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Protecting Water Features From Leaf Fall

Water features add so much to the ambiance of a landscape but whenever we try to tame nature there is work associated with the process. Keeping leaves from falling into your pond or fountain may be a year round task that intensifies as fall approaches.

Water features that have few trees between the path of the prevailing wind and the pond may get only a stray leaf blowing in. You may be able to remove these leaves by hand or with a pool skimmer. In the fall when leaves are falling and blowing, you’ll probably have to skim the pond surface more often.

Property owners with more trees may have to take more aggressive action. First, try to determine where the leaves are coming from. See if tree limbs hanging over the pond are the major cause of the problem. If they are the biggest contributor, our arborists can naturally prune the offending trees so they will no longer hang over the pond, while still retaining their natural shape.

On a heavily wooded property, the offending leaves are, no doubt, blowing in from all the trees on the property, especially in the fall. In this case, a better tactic might be to invest in a pond net. Nets are on the market in many sizes and styles. Depending on the size and shape of the pond. You may be able to use a surface net that you stretch across the pond surface and stake to the banks. This works similar to a pool cover. Net tents are also available. These hold the netting above the pond surface.

When using a pool skimmer to remove leaves from the water surface, you’ll probably have to remove leaves from rocks and the pump filter using a leaf blower, vacuum or your gloved hand.

Regardless of whether or not you have fish in your pond, you should keep it free of leaves. Leaves that accumulate on the surface block sunlight and oxygen, creating an unhealthy environment for aquatic flora and fauna. When the leaves start to decay and fall to the bottom, they create a slippery mat on the bottom that is unhealthy as well as messy looking. Sinking leaves can be carried to the pump where they can clog the filter, causing the pump to burn out. Then you have a stagnant pond that attracts mosquitoes, algae and aquatic weeds. Stagnant water is unhealthy for fish and humans.

The place for falling leaves is in your compost pile, not in your pond. Whether you use a skimmer, pond net, blower or vacuum to keep them out of your water feature, place them in a wheelbarrow or other garden conveyance and get them in the compost pile where they can help return organic matter to your landscape next spring.

One comment on “Protecting Water Features From Leaf Fall

  1. The only water features I knew of in my former gardens were the Pacific Ocean and a creek that flowed through another garden. I could turn neither off when they got too noisy. Synthetic water features seemed silly to me. Yet, my colleague down south has three small fountains around his garden that are not very noisy at all, but provide just enough noise to obscure the ambient sound of the nearby Santa Monica Freeway.

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