Summer is drawing to an end and the signs of change are all around us. If you have a pond in your garden, now is the time to take action and do a bit of pond maintenance, if needed! So, you’ve been marvelling at all the wildlife making the most of your pond, some are more easy to see than others, but there’s a whole ecosystem going on in there. We often get asked how to encourage more birds into people’s gardens. Supplying water is just as important as providing food, whether it’s a shallow dish on the ground, a birdbath or a pond. Water will also encourage a whole host of other wildlife into your garden, so don’t think it’s only the birds and the fish that will benefit from all your labours.

The best time to do some pond maintenance is in late September and October. Tadpoles should have left the pond by now and other adult amphibians have not yet gone into hibernation. Avoid doing any pond maintenance in the winter as this will disturb hibernating amphibians and expose them to the cold.


Planting Yellow Flag Iris - David Levenson (

  • Remove any blanket weed; this can cover the pond surface in warmer weather. If your pond is new, it can take a few years to settle down, but once it’s established the wildlife in the pond should keep the blanket weed under control
  • Plants can quickly take over a pond, so thin them out carefully. Having plants in aquatic baskets can make this job a bit easier, as it can control the amount of growth and make then easier to control
  • It’s very important that any vegetation you remove from the pond is placed on the edges for a few days. This will allow any wildlife to make its way back into the pond. After a few days you can compost the vegetation you’ve removed
  • Only clear a third of your pond at a time. This will allow areas to stay established while newer areas settle down. In this way you will develop a rotation for the pond
  • Don’t be too concerned if the water level has dropped during the summer. If your pond requires topping up try to use rainwater as tap water is higher in nutrients and can cause algal blooms to increase
  • If the water conditions are right in your pond, you shouldn’t have too many problems. Ponds which are overstocked with fish can have problems as the fish will increase the nutrient levels. Long, hot spells and calm water can also have a detrimental effect.      Installing a pump and a simple water feature can help keep the water moving, but the most important factor is not allowing the water level to drop too low.
  • You can reduce the amount of algae in the water by using barley straw. A chemical reaction between the straw and algae slows algae growth, allowing established algae to die off naturally. The straw needs to be packed in net bags and floated on the surface of the water. Plastic water bottles tied to the net will help to keep it on the surface and enable the water and algae to pass through it. You need at least 10g per square metre of surface area (approximately 0.5oz per square yard). If the algae bloom is particularly bad you can increase to 25g per square metre and reduce the amount as the algae diminishes
  • Remember, if your pond is fine you don’t have to do any maintenance. Any removal of plants will cause disturbance, so whatever work you need to do, try to keep it to a minimum 

If you want to create a wildlife pond or improve the one you have, there is more information on our website (see link below). You could also add a purpose built home to the edge of your pond to help the frogs and toads in your garden too (see links below).