Spring is a good time to give ponds a tidy up so the water is clear throughout summer.
Scoop out dead leaves and decaying plant matter which has built up over winter. This will turn the water toxic if left in the pond during the warmer months.
Any pond weeds or aquatic plants that are taking over can be removed using a rake and lightly skimming the surface.
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Leave the debris by the side of the pond for a few days so any wildlife hiding in the clumps can return to the water.
At the same time remove any fallen leaves and yellowing leaves from plants like waterlilies and marginal plants and divide them if necessary.
Pool debris and unwanted aquatic plants are great in the compost heap but many water plants can be invasive so ensure that you dispose of any plants you remove appropriately so that they don't become weeds in our native system.
To have a balanced ecosystem, ponds need a mix of oxygenating, floating and marginal plants and clear surfaces.
Climbing plants look best if young shoots are tied to their support from an early stage. By tying in the stems, both horizontally and vertically, you will get more flowers or fruit and better overall coverage and stop them becoming entangled or growing into other plants.
If ornamental grasses such as Miscanthus, Hakenochloa and Imperata are starting to make new growth among last year's dead leaves, tidy them up. Gently comb out wispy old leaves with your hands to avoid damaging new leaves.
Use garden snips to remove stubborn old shoots at the base of plants. Don't worry too much about tidying up completely as birds will take strands that are left for their nests.
Lift and divide any overgrown clumps of perennials such as asters, salvias, agapanthus, chrysanthemum, nepeta (catmint), liriope, campanula, perennial phlox, michelmas and shasta daisies, kniphofia (red hot poker), etc.
This is so they continue to flower well. Use a sharp spade or fork to dig up the clumps, separate them into sections and ease the roots out and replant.
Don't leave this too late as it is easy to damage the new shoots which will be starting to show.
The Armidale Garden Club is scheduled to meet again on Thursday, September 23, but of course will only go ahead if Armidale is out of lockdown by then.
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