If you need to do major works like fixing a leak, you might want to wait till later in the Autumn, in order to clean this year's fallen leaves at the same time, but there is a good reason for clearing back some vegetation now. Now is the time when the bacterial process of rotting vegetation can combine with warmer water and rapidly reduce oxygen levels; making the water inhospitable for the likes of water beetles, dragonfly nymphs and sticklebacks.
Its a fine balance though.... don't get too carried away.... Follow these hints to ensure wildlife continues to thrive.
Always leave an area undisturbed and ideally always leave a section of each zone: sludge/bottom, shelf, emergent/reed, marsh etc.
Even old dead surrounding vegetation will have some overwintering eggs and will provide shelter for lacewings and other beneficial insects.
Retain as much original water as possible and top up with rain water or tap water that has been left to stand for a few days.
Try to disturb the bottom as little as possible, as this can also cause a reduction in oxygen
If you have protected species in your pond, such as Great Crested Newts, you should seek further advice at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/natural-england#org-contacts before maintaining your pond.
Leave cut or dredged material by the pond for 24 hours to allow mini-beasts a chance to return home. The sludge and green waste makes great compost, if dried up with shredded paper or card
If you have children, they can help identify what's lurking in the mud, with these great id charts
It is also a good time to evaluate how well the pond is achieving its objectives:
- Can wildlife access the pond?
- Which plants grow well, or grow too well?
- Is there food and shelter on land near the pond, for newts and other herptiles?
- Are the edges safe for hedgehogs and birds, and children!?
Happy pond dipping