Fall Debris: Prevention and Maintenance

Fall brings cooler temperatures and beautiful foliage that is picturesque.  The vibrant colors of the leaves, the cool crisp air, and the scents of apples baking and fireplaces ablaze get you in the mood for the upcoming holidays.  But as the leaves fall, your pond is in danger of mounting debris that creates a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and mucky water.  You can keep the debris in your pond to a minimum with some preventative measures, cleaning, and maintenance. 

Aeration will help to rid your pond of leaves and debris and to circulate oxygen throughout the water. An aeration system will keep your pond healthy by removing dangerous gases, like ammonia, that form from excess debris while delivering oxygen to your fish and to the beneficial bacteria. 

Beneficial bacteria help keep the pond water clean and clear.  TotalPond’s Pressurized Biological Filters  promote healthy bacteria growth and TotalPond’s Pond Cleaner Tablets are a blend of beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and natural barley that break down fish waste, phosphates, nitrates and other pollutants. These items also help decompose the leaves and debris that have landed in your pond. The pressurized biological filter will catch debris before it can clog the pump and beneficial bacteria from the filter and tablets begin to digest muck, gobbling through leaves and improve water clarity.

However, large debris should be manually removed in order for all your pond equipment to function properly.  A pond net is recommended to cover your pond but you should plan to manually remove dying plant foliage, fallen leaves, and debris in addition to aerating and adding bacteria. Pruning dead stems and leaves from aquatic plants will prevent decay in the water during the winter. Having a pond rake or skimmer fish net makes pond maintenance easy.  You can effortlessly scoop up fall leaves from the surface with the skimmer fish net.  Pumping some of the water out of the pond to expose the planting shelves around the pond periphery may be a good idea. This will make it easier to hand remove leaves that have stuck to the pond edges and shelves. Use a hose nozzle to get rid of the accumulated debris and sludge around the pond shelves and edges, and then remove remaining debris with a net or pond vacuum. When replacing the water after cleaning, add a water clarifier and chlorine remover to remove harmful contaminants like chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metals and improve clarity.  A skimmer is also suggested as a first defense from debris clogging the pump.  It is designed to sweep the surface of the water so it is free from debris. The debris basket collects leaves, twigs, seeds, and other debris that fall or blow into the pond.  The basket is easy to empty and should be cleaned every other week.  During fall, changes should happen more frequently due to the quantity of leaves falling off the surrounding trees.

Preventing debris from settling in your pond can feel overwhelming, but with a little planning, preparation, prevention, and cleaning, it can be done. This hard work will make year round maintenance easy so you can relax and enjoy your pond.