Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The first monthly clean for the pond

I've been waiting for the beautiful sunny weather we've enjoyed in South Wales since Easter to warm the pond enough for me to venture in.

It needed a clean but I'm too often indecisive about this. It never seems the right time.

Earlier in the year in was full of frogspawn (eventually) and tadpoles. Besides it was too cold. In a few weeks' time I'll be worried about disturbing the dragonfly nymphs before thy climb up the reeds and other foliage to burst into their wonderful winged form.

In the summer, of course, they are laying their eggs in the pond - on it's sides, on leaf-litter and foliage - and then it's autumn and new nymphs will be swimming around ... and then it's too cold again.

So I've decided to try a different approach. Having given it a pretty good clean last autumn, I went in this time, on April 12th, to just clear the returning blanket weed (Chlamydomonas, Chlorella & Euglena species) and duck weed (Lemna minuta, L. gibba and L. minor) and the leaf debris from oak leaves blown in from around the pond sides and marginal vegetation that had died back over the winter.

The blanket weed is algae and very fine but I have a lightly sprung plastic tined grass rake which picks it up quite easily, I could even ick it up in my hand s and gently pull long sheets of the stuff out of the water - much of which I had not seen.

The duck weed also works well with the plastic grass rake (a metal rake has more potential to damage a liner) but after leaving numerous individual pants floating around he surface I expect the growth to return quickly.

The reedmace (Typha species) I have growing on one edge of the pond and which is often mistaken for a bulrush, had spilled its fluffy seeds into the water which looked like foam from a distance.

In addition to this, I'd also raised the edge of the pond to stop the lining showing and this had undoubtedly added to the rubbish in it.

I simply skimmed the floating detritus from the surface with a landing net and this removed most of the weed too, though much of the algae (blanket weed) was stuck to other vegetation and the pond's sides so this needed a more thorough rub with the net.

But if I do this on a monthly basis and cause less disturbance than I would in a thorough clean, I think it might work.

In the process I also netted five healthy looking common newts which I saw for the first time last year, so it seems as if we have a thriving population.