Leaves are a hallmark of fall. They're fun to rake into piles and jump in. Kids, dogs, and adults alike enjoy playing in leaves. Author Albert Camus said, "Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower." Fall leaves become a nuisance when they fall from trees and end up in your pond. Dry leaves are easy to manage, but what can you do with wet leaves from your pond?
Ideally, you can stop leaves from entering your pond altogether to prevent high nutrient loads. Installing pond netting will help keep leaves from falling into your pond. Pond netting catches leaves before they have a chance to enter the water.
You can remove leaves from your pond using a skimmer fish net. Try to remove the leaves before they sink to the bottom of the pond and start to decay. Leaves that sink to the bottom can hurt water quality and can clog your pond pumps and filters (pre-filtration helps protect pumps, especially in the fall). Scoop the leaves from the surface of your pond daily, if you can, to keep your pond healthy during the fall and winter seasons.
What to Do with Wet Leaves
Once you've scooped the leaves out of your pond, what can you do with them? Wet leaves are a little less fun to play with compared to dry leaves. These wet leaves can turn into gardening gold with a little work.
Depending on where you live, your trash and recycling collection services may accept bags of leaves during the fall time. Check and see if your neighborhood offers this collection service and if the leaves need to be put in a special bag. Many leaf collection services require the leaves to be in a biodegradable paper bag for pick up.
Wet leaves make great leaf mold. Leaf mold is excellent for adding nutrients to the soil and helping increase water retention in your garden. Leaf mold is just leaves and water mixed together and allowed to decompose. If you start collecting wet leaves in the fall, the mold should be ready by the spring.
As you scoop leaves from your pond, you can collect them and put them in a compost bin. You can make the compost bin out of a plastic or wooden container or wire fencing. Pile the leaves together and keep them moist. When you add a new layer of leaves to the pile, you can add small amounts of water if the leaves are not very wet.
Leave compost is more nutritious for the soil than leaf mold, but it requires more work. Leaf compost has a high mineral content and is excellent for gardening. It improves soil structure, helping to aerate clay soil and adding moisture to sandy soil.
You can make leaf compost by layering green organic material like plant-based kitchen scraps and grass clippings with wet leaves. The compost pile needs to be kept moist and stirred every three weeks to oxygenate. By spring, you should have a nice compost to use when gardening again.
Leaves are a favorite part of the fall for everyone but pond owners. When leaves decompose in the pond, it hurts water quality, overloading the pond with nutrients. The leaves create a layer of sludge at the bottom of the pond. It's important to quickly scoop out leaves that fall into the pond while they're still on the surface. What to do with wet leaves from your pond? You can either dispose of the leaves through your trash and recycling surface or use them as food for the garden. Leaf mold and compost are great for gardening, adding nutrients, and improving soil structure.