Pond/ garden cleaning

Asked February 28, 2018, 11:03 AM EST

Hi, I have a small pond about 4'x 2 feet deep and a pond vacuum. We have several types of frogs that live and hibernate in the pond. When would be the best time to clean the pond keeping the frogs and other wildlife in mind? Also, I have a lot of perennials that the native bees overwinter in. Would it be safe for the bees to cut the stalks and leave them in a pile until summer before chipping them? Thank you for your advise. Chris

Anne Arundel County Maryland wildlife ponds and water gardens

1 Response

Thanks for keeping wildlife in mind! It would be good to wait until about mid-April to clean your pond. Some frogs, wood frogs, for example, are already starting to lay eggs, so we recommend waiting until later in the spring. If one of your goals is wildlife protection, you might not want to be too diligent with the cleaning (i.e., no vacuuming necessary). Consider cleaning just half of the pond and removing old leaf debris, but leave some of the "muck" in the bottom. This this is good habitat for all types of fauna and flora -- they type of habitat frogs and fish love. Regarding the perennial stalks, it would be fine to cut them and lay them in a pile in an out-of-the- way place until the summer before chipping them. At a recent talk, a bee researcher said that gardeners who want to clean up their garden in fall could cut perennial stalks and then reinsert them upwards in a different part of the garden. That is also an option to consider for helping bees overwinter.

Thanks for your question and let us know if we can be of any further assistance.