Fall is plenty upon us, and the changes of the season are clear, from the color of the trees to the presence of the deer. If you have a backyard or community pond that is starting to see the effects of fall as well, it’s time to start taking action to protect it. Here are a few tips on how to keep a large pond clean in the fall.
Make a Habit of Removing Debris
The most immediate issue for your water will be the added debris that comes with the season. Leaf litter and branches that fall in or around the water can interrupt the biome and cause harm to the fish inside. The decay of this organic debris also creates sludge at the bottom of unaerated, natural ponds that will start to smell in time.
Unless you plan to use leaf netting on the surface of the water, taking some time each week to skim the surface until ice forms will help keep the fish inside healthy.
Begin Limited Fish Feedings
If you or your family enjoy stepping out to feed the fish in the local pond, it’s important to know that you should cut back on the amount you feed them before winter starts. If the temperature is below 60 degrees, their metabolism will slow down, and any additional food beyond what they’re capable of eating will just rot in the water.
Keep Livestock and Wildlife Out
Wildlife becomes more active in the fall during the mad dash to prepare for winter, even in Arkansas. Increased animal activity across the state can spell trouble for your pond, especially if you’ve curated the fish housed inside yourself.
Birds, raccoons, and bobcats might try to use your pond as a source of food. The more active wildlife around your pond, the more you’ll have to contend with fish remains, animal feces, and oils in your water.
In early fall, before the temperatures cool further, local livestock is another issue to be aware of. Cooling off in the pond or grazing through the foliage around it is a temptation for domesticated animals as much as it is for wildlife, and farm animals bring with them the same problems for your pond.
Making sure to keep a large pond clean in the fall only does half of the work needed to keep the body of water healthy. There are several other factors of the season that can impact a pond’s health and will need to be addressed to keep your pond at its best. Taking the time now to help your pond thrive through the fall will only make it stronger for winter later!