When is the best time to clear a pond of rotting and dead foliage?
Just as growth is starting, in early spring from March to April is probably the best time, if weather conditions allow.
If you have to move any fish, handle them with care, and decant them into water of the same temperature as that they have come from.
When should I stop feeding the goldfish in my pond?
You don't actually stop.
On warmer winter days, if the fish are up and about you can give them a little, food, but clear out any that's left uneaten after a couple of minutes.
When spring arrives and the fish start to come up to the surface, feed every couple of days to begin with.
As their disease resistance will be at its lowest point, give them a mix of standard floating food and a few chopped worms.
My pond gets very murky and smelly in hot weather, how do I keep the water clean and fresh?
The smell probably means something is decomposing.
This de-oxygenates the water and can kill fish, as well as giving off an obnoxious smell.
The commonest cause is an accumulation of dead leaves, not only of water plants, but from surrounding trees.
In Autumn when leaves are falling, it is vital to cover the pool with a fine meshed net.
In a small pond, a dead fish might be the problem, or it could be simply uneaten fish food decomposing on the bottom.
In this case, it would be best to clean out the pond.
How do I overwinter my pond plants?
As the weather turns colder the underwater oxygenators should be cut back.
Marginals should be cut back to about 50-70mm (2"-3") above water level, once the leaves and stems have turned brown.
Remove dead leaves and flowers from water lilies.
Floaters must be left to form their overwintering buds which will sink to the bottom, but you can keep some of these buds in a jar of water indoors.
These will germinate early in the spring and if returned to the pond they will provide surface cover quicker than the buds left in the pond.
Non-hardy aquatics need to be over-wintered indoors in water-filled containers.
I have fish in my pond, how can I prevent the entire surface from freezing over in the winter?
The simplest way to keep a hole in the ice is to place a pan on the surface and pour hot water into it.
Alternatively, pond heaters are readily available from specialist and larger garden centres.
On no account try to crack the ice by hitting it, the shock waves created would harm the fish.