Fall Pond Maintenance
When fall rolls around, the change of seasons is apparent by the beautiful, multi-colored leaves and the cool change in temperatures. It may be your favorite time of year, but how will the cooler temperature and falling leaves affect your aquatic paradise? Can ponds and trees live together peacefully in the fall? With a couple precautions and a little maintenance, they can!
Debris cleanup from the fall may be inevitable in any part of the county, but you'll need to pay special attention if you're in a cold region and your pond has heavy tree cover. A skimmer filter may not be able to keep up with catching all the leaves before they drop to the pond's bottom and decompose. Removing leaves and sticks with a net will make for an easier spring clean-out next year. Debris left to rot in the pond will eventually decompose, producing gases that may be harmful to your fish.
In this case, using a large net stretched over the pond can be helpful because it will catch the leaves before they even hit the water. Plus, you can use a leaf blower to clear the area, meaning less work for you!
Regardless of whether you have a lot of trees or a minimal amount leaves falling, autumn is still a time when you'll need to empty the debris net or bag of your skimmer more often than you were in the summer - usually on a daily basis. It's also a great time to tend to your plants. It's sad to see them go, but you definitely don't want their debris falling to the pond bottom.
Hardy bog and marginal plants should have all the dead leaves and foliage trimmed down to 2" above the water level, and hardy lily leaves and stems should be cut back, leaving approximately 2 to 3" at the base of the plant. This is also the time when tropical plants can be brought inside for winter, or simply treated as annuals and replaced each season.
In late fall, when your leaves have stopped dropping, it is also time when your winter preparation should be starting. Properly winterizing a pond at this time of year will make it easier for your spring clean-out. For information on how to winterize your pond, check out the winter shut-down link on this site.