I'm planning to never net my pond.


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We're building our pond to be something beautiful and enjoyable all year round. I feel like netting it in the fall/winter would spoil that enjoyment.

What that means, I believe, is that I will have leaf debris—and a lot of it—to manage. No trees close by right now, but I'm going to plant some.

I wonder if the reason so many folks net their pond for fall/winter is because they also shut down the pumps and, therefore, no skimmer?

My plan to avoid having to net the pond is:

1. Don't turn off the pumps. I will plan to have a current in the pond, running towards the skimmer all year round.
2. Redirect the waterfalls. I will plumb my streams/waterfalls in a way where I can shut off the falls and redirect the water directly into the pond to act like big jets. That way, no risk of losing water to overflows from ice, but still keeping the water moving.
3. Negative edge skimmer. Once debris is out of the pond, it can't get back in. And the collection area is massive, so no need to tend to it constantly.

Is this enough? Anything I'm missing that would make the no-net plan stronger?
 
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No - people net their ponds because they get so many leaves that the skimmer makes very little difference. Most leaves are hitting ponds before they're turned off for winter. If your pond isn't surrounded by a lot of mature trees that drop billions of leaves, you're probably fine with your plan. But I can tell you we have zero trees that drop leaves near our pond and STILL get so many blown in from neighbors yards that we have to scoop every spring. And that's with a waterfall that runs all year and a negative edge to collect it all.
 
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No - people net their ponds because they get so many leaves that the skimmer makes very little difference. Most leaves are hitting ponds before they're turned off for winter. If your pond isn't surrounded by a lot of mature trees that drop billions of leaves, you're probably fine with your plan. But I can tell you we have zero trees that drop leaves near our pond and STILL get so many blown in from neighbors yards that we have to scoop every spring. And that's with a waterfall that runs all year and a negative edge to collect it all.
Oh wow. I was hoping you would come and tell me how your negative edge catches everything and you never have to do any netting. Haha.
 
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Nope. I wish!

One thing that does help with the blow in debris is lots of plants around the edge. Leave anything that will stay upright or at least not droop into the pond standing until spring - they stop a lot of things from ending up in the pond.
 
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One Fall I didn't net the pond due to a death and complications that came with it. Long story...

Anyway when Spring came there was a ton of debris on the bottom. Plus minute particles were floating after I netted it all. The particles were the debris that had started decomposing already.

So, basically it was a mess.

I do have a LOT of trees though.

I won't make that mistake again.
 
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Oh, I leave my net up from Fall to Spring because a lot of leaves blow around. It can get quite windy here at times.

If we did that here we would 100% end up with the net in the water at least some years. Drop 30 inches of snow on any net and it's going down... then I'd have a net full of leaves frozen in the ice, is my fear!
 
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If we did that here we would 100% end up with the net in the water at least some years. Drop 30 inches of snow on any net and it's going down... then I'd have a net full of leaves frozen in the ice, is my fear!
We get tons of snow.
My 3/4" pvc framed net is surprisingly flexible.
When we get a lot of snow, it will collapse sometimes, but when it thaws, it pops right back up!
Pretty amazing!
 
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I think it can certainly be done with success - as long as you go into it knowing you will have extra work. I think most of us really enjoy puttering about in the pond, so you might have fun with it. I have a smallish pond and a skimmer. I do net in the fall because the pond is under a huge oak tree. The net keeps most of those leaves out - but my Black Gum tree has small leaves that can fall through the net holes. Another nearby oak has skinny little leaves that are a huge pain in the butt! And the acorns. Oh my gosh, the acorns are the worst. I think the most frustrating part is trying to clean out hundreds of slimy acorns AND dealing with the leaves that get stuck in all the plants. I just have my husband "babysit" me while I'm in it up to my ribcage. (He helps me maneuver under the net. ) He gets to enjoy the pond AND the comedy show of a short, middle aged woman trying to reach down for acorns without falling in. The great thing about our ponds is that we can adapt to different circumstances as we go along. Maybe you will do a year or two with no net and then later decide to use one. And that's no problem at all! :)
 
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I'm in the 'does not net' camp of ponding. There are pros & cons (as there are with everything in life) so I'll just give you my take on it -

Pro - esthetics. I don't have a predator/heron problem that would necessitate a net, and I don't like the way nets look, so the 'leaf catching' aspect for me, personally, isn't worth it.

Cons - I do utilize traditional skimmers, and there are times that I actually have to put a large branch on the water's surface in front of them overnight in order to keep the debris from totally filling the basket, which leads to the pump coming close to 'starving'. This might happen a few times in the fall during leaf drop, and occasionally in the Spring during seed drop. (I live in the middle of the woods & my pond is literally surrounded on all sides by acres of forest/trees)

I do have to spend time using a manual net to scoop out leaves & debris on a regular basis. As was already mentioned, I like 'puttering' around the pond, so this is really a minor inconvenience on occasion. Doesn't really bother me too much.

What I DO do is: Run the pumps, and therefore skimmers, all year. Zone 7a - depending on the winter I might have to float a deicer in front of one of the skimmers to make sure there's open water in front of it.
We also put up a 4' high *horizontal* net across the NW open area about 12' away from the pond over the fall/winter to stop leaves from blowing in during winter wind storms. While I still don't like the aesthetic look of the 'leaf fence' (we use plastic mesh deer fence) it's a compromise. It's only on one side & stopping the massive blow in of leaves, which is WAY worse than the original direct falling/dropping, IS worth it to me.

So, yes, it can be done with trees & no nets. Once again, personal preference is a big thing in ponding.
 

j.w

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I live in Arlington in the Pacific N.W and I don't turn anything but the aerator off in the winter. I don't have a problem w/leaves but if I did not have a net I would be saying goodbye to all my fish as Mr Heron would stick around until every one of them was sushi o_O
 

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At my first pond I built 25 or so years ago at my first house, I put a net up for just the months of October/November, while the leaves were falling then took it back down. Otherwise, the pond would be absolutely filled with leaves, but once the initial leaf drop period was over it was fine.

The current pond has a wide weave net up up over it but isn’t for the leaves. Here I put nothing up for leaves, as there is only one large maple tree near the pond and not too many leaves get in there.

I would say between your skimmer and negative edge, you can capture most of the leaves before they sink. Especially if you are putting in jets and can get the circulation in the pond right so everything ends up where You want it.
 
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I try to minimize the use of nets anywhere. I have captured and killed too may forms of wildlife to continue with nets.
 
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I strongly suggest thinking about the flight path of birds. Now i may have gone a bit over board and installed a 20 foot tall telephone wood pole. from there a cable goes to the garage and another to the house . With a third cable trung across the two over the center of the pond. a growing hedge under one side and the other has the golf net. this gets slid back to the side like a swaged curtain and pretty much left that way . I to did not want a net over my pond while i was sitting on the patio.
 
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I stopped netting my pond after I got tired releasing trapped birds from it everyday. Some cases they were already dead...caught and then drowned. Tons of birds use my pond to drink and bathe in. And then all of a sudden there’s a net there? But the last few years has been a pain netting up literal pounds of wet rotting leaves from my pond almost every day...and I still had to spend a day in spring trying clean up the mess. I dunno. Im at a loss as well what to do.
 
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@seandelevan what if you built a more solid structure with tight screening instead of loose netting? I've seen people build almost a hut type structure out of PVC and then put netting or even screening - very taut - over that. The birds might run into it but they wouldn't get caught up in the netting. I guess much depends on the shape and size of your pond. The best idea I've seen for catching leaves is a tent shaped net over the pond so the leaves that fall on it slide right down. I can't imagine trying to haul a net full of wet leaves off the pond without creating even more of a mess than I had to start with! Luckily this isn't a real big problem for me... yet. The neighbor behind us planted two pin oaks, and we are starting to see more and more oak leaves in the fall. So far we do fine with the scooping in the fall and again in the spring.
 
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No net = no fish for my urban pond. The feral cats, raccoons, and hawks daily scout the netted pond that also has a small shade-providing pergola in what otherwise would be a concrete inferno in my urban environment. The pond is small, 4000 gallons, 5' x 20' with 15 large (12" to 18") koi and several gold fish that I've had for 17 years. (After last year's spawn, there are also smaller fish that we're trying to catch for rehoming.) I wish there was a more attractive way to protect them...the net is unattractive. We do leave the bog (5' x 3') unnetted.
By the way...does anyone have any experience with floating pond protectors that can be found on eBay, the hexagonal plastic grids that connect to cover a pond?
 
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Hawks are looking at your fish . At least they won't be catching one. But they will gladly take a frog or a snake
 

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