Autumn is just around the corner, which means now can be a good time to start considering your autumn pond maintenance. Autumn generally brings with it cooler weather, changing and falling leaves, and slowing plant growth. A beautiful time of year, autumn is also a good time for doing a little preparation and getting your water feature ready for the cooler months to come.
Read on to learn a few tips on caring for your pond water feature this autumn.
Keep an eye out for leaves
As autumn kicks in and leaves start falling from trees, they can end up in ponds and water features. While a few leaves generally won't do any harm, having too many decaying in your pond can interfere with the ecosystem and cause a build-up of sludge. To mitigate this, keep an eye on the number of leaves falling into your pond and scoop them out when they begin to accumulate. If left for too long, leaves can sink to the bottom and be difficult to remove. Get into the habit of checking all waterfalls, moving parts, and jets at least once a week to ensure they are free of leaves that could cause a jam. If you've left your pond a little long between leaf removal and are noticing a sludge build-up, you might like to consider using pond treatment products such as Clear for Ponds or Pond Sludge Remover Packs.
Trim the plants
Autumn is a good time of year to trim up pond plants ahead of the winter cold. This can reduce the number of dead leaves and debris that ends up in your pond. If your feature has hardy marginal aquatic plants, now is the time to trim them back to assist your pond. Cut these plants back to around 5cm above the water's surface. You might also like to trim back any water lilies you plan to keep in the pond over winter. While tropical varieties may need to be moved indoors for the winter (depending on where you live), the leaves and stems of water lilies remaining in your pond can be cut back to around 5 to 8cm above the plant's base for the cooler months.
Don't overfeed fish
Autumn can still have some pretty warm days, and food that's left uneaten on the water's surface can eventually sink down and disrupt the ecosystem of your water feature. Leftover fish food can end up in your pond filter, and also provides nutrients for algae to feed on. Learn how much food your fish happily consume, and then only sprinkle in as much food as your fish will eat in three minutes. You should also feed fish in the same spot each time, so they learn where the food will be coming in and can quickly consume it. For more information on fish food choices, check out our article on Choosing the Best Fish Food for Your Pond.
Move your water lillies
Depending on where you live, you may need to consider relocating your water lilies for the winter. For cooler climates, hardy water lilies in pots can be moved into the deepest part of the pond during this time. Tropical water lilies should be moved indoors in areas that experience cooler winters and frosts. For warmer areas, you should be able to get by without relocating your water lilies, however, tropical water lilies will lose their leaves if left in the cold. Learn more about caring for your water lilies in our article on How to Care for Water Lilies and Other Pond Plants.
Consider a pond net
A pond net placed over the surface of your outdoor water feature prevents leaves from getting into the water. This means less time spent manually scooping out leaves. Too many leaves in a pond can also cause sludge build-up and unsightly water conditions. While these can generally be remedied with a pond treatment, putting preventative measures such as a pond net in place can save you time and money. At Aquascape Australia, we stock several different pond nets for ponds of varying sizes. These include the 2.1m x 3m Protective Pond Netting and the 4.2m x 6m Protective Pond Netting.