Volunteers from the Steel Valley Project recently spent 3 days clearing overgrown vegetation and relining the pond at Stocksbridge Nursery and Infant School.
The pond has been in place for many years, but the lining had sprung a leak meaning that remedial action needed to be taken.
What kind of maintenance work was carried out?
The team needed to clear the site back to the original liner, taking out plants and vegetation.
Some of the plants, such as reedmace and water mint, were set aside and kept alive in containers while the work was undertaken. These were then put back into the pond once the lining had been replaced.
A layer of the silt from the bottom of the old pond was also kept to one side for reuse, protecting the small organisms and insect eggs contained within and thus supporting biodiversity in the new pond.
Once the team had cleared the old vegetation and pruned back overhanging branches to allow more light into the area, the old liner was taken out and replaced with a new one. Then it was a case of refilling the pond pea gravel, plants and water.
What sort of plants were growing in the pond?
Two of the main plants growing were reedmace and water mint.
Reedmace (also known as Bulrush) grows on the edges of fresh water. It’s an easily recognisable plant with long leaves, tall stems and brown sausage-like flower heads.
Water Mint, on the other hand, has lilac flower heads which are loved by bees, hoverflies and butterflies. It’s a member of the mint family and grows in wet ground/water.
How often do garden ponds need maintenance work?
Whilst pond liners normally last many years unless damaged, pond owners will know that regular maintenance work is needed to prevent the water silting up and the pond turning into a bog garden.
It’s recommended that small ponds have a complete overhaul to remove overgrowth and debris around every 5 years, whereas larger ponds can last around 10 years.
However, more regular maintenance should take place throughout the year, particularly in autumn when pond creatures are less active.
Check the RHS website for more information and pond maintenance tips.
Take a look at our “WHERE ARE WE NOW” page to find out more about work recently undertaken by the Steel Valley Project.