Water Gardens, Ponds and Trees

When choosing a location for your pond or water garden, trees can be a big problem. While providing welcoming shade they can cause numerous problems when they drop their leaves and flowers in your pond.

First, the benefits of trees. You never want your pond to be in full sunlight all day, every day. This can easily heat the temperature of the water up to lethal levels, killing off all fish, frogs and plants who are sheltering there. It can promote the activity of unhealthy algae.

The natural shade from trees can be beneficial to your pond - especially if you want to keep fish or other wildlife. Those animals need to be able to regulate their body temperature by seeking out cooler, shaded areas when the sun gets too hot. Shade can also help keep algae growth in check naturally.

On the down side, trees tend to have leaves or needles. Depending on the type of tree and the weather of your location, these will often be shed, falling into your pond. If these biological materials are not removed immediately, high ammonia surges can occur. These can cause cloudiness, odor, and even death to your pond's inhabitants.

While an active filtration and pump system can help minimize the damage, it can also easily clog up and get overwhelmed. Many people do not have the hours necessary to do this kind of pond maintenance by hand.

The ideal solution is to find a balance between these two situations. Try your best to choose a site for your pond that is only partially shaded. While leaves are bad, actual fruit items or showers of flower petals are far worse. Make sure your pond is not located under a flowering or fruit tree. Examples of these would be locust trees, apple trees, tulip trees, rodedendrums and so on. Try to choose a tree which sheds as little as possible - or at least tends to shed all at once at one time of year. An oak tree which drops all of its leaves en masse in the fall isn't so bad to deal with, vs a tree which sheds leaves and debris 365 days a year.

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