Carter’s Garden Blog


Water Garden Clean out Checklist

Projects of any type benefit from advanced planning. Regardless of the type of project. Having all the necessary supplies on hand before you get started always makes it go faster and easier.

HELPFUL TIP: it’s good planning to get your fertilizer tabs now, BEFORE draining your pond and then realizing you should have got them when you bought your low temp bacteria and dechlorinator. This keeps you from running to the store in the middle of your clean-out (which can mean a whole day of work instead of a half day) and it allows you to fertilize your plants while the pond is drained instead of later when the pond is full again.
Planning ahead a little just means you can spend less time working on your pond and more time ENJOYING it!
1. Fish Net – Before you drain your pond for the spring clean-out, you’ll need to catch and relocate your fish. Purchasing a good quality net means doing this without injuring your fish during the catch and release.

2. Planting Pots – Spring clean-out is a great time to thin and divide plants that have grown out of bounds or crowded a pot. Make sure you have some aquatic plant pots handy so you can re-pot and share your new plants with other water gardeners.

3.Extra Gravel – After the freeze and thaw of winter, you’ll inevitably find rocks and gravel that have shifted, exposing bare liner. With an extra bag or two of gravel, you can cover exposed liner in a jiffy.

4. Lily Tabs – Take advantage of the water-free accessibility of water lilies, lotus, and other plants that may need to be fertilized, by having a container of lily tabs on hand when you’re doing your pond clean-out.

5. Container for Plant Debris – Grab an old plastic plant pot or bucket so you can easily dispose of any debris that you gather from the pond bottom or from dead plant matter.

6. Rubber Gloves and Boots – Spring clean-outs can be cold, wet, and messy. Arming yourself with boots and gloves will go a long way toward making this chore much less unpleasant.

7. Fish Container – A large tub will be needed so you can have a roomy place to keep your fish during the clean-out. Use water from the pond and use a small fountain pump to re-circulate  the water.

8. Net to Cover the Fish Container – Fish, especially large Koi, jump, and they may very well jump right out of the container that you have set up for them. Be sure to cover it with a net that is pulled tight across the container to prevent them from jumping.

9. Pump and Discharge Pipe – To drain the water out of the pond, you will need a pump and some discharge pipe. It’s OK to use your pond pump, but even better if you have an extra pump to lessen the wear and tare on your pond pump. About 2,000 GPH, depending on the size of your pond, will do the trick.

10. High Pressure Nozzle – Use a pressure nozzle on your garden hose to dislodge debris and algae from the rocks.

11. De-chlorinator – If you are on city water you will need to dechlorinate the newly filled pond before you put the fish back in.

12. Expanding Foam – Expanding foam may need a bit of a touch up in some areas. Be prepared with a can of it just in case.

13. New Filter Mats – Filter mats should be replaced approximately every 3 years. If you think it might be time, be prepared by purchasing replacements prior to your clean-out.

14. Pruners – Part of a spring clean-out is pruning back dead plant material from the previous season. Make sure you have a good pair of pruners and/or scissors to get the job done.

15. Plastic Rake – You can rake the leaves right out of your pond with a small plastic (child’s) rake. The plastic lessens the chance of damaging the liner and the small size makes it easier to maneuver in tight spots than an adult size rake.

With a little work you will be ready for a Great outdoor season.

      ~ Mark Carter


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