We aren’t quite into the heart of fall but it’s soon coming, and along with that, the leaves will begin to swish and sway towards the ground.
And let’s be honest. A pond is basically a hole in the ground with water in it.
Which means that if your pond lies beneath an overhanging tree, a leaf or two (or maybe countless more) will drop into the pond.
The problem is, you don’t really want this if your main goal is to keep a pond clear of algae and other problems.
Small Pond Folks Have A Few Viable Options
Small pond owners are fortunate in one sense. You have quite a few options.
You could have a skimmer installed to collect many of the leaves.
You could cover the pond with a net and stop most of them.
Or you might shut the pond down altogether as you get into early winter. Just drain the water, clean out the basin, and wait for next spring.
Or if you’re going to keep it open, removing leaves and debris isn’t too bad with a good pond vacuum and some sweat equity.
The thing you don’t want to do is let them sit at the bottom and rot away.
All those leaves and other organic debris will eventually turn to a beautiful, black, maybe stinky, nutrient rich muck.
And there’s no better way to grow algae.
For large pond owners, things aren’t quite so simple.
Normally you won’t be emptying the water out to clean the bottom.
A pond vacuum isn’t going to work here. And netting, well, it’s not very practical. A skimmer…sorry, no can do.
So, without a doubt, leaves and debris will surely sink to the bottom and stay there.
Limit Muck Build Up And Enjoy A Healthier Pond
For bigger ponds, the best remedy to limit muck build up, is to stop it before it really starts to become an issue.
With fresh leaves and other organic things…and this includes algae and weeds that are either killed off, or die off just due to the cooler weather, my goal is to break these suckers down as fast as possible.
Then naturally occurring bacteria can readily take care of the rest.
Enzymes Are The Key
In nature, the initial stages of breakdown are created by enzymes.
Enzymes are kind of like saliva for us humans.
They prepare the digestible parts of the plant for further consumption, either by our tummy and such, or in the case of a pond, by the beneficial microbes that reside there.
The main point is that enzymes are a critical part of the digestive cycle, and in a pond, if this material isn’t broken down quickly, muck will usually develop and it’s harder (meaning it takes longer) to get rid of than just a simple freshly departed plant.
What we’ve found in recent years, is by adding some specific enzyme catalysts we can limit muck build up quite a bit.
We use PondBiotix MDC for this and we add it right after any kind of treatment that might kill algae, duckweed, or other aquatic weeds.
Or we add it in the fall, after any existing plant life has died off naturally.
Following this, if we haven’t been using it much up to this point, we might add some good beneficial bacteria to the pond to help with the continue breakdown and assimilation of the dead plants.
MDC is too concentrated for small ponds but we also will use good bacteria here and it will go along way, in combination with some of the other things noted above, to clean a small pond up nicely.
And finally, what’s a pond owner to do if they miss this early stage of muck development and end up with the black stuff sitting on the bottom?
Since this type of muck is well established the best route to go is to use a specific bacteria in pellet form called PondBiotix ME, which sinks into the muck and degrades it away gradually.
Usually within a month you’ll see some good progress on the buildup, but there’s one thing to note. This type of bacteria works best in warmer water.
MDC however can be used in any temperature.
As I almost always point out, good bacteria, and most everything else you add to a pond, will work better when there’s good aeration going, and it will also protect fish during the die off phase of any plants in the pond.
Got any other questions about muck reduction in your pond? Share those below!