Q: My skimmer keeps clogging with leaves, how can I keep them out of my pond?
Joyce – Stewartstown, PA
A: There’s no surer sign of fall than falling leaves. Unfortunately, when those leaves land in your pond or water garden, they can create a water-quality mess. As they break down and decompose, they can turn your water brown and leave behind muck and detritus.
Thank goodness for pond netting.
These temporary covers keep leaves, pine needles and other debris from landing in your water feature. You can purchase several different types—but which one is right for you?
To help you choose, ask yourself these three simple questions:
1. How long do you intend to use the netting?
Many of us are pinching our pennies these days, and so the less-expensive one-season-use net, like DeWitt Pond Netting, is an attractive option. The 3/4-inch black polypropylene mesh, which comes in a range of sizes to fit just about any pond, prevents debris (and predators, too) from getting into your pond without restricting air flow or views.
For a little more money, however, you could purchase a higher-quality net/pond cover system, the Nycon Big Top Pond Cover, which can be used year after year. Also available in a range of sizes, this pond cover features a netting with a hemmed, fray-resistant border; center pole(s); brass stake grommets; and aluminum stakes that can weather years of use. The net is made with 1/4-inch black nylon mesh, which keeps some of the smallest debris from entering your pond.
2. What types of leaves will be landing in and gathering around your pond?
Look around your yard. What kinds of tress do you (and your neighbors) have? If you have trees with larger leaves, like maple or oak, you can easily rake up the blowing leaves from around your pond, scoop them out of your pond with a portable pond net or skimmer, and prevent them from landing in there with a basic 5/8-inch nylon mesh netting, like The Pond Guy® Pond Cover Net.
If you have pine needles and smaller leaves around, however, you’ll need to cover your pond or water garden with a tighter-weave mesh, such as The Pond Guy® Fine Mesh Cover Net. This clear, heavy-duty, 1/8-inch mesh netting prevents stubbornly small debris from landing in your pond while still allowing light to shine through. It includes plastic stakes to secure the netting.
3. What is your main goal?
Are you a no-muss, no-fuss kind of water gardener who avoids pond chores like the plague? Then you should invest in a tent-type netting system with a center hub, like the Pond Logic® PondShelter™ Net Kit. This fully adjustable unit with an aluminum frame will fit most pond configurations. It supports a swath of durable, black 1/4-inch mesh, which keep debris from entering the pond. And the kit includes 30 metal stakes to ensure the unit stays in place.
If, however, you want to see your fish, and you’re OK with a few scattered leaves and doing a bit of work to remove them, then consider one of the fine, economy or premium surface netting options, like The Pond Guy Fine Mesh Cover Net, the DeWitt Economy Pond Netting or The Pond Guy Pond Cover Net.
Pond Talk: What tricks do you use to keep leaves from landing in your pond or water feature?