What Is the Best Way to Cut Back Pond Plants?

What Is the Best Way to Cut Back Pond Plants

The plants in your garden pond perform an important function. Not only do they have a high decorative value, but they also remove nutrients from the water and contribute to the clarification of the water. In addition, they serve as a refuge for fish and other animals in the pond. Therefore, it is more important to take good care of your pond plants. If the pond plants have grown too large, they must be cut back. You must remove dead parts from your pond plants. This article will teach you how to cut back your pond plants.

Why You Should Cut Back Your Pond Plants

Plants maintain a biological balance in your garden pond by removing nutrients from the water and counteracting algae growth. They produce oxygen and help to clarify the water. The more plants you have in your pond, the fewer algae will form. Pond plants can grow quite lush depending on the type and location of your pond. They then overgrow the pond and come to grips with themselves. The fish also become severely restricted in their space. Therefore, it would help if you cut back your pond plants from time to time.

Parts of the plants die off over time. They provide a high nutrient input in your pond and can promote the formation of algae.

When you prune back, you remove not only the parts of the plant that have grown too large but also the parts that have died. You counteract the formation of algae with pruning.

What to Consider When Cutting Back Your Pond Plants

Plants are characterized by varying degrees of growth. While you may rarely need to cut back some plant species, other plants thrive and require heavy pruning. Reed is one such candidate that needs to be cut back heavily. The reeds can quickly overgrow your garden pond if you fail to do so.

If you create your pond from scratch, you should only plant thirds of the pond area. The plants overgrow and can quickly overgrow your pond. If you cut back your pond plants, you should ensure that about one-third to one-half of the pond area remains free.

Furthermore, it depends on the right time for pruning. Fall is ideal when you are winterizing your pond. During the summer, the plants grow a lot. Parts of the plants have died.

You will even have to cut back strongly growing plants several times a year. You can do this during the entire pond season. Make your garden pond fit for spring. You can also check your plants and remove dead plant parts.

Pruning of Riparian Plants and Plants Around the Garden Pond

The plants in the water and the shore plants, and the plants around the garden pond need pruning. You can always carry out pruning when necessary. In this way, you prevent plant parts from falling into the garden pond and encourage algae formation.

It would help if you trimmed perennials about ten inches above the ground after they had finished blooming. In the winter, these plants will retract into the ground. Mark these plants with a planting card to avoid damage in winter or spring.

You don’t always have to cut back wintergreen perennials if they don’t spread too much and detract from the overall look. Such plants include bergenia, cranesbill, soap flower, or goldenberry.

You can cut back roses you have planted around the pond when they are in bloom. Remove the flowers that have bloomed off. In the fall, shorten the shoots. You should protect the roses well from frost.

The leaves of floating plants should not occupy more than one-third of the water surface.

Pruning of Floating Plants

Floating plants are essential for a biological balance in your pond. They absorb nutrients from the water and release oxygen into the water. They convert the absorbed nutrients into plant mass. This process manifests itself with lush growth. Although floating plants play an essential role in algae control, mussel flower, frogbit, or duckweed must not increase too much. They will otherwise deprive the underwater plants of light.

You can remove or cut back floating plants throughout the year. You can remove them with a landing net. You can give the removed plants to other pond friends or dispose of them in the compost.

Since most floating plants die and form rotting sludge in the winter, you should remove them entirely in the fall. Some floating plants produce overwintering organs, turions. You can leave these plants in a small amount in the pond.

Cut Back Underwater Plants Correctly

Underwater plants such as water stars, water plants, or hornwort overgrow, so you should cut them back quickly. Again, they should not take up more than one-third of the pond area. Fast-growing underwater plants could constrict slow-growing aquatic plants and take away fish swimming space.

You can use a rake to remove overgrown underwater plants in the appropriate places. Usually, the plants break off at these places. You won’t pull the roots out of the bottom in the process, so you don’t have to worry about severely damaging the plants. You take out the removed parts of the plants with the landing net. You can repeat this process several times during the pond season.

A large part of the leaf mass of the underwater plants sinks to the bottom in the fall. Therefore, you should cut back the aquatic plants heavily in the fall.

How to Cut Back Water Lilies

Water lilies are the queens in your garden pond, but even they should not spread unchecked. Quickly, water lilies can take light away from other plants with their large leaves. During the season, leaves and other parts of water lilies can die. Water lilies can be infested with pests that spread freely in the pond.

Throughout the year, you can cut back water lilies as needed. You should use pruning shears attached to a handle for this purpose. You can get such constructions in garden centers. These shears are also used for pruning trees. Cut the stems of the leaves as close to the base as possible. Remove the cut parts to dispose of them in the compost.


Plants in and around your garden pond need regular pruning to prevent them from spreading unchecked. Floating plants can quickly deprive underwater plants of light. In winter, most floating plants die. Therefore, you should remove them from the pond in the fall. You can work on underwater plants with a rake. Floating plants and aquatic plants should not take up more than one-third of the pond area each so that the fish still have enough space. It would be best if you also cut back water lilies regularly.

Florian Egert

I am Florian Egert, the owner of pondlovers.com. I live with my wife and two children in Germany in a small village in the countryside.

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