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Fall garden pond maintenance

Living the Country Life Radio Program with Betsy Freese

Keep leaves away

Listen to the radio story mp3

Radio interview source: Eric Reinhard, merchandising manager, Drs. Foster & Smith

It's a lot more fun to do winterizing chores now than scrambling at the last minute when an early snowstorm hits. This is especially true if you have a garden pond with tender plants and expensive fish. They don't like harsh weather any more than you do.

Eric Reinhard is a pond expert, and says your biggest challenge this time of year is leaves. They're beautiful, but they're a huge pain when they fall on the water garden.

"What we recommend typically is for people to put netting over the pond, to keep it raised off the surface just to keep the leaves from sitting in the water," Reinhard says. "They actually specifically make netting for ponds that gets staked down. Once the leaves collect in the net you can just basically blow them off the net, or kind of lift one side of the net, give it a flip and flip them off."

If leaves aren't removed, they will sink to the pond floor and start to decay, causing the release of toxic gases.

Many species of water plants won't make it through the colder spells, either, so trim back dead or dying foliage. If you prefer to have them around for next spring, re-pot them and bring them inside if they're not winter-hardy. Some plants like water iris can be divided and replanted.

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