a good time to give it an ‘MOT’ style check; clean sponges (in pond water), back flush sludge and check your UV bulb. Remember to take care with your O-rings when changing a bulb or opening a unit. You may find this link to our filter accessories page useful if you need to replenish.
If you have not done so during winter, it is time to test your pond with either the Tetra 6-in-1 Test Kit or the Blagdon Pond Health Test Kit. These will measure the various chemicals in your water, and they come with a handy guide on how to interpret the results. You can also see more in our Water Quality guide. To help bring your pond back into balance, the PondXpert Gel Balls are very useful at managing the Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates in your pond along with clarifying the water.
You may also want to add some Barley Straw into your pond. As the straw decays, it releases a natural chemical which can hep prevent algae blooms. It normally starts working a month after putting the straw into the pond. While it may look messy, you can resolve this by tying the barley straw together into clumps or use a drawstring mesh bag to control their location.
An essential task for this time of the year is to clean out any sludge and debris that has formed over the winter. However, you must wait until your fish are out of hibernation as this would disturb the warmer water at the deepest part of the pond where they will be living. Cleaning the sludge and debris will help to keep blanket weed and water quality problems at bay as the temperature starts to increase.
March time is the right time to keep an eye on your pond. It is a largely preparatory time of the year, prepping your pond for the summer months. This includes checking up on any plants you have in your bog garden, planting baskets or around your waterfall.
As you check each plant, make sure you check the plant at the base, as you may find little weed seedlings growing out of sight. Gently dig around the weed and remove them by hand, being careful to avoid damaging your plant!
You will also want to continue pruning your plants, both underwater and around the pond. Underwater plants, when they grow too large, can suck up too much oxygen at night-time which may have a negative effect on your fish. Overwater plants may grow too big and cause withered leaves to enter the pond and decay; this can harm your waters ecology as these decaying leaves will form sludge.
You may even find your garden playing host to both slugs and snails; be on the lookout for any slime trails that may lead to the culprit. Whether you find these good or bad (see our Pond Snails blog), it is best to remove them when you see them. This is to keep a control on the population in your garden to prevent your garden from being overrun by slugs or snails, as they can damage your plants.
For many of your pond plants spring time is the ideal time to spilt them. The RHS website has a really useful guide for this. It is also a good time to consider repotting your plants if they have out grown your existing pots. Our guide on how to repot a pond plant may help you with this. Plants can often decline if they are left in plant pots that are too small.
If you need any further assistance, please contact us.