Should I Skim Dead or Decaying Leaves?

When you own a pond in Tucson, AZ, there’s plenty of pond maintenance that must be done. If you’re familiar with the bacteria in your pond, you might assume the helpful bacteria will break down any organic material that happens to fall into your pond—including dead and decaying leaves.

While it’s true that helpful bacteria will do so (as long as the temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit), it takes a long time to fully break down. In the meantime, your pond will be covered with soggy, decaying materials that look and smell awful. It also provides excessive nutrients, which means your pond will be a haven for algae growth.

In short: yes, you need to remove dead and decaying leaves from your pond, even if the temperature is well over 50 degrees. Here are some tips to make that chore a little easier:

  • Keep your landscaping under control: The easiest way to ensure organic matter doesn’t fall into your pond is to pay attention to your landscaping. If your pond is surrounded by deciduous trees, those leaves will drop in the fall and winter. The same goes for any large shrubs or plants that drop leaves and petals. You can help reduce the amount of plant matter that falls into the water by pruning back your landscaping regularly.
  • Pick up large debris by hand: When you notice leaves are starting to fall into the pond, put on some rubber gloves and grab the large pieces of debris by hand. Try to do this every day, or every time you notice there are big pieces floating on the surface.
  • Use a pond skimmer to remove the rest: When your pond is full of smaller leaves and petals, you can use a pond skimmer to get rid of the organic matter. These are similar to pool skimmers, although you can purchase smaller skimmers for small ponds. Simply scoop up the debris when you notice it’s starting to build up.
  • Aerate your pond all year long: Aerating your pond year-round is a good idea for several reasons. First, it helps ensure that the oxygen-rich warm water at the top sinks to the bottom, allowing the cooler oxygen-starved water to rise to the top. This reduces pond muck and encourages the helpful bacteria to break down pond debris. It will also diminish the chance that algae will start growing or pond muck will form at the bottom of your pond.
  • Use a pond sweep to remove muck: Finally, if you do have pond muck at the bottom of your backyard pond, use a pond sweep to get rid of it. The less organic material there is in your pond, the better.

If you have more questions about pond maintenance in Tucson, AZ, or if you’re thinking of investing in a new pond or pool for your property, talk to the team at Arizona Pool and Pond Company. We’d be happy to help you find the right pond maintenance tools and supplies when you call today.

Leave a Reply