Leave leaves

Leaves naturally fall into water - an animals make use of the food and shelter these leaves provide

Leaves naturally fall into water - and provide food and shelter for pond animals

I read on the website of….(well, lets draw a veil over who exactly) that:

‘During autumn, falling leaves should be skimmed off the pond surface’.

And from another even more august source:

‘During the autumn trees and bushes will shed their leaves, these will have to be removed to prevent them decomposing in the water.

The idea that you should stop leaves falling into ponds is widely believed but its not true.

Why? Because having dead leaves in ponds is perfectly natural.

In fact, leaves have been falling into ponds for millions of years, providing food and shelter for bottom dwelling animals.

In my pond I see water beetles and backswimmers hunting for food amongst leaves on the bottom of the pond – they’re probably chasing midge larvae, worms and mayflies that live amongst the leaves.

The common water slater lives amongst decaying leaves, eating the fungi and bacteria that break down the leaves

The common water slater lives amongst decaying leaves, eating the fungi and bacteria that break down the leaves

Caddis larvae chop up leaves to make cases; some even use little bits of bark.

And the larvae of hoverflies often live amongst decaying leaves.

Leaves may help to keep the water clear too: leaves release tannins – the chemicals that makes tea brown –  and tannins kill algae, so may help to keep the water clear.



6 Responses to “Leave leaves”

  1. Flying Ants Says:

    I’ve read on one or two places on the web that its vital to keep sycamore leaves out of ponds. Is this one of the myths again? There are a couple of large sycamore trees about 20m from my pond in a nearby garden, and a few leaves frequently blow into the garden. Should I worry about this? Or just let a few of them settle in the pond like other leaves in autumn?

  2. Jeremy Biggs Says:

    Hi Flying Ants – I’ve written a bit about leaves: I think we’ll have more to come on this as well.

    I think a few leaves should be fine – I’d let them settle and see what happens.


  3. jonspond Says:

    Hi Jeremy looks like people are changing their advice on pond management

    ‘Clearing dead vegetation and adding more oxygenating weed now should help hibernating frogs in your pond make it though icy winter weather.’

    Well almost…..

  4. Pond is full of water and leaves! « Pond at 38 Nursery Rd Blog Says:

    […] the garden pond blog is a must when looking at garden ponds in a different light. The recent rain has filled the garden […]

  5. Roanne Says:

    I created a new pond in August. I bought my native plants online from a good source & seemed to get quite a bit of pond life in with the plants.

    I have read that leaves should be taken out of the pond – but when I take out the leaves (including sycamore) I find snails of various sizes & other creepy crawlies hanging on to the leaves. It doesn’t seem right to take away their shelter so I end up putting them back again!

  6. Now I am doing it – looking for myths in pond advice « Pond at 38 Nursery Rd Blog Says:

    […] Whoops I have sited my pond right next to a few bushes and small trees – these provide dabbled shade and there is currently plenty of leaves in my pond. I also have plants growing in my pond quite nicely. Here is a post on the garden pond blog about leaving leaves […]

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