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DIY Guide On How To Dredge A Pond By Hand [Follow 5 Steps]

Have you looked at your pond lately and found how awful it looked? If you don’t clean your small pond regularly it will end up like that. Now, you want to try the easy hand dredging method. 

How to dredge a pond by hand?

Firstly, you’d have to take out all the fishes and keep them in a stock pond. Then wade into the pond to remove vegetation with a rake. Afterwards use a shovel to remove silt and waste from the bottom of the pond. You can preserve the vegetation and silt then use them to make compost. 

Still a little worried? Don’t think much. I have made a comprehensive guide just for you! 

So, let’s dig in without hesitation! 

Is It Necessary to Dredge My Pond?

Yes , dredging your pond is unavoidable. This will make your pond healthy for your fishes and look as good as new. You’ll see less weed growth in a clean pond. 

The unwanted vegetation and silt will make your pond look bad. Besides, the sedimentation at the bottom of the pond could be toxic for aquatic life. In the summer, there could be harmful bacterias. So, be aware!

5 Step Method of Hand Dredging 

Hand dredging is the easiest method to clean your pond. But, you’d have to work hard. I have created a step-by-step guide just for you!

But, before that, you’ll require a few things. Most of these are already in your home. So check out what you’d need first.

Necessary Tools

  • Waders 
  • A stock Tank
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Rakes and Shovels

These are the necessary things that you’d need. Now put your working gloves on and let’s get to work !

Step 1: Take Out the Fishes

The first step is to clear out the fishes from your pond. If you have any fish, just transfer them to a stock tank. They are easily available everywhere. 

Step 2: Wade into the Pond

In this step, put on your water and go into the pond. This will save you from the bacterias and harmful insects. It will further protect you from sediments and dead algae.

Step 3: Remove Muck And Vegetation

Just as you remove algae from a fountain, you’d have to clear out the pond. Start by taking a rake and removing the leaves and all kinds of vegetation. After you’ve removed waste from the surface, clear out the bottom of the pond. You can create compost with this vegetation later on. 

Step 4: Clear the Bottom Using a Shovel

Now for in depth cleaning, take a shovel and start scraping out the silt.Start this from one side of the pong. After that transfer these collected silt in the wheelbarrow. Don’t dig too hard otherwise you’ll end up increasing the depth of your small pond. 

You could also use Sediment Removal Technique. But for that you’d need geotextile containers. This is a specialized container that filters out the water and the silts will remain dry at the bottom. 

Step 5: Create Compost Using Silt And Vegetation

In this final step, you can make compost using the collected vegetation and silt. Just leave them in the sun for a few days. Don’t keep them near your pond. Otherwise it’ll mix in the pond water again. 

If it’s too hard to collect the silt using a shovel, try using a pond vacuum. It’s easy to use and cost effective if you dredge your pond regularly.

I have made a list of the best pond vacuums in the market:

Product 1
Product 2

Try out any of them and surely you will get them handy.

These were all the necessary steps. The cost of hand dredging is half of the maintenance cost of a pool. This is by far the least expensive method of dredging a pond. 

How Would I Know When to Dredge My Pond Next Time? 

You should always keep a look out and then dredge a pond. There are always signs. I have listed out a few for you to look at! If you see any of these, then take out your waders and start digging. 

Murky Waters

Water can become muddy and dirty overtime. So if you see mud and murky water, it’s your cue to clean the pond. Otherwise, if it rains it will create greater problems. 

Water Reduction

Is the water in your pond reducing very fast in a significant amount? Then it’s time to change the water. This happens more in the summer. Reduction of water could also happen because of debri in the water.

Awful Smell

The odds and sods, that is debris and waste turn into organic products.When these products start to decompose, they emit a foul smell. So if your pond smells anything like a dead rat in the oven, clean it ASAP.

Increasing Algae and Plants

The light greenish hue in your pond will indicate an algae outbreak. The excessive vegetation and wastes in the pond generates food for algae. But, this is highly toxic for the fishes. 

Bad water quality is harmful for aquatic life and your beloved fishes. So if you’re a little bit regular with your cleaning, you won’t see these.


Question: How can dredging be bad for my pond?

Answer: Pond dredging is usually beneficial. But, sedimentation is sometimes disturbed while dredging. This is bad, as it makes the water less clear and more turbid. It will cause photosynthesis in the water to cut off.

Question: How frequently should I change the water in my pond?

Answer: In a small garden pond, you can clean the waste every week. If you have a large pond, every six months is the ideal option. 

Question: How will I remove sediments from my deep pond? 

Answer: High-volume suction pumps will allow you to remove sediments. Using the same method as you would to vacuum up a carpet, they move into the sediment. 


So that was everything about how to dredge a pond by hand. I hope this method will help you to clean your pond easily.

Just a little reminder. Check the local laws and guidelines about dredging. And don’t dump the pond water into the sewage system or the local stream. 

I wish you a good and easy cleaning day!