Here comes spring, and if you have ambitions for improved pond water quality and weed control you'll want to get started now. As the ice disappears and water warms up, algae and weeds wake up. If you wait until mid-summer and allow algae and weeds to get a head start, it can be tough to get them under control.
For pond owners with aeration systems that were shut off during winter, it's time to fire them up again. As the pond wakes up, the demand for oxygen will rise. Organic matter lying dormant on the pond bottom in winter responds to warming water and begins to decay and use up oxygen. Fish that have been in suspended animation all winter get frisky and require more oxygen to feed and grow. Aeration can help.
For ponds without aeration systems, owners sometimes use beneficial bacteria blends to help speed up decomposition of organic matter. To be most effective, bacteria use is best begun in spring, again because it's not as effective against well developed summer algae. But not too soon, because a lot of bacteria products aren't effective until temperatures hit the fifties.
An early start is also recommended for pond dyes used to cut off the sunlight and photosynthesis needed for algae and plant growth. But dyes should not be used in overflowing ponds because of potential effects on the downstream watershed, not to mention the waste of overflowing dye.
Ponds can take a beating during winter and early spring runoff. Inspect your pond for ice damage to piping and structures like stone retaining walls and wood piers. Earthen inflow channels and spillways may be subject to erosion and sediment buildup from spring runoff, and may need repairs and cleanout. Beaches may be covered with leaves and debris and need raking, and perhaps a layer of replacement sand.
If floating rafts or removable piers were taken out for winter, they can go back in.
If you're planning to stock fish, check in with your local hatchery to arrange for pickup or delivery. Consider fish size so you don't mix vulnerable fry with larger predatory sizes or species.
Check into bird deterents like scare-away balloons if you're concerned about flying fish predators. Bird deterents are also a good idea to discourage geese from nesting around the pond, if that's a problem. If geese can be discouraged in spring they're less likely to be trouble later on. Keeping the grass mowed is a good way to deny geese nesting habitat.
Finally, if you have any plans for pond work, spring is a good time to contact contractors. They may be hard to book later in the season.
Topics vary from month to month and provide great information when researching where you want to build a pond, or how to keep it clean. Other areas of interest are pond use for more than swimming, and how to keep fish happy in your pond.