Pond debris can harm your fish

Garden Q&A

March 30, 1997

I have a small lily pond in my back yard. While the surface of the pond is clear, there are a lot of leaves and debris in the bottom. Should I clean them out?

Yes, remove leaves and dead plant material with a net, not a rake. A rake could puncture your liner. It is not necessary to drain the pond.

If you allow leaves and debris to decay in the water, they will release methane gas, which is harmful to fish.

By the way, if it has been two or three years since your water lilies were planted, now is a good time to divide them. Fertilize your aquatic plants with tablets formulated for ponds.

I have chickweed, clover and dandelions coming up in my lawn. What do I do?

If you have only a few weeds, pull them up by hand or spot-treat with broadleaf herbicide. If you have a lot of weeds, you will need to treat the entire lawn. Use a liquid herbicide for broadleaf weeds and apply with a sprayer. Follow label directions and precautions for newly seeded lawns.

My hybrid tea roses are starting to show new growth. Can I still prune them?

Yes, you can prune your roses any time now. Hybrid teas should be pruned anywhere from 6 to 12 inches high. The center of the cane should be white; if not, cut until you see healthy tissue. The ends should be sealed with a waterproof glue or thumbtack to prevent cane borers from entering the cut ends.

Garden tips are provided by the Home and Garden Information Center of the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Maryland. For additional information on these or other questions, call the center's hot line at (800) 342-2507.


Plant peas, onions, lettuce, spinach and kale as soon as you can work your garden soil. Be sure to use a plant label or stick to mark your rows.

As they begin new growth, fertilize houseplants once a month.

Put down crab grass pre-emergent.

Clean up perennial beds.

Pub Date: 3/30/97

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