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How to Prevent Leaves and Dirt from Entering Your Pond

Updated on April 16, 2017
Jan Saints profile image

Januaris is a miniature garden designer and author of landscaping guides. He loves to write about garden flowers, ponds, lawn and hedges.

Leaves and dirt are some of the things that keep gardeners worried about their ponds. These two things are nothing but a real threat to the water feature. They can cause devastating effects on both the aquatics and the pond structure.

If leaves fall in a garden tarn and are not removed immediately, they decompose releasing harmful products. The water turns green or black as a result of the leaf decay. It becomes of poor quality and therefore not suitable for aquatic life.

Water is the main component of a slough, and if its quality is compromised, the garden structure cannot be called a pond anymore. Fish and, especially koi and goldfish, are very sensitive to dirt and cannot survive in a low quality water. There is therefore a need to keep the reservoir clean!

You must keep leaves out of your pool if you want to maintain an attractive and healthy water garden. Leaf fall is worse in winter, and dirt tends to accumulate more during the hotter months. This means that the process of keeping your pond clean is an all-year-round one.

In this article, I am going to teach you how to prevent leaves and dirt from entering your backyard or garden pond. So read on.

In brief, how to prevent leaves and dirt from entering your pond

1. Trim branches that hang over the structure.

2. Trap falling leaves and dirt with a net.

3. Plant grass around it to trap dust.

4. Install taller edges around the structure.

5. Use clean water only.

6. Install mechanical filters at the inlet.

7. Install biological filters to deal with organic dirt.

8. Use ultraviolet sterilizer at the inlet to kill harmful algae.

9. Remove any dirt that manages to get into the reservoir.

Trim Branches That Hang Over the Pond- Great Way to Keep the Pool Free from Leaves

You are likely to have more leaves falling into your reservoir if you have deciduous trees near the structure. The problem is worse if there are branches hanging over it. Trees not only cause the leaf fall problem, but also the shading problem.

effects of trees
effects of trees | Source

Trim the hanging branches to control the menace. You may be tempted to cut down the trees, but this is not recommended because trees add to the splendor of your garden.

Trap Falling Leaves and Dirt with a Net

This is a sure way to control the stressful problem. A net installed over the structure traps and holds any leaves falling from the trees. Pond netting is recommended when there is a heavy leaf fall, i.e. in the winter and early spring.

Measure the size of your tarn and find a net with small-sized mesh. The size of the net should be larger than that of the pond to help trap leaves that would otherwise fall on the edges and get blown into the water.

Fix tent stakes (preferably 3 feet tall) around the structure and stretch the net to cover the whole of it, including the edges. If your tarn is larger, you may have to fix wires or strings across it supported by the stakes to provide the net with maximum support.

It is recommended to empty the net regularly. The net may fall into the water due the weight of the dirt if you don’t empty it regularly. Removing the trapped dirt every now and then will keep the aquatics getting enough light.

Some trees produce small debris or thin leaves that can pass through the netting to the water. If you have these trees, you will have to install a filter mat below the net to trap the minute particles.

You can also choose nets that allow dirt to fall off instead of accumulating on them. These nets come in the shape of a dome, pyramid or cone. Since they don’t allow the accumulation of dirt, they don’t affect lighting and ventilation.

If you think that your pond needs a net to keep it free from leaves, I recommend that you go for the Gardeneer By Dalen Pond Net. Before I came across this net I had used other nets that proved to be less effective and thus useless. I have used this net for almost 4 years, and is still effective in trapping leaves and protecting my fish.

The net is designed to keep falling leaves out of the pond, water gardens and even pools. Its mesh size is 3/8", and so it can really trap the small debris. In addition to trapping leaves and debris, it protects koi and goldfish from predators such as cats and birds. It is available in different sizes, so you can always choose the size that suits your pond.

Plant Grass Around the Pond to Trap Dust

If your garden pool is surrounded by a bare ground, you will definitely have to deal with the dust problem. Dust affects pond mainly in hot or windy months when the soil is loose.

A great way to prevent the effect of sheet erosion on your water garden is to plant grass. Construct a lawn in your garden and you will not only trap dust but also beautify your backyard.

Install Taller Edges Around Your Pond

Edges prevent flood water from entering the pond. Flood water is usually dirty and can introduce toxic substances in the reservoir. Edges also block debris that's being dragged along the ground surface by wind.

edging with stones
edging with stones | Source

Install taller edges (stones & concrete recommended) around the reservoir to block dirty water and solids. Construct a small trench on one side of the pond to direct the run-off away.

Use Clean Water Only- Great Way to Prevent Dirt from Entering Your Pond

Water from filthy sources is well known to introduce dirt in pools. So always use clean water from trusted sources when you want to refill your pool.

Test the water for heavy metals & harmful chemicals to confirm it is free from these dangerous substances. Ensure also it has minimal dissolved solids. In addition, ensure it is free from harmful microorganisms.

Install Mechanical Filters at the Inlet

You will need to install filters at the inlet if your slough depends on free-flowing water. The filters are made to trap debris, and the best ones come in different mesh sizes to trap as many particles as possible.

The filtration system accumulates dirt with time, so ensure you clean it regularly to prevent clogging. Mechanical filters can only trap the larger particles, so use them alongside other systems that remove micro-particles.

Install Biological Filters to Deal with Organic Dirt

Biological filters remove organic matter and toxins. They provide good living conditions for bacteria that break down compounds. Most biological filters are made of a fiber matting media, a material that enables bacteria to thrive.

Install the biological filters along the inlet channel (after mechanical filters) and in the reservoir. As the water flows through the filters, bacteria will break down the harmful compounds into safe compounds and elements. Ammonia is a common compound in fish ponds and is broken down into nitrite and nitrate by bacteria. Biological filters should be cleaned partially to avoid killing all the bacteria.

Use Ultraviolet Sterilizer at the Inlet to Kill Harmful Algae

An ultraviolet sterilizer reduces the single cell algae. This type of algae makes the water green and is therefore not needed in garden pools. It also competes with beneficial aquatic plants for nutrients and other resources.

Install the ultraviolet sterilizer in the reservoir and it will kill 99% of this annoying algae. The dead algae is digested by bacteria, so ensure the biological filters are running when using the sterilizer.

Remove Any Dirt That Manages to Enter Your Pond

The above methods are not 100% effective in preventing leaves and dirt from entering your pond. This means that you will have some little dirt getting into your garden tarn.

Use a skimmer net to remove any dirt floating on the surface. If the dirt is settling at the bottom, use a pond vacuum to scoop it up. The bottom is made of important sludge, so be careful not to remove this fine silt.

Many skimmers have been manufactured, but most of them are ineffective - they break in the first day of use. If you are looking for a durable skimmer, I would recommend that you go for the Swimline Professional Heavy Duty Leaf Skimmer. I have been using this tool for close to 3 years, and it has never shown any signs of breaking. The super-strong skimmer has a sturdy plastic frame, fine-mesh basket and a tapered front edge to help scoop debris easily.

Aquatic plants can help you remove the dissolved dirt: they absorb the dirt as nutrients. So grow enough water plants to help with natural pond cleaning. Some plants also discourage algae growth.

Use flocculants, alkaline or acidic substances to remove chemicals that accidentally get into your garden slough. Flocculants clump together chemical particles which can then be removed with much ease. The alkaline and acidic substances react with chemicals to produce harmless compounds and elements.

removing dirt
removing dirt | Source

In Conclusion...

Leaves and dirt will no longer be an issue when you make use of this helpful guide. Choose the best method depending on the kind of dirt that accumulates in your garden and deal with it accordingly. You will not spend any meaningful cash on your chosen method! So keep leaves and dirt out of your pond and enjoy an attractive and healthy water feature.

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© 2015 Januaris Saint Fores

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    • profile image

      Ankurpatel1397 20 months ago

      Nice hub

    • Jan Saints profile image
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      Januaris Saint Fores 7 months ago from the Midwest

      Thank you, Ankurpatel1397

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