Spring muck management

Ah, spring. It’s the time when ponds come back to life. And might be filled with all sorts of gross gunk.

Say what?

The transition from winter into spring and summer can be complex. Sort of like puberty, your pond is figuring things out as it moves into a new season. Keep calm and keep a few things in mind.

Your pond might need a little cleaning. Or a lot.

Not all ponds need a hardcore spring cleaning. If there’s a layer to gunk at the bottom of the pond and the water is a dark color, you need a full cleaning. That sounds like a big deal, but we’ve broken it down for you here.

If the water is clear and you can grab any debris with a net, then you are off the hook for a deep clean. But don’t ignore that debris – if you leave it be, it becomes a delectable buffet for algae. Your pond can get overrun with muck and your friends may stop returning your texts.

Keep algae in check and keep water clean.

Algae are part of a well-balanced pond. But you need to prevent them from taking over.

We recommend using SAB Stream & Pond Cleaner and EcoBlast granular algaecide early in the season. SAB contains a phosphate binder that helps maintain clear water. EcoBlast effectively keeps algae in its place. These products are useful throughout the year, but they’re especially helpful in the spring. They help balance your pond ecosystem when the water is just warming up and plants, fish, and bacteria are just starting to get their act together.

The plants are just getting started.

After being dormant all winter, it can take a while for plants to find their groove. Once the weather and the water are consistently warm, aquatic plants actively grow. That’s when they’ll start to beat out algae for nutrients. This is a competition the plants always win. So, algae are starved and your pond water will be clearer.

Fertilizing your pond plants can help balance your pond ecosystem. But again, wait until the weather and the water are consistently warm. Otherwise, you’re just feeing algae.

Bacteria need time – and a helping hand.

Like plants, useful bacteria need warmer weather. Once it’s warm enough, bacteria will grow and colonize, helping maintain clear water and decreasing your maintenance.

You can give your pond a jumpstart with supplemental bacteria like Aquascape Beneficial Bacteria for Ponds. And make sure bacteria have a nice place to live in your pond. They love nooks and crannies, so rocks and gravel in the bottom of your pond act as a bacteria village. Remember that bacteria love space – and the more room they have to grow, the more effective your biological filter.

Fish metabolisms are tricky.

Don’t overfeed your fish. Even if they say they’re starving. Don’t do it.

Fish metabolisms are in slow motion all winter. They’ll still eat, but they’re unable to digest properly. That can mean the food rots in their bodies and makes the fish ill. It’s a bad scene.

Like plants and bacteria, fish need warmer temps before they’re active. Once you’re seeing steady water temperatures of 55 or above, begin feeding your aquatic friends small amounts. You can then increase slowly to normal amounts. Before your know it, your fish will be contributing to your pond’s healthy ecosystem.

Patience. You’ve gotta have it.

It’s so tempting to equate warm weather with an instant outdoor oasis. But any gardener will tell you that there’s time between those first warm days and a lush landscape. The same is true of your water feature.

Give your pond time to balance and help out where you can. And if you have questions or need the guidance of a professional, Good Earth Water Gardens is here. We create, maintain, and troubleshoot ponds all over the Kansas City area. Give us a call at 913-479-8090 or connect online.