If you have a waterfall to make your landscape truly elegant, you’ve no doubt seen something that’s not so savvy floating in the water and creeping up the stone or brick walls. That unsightly growth is algae and you certainly don’t want your beautiful water feature to play host to something so ugly and unhealthy.
It’s often an unpleasant reality, you have a wonderful waterfall put in your yard, and enjoy the sound of the streaming water, along with the relaxing and memorizing sight of it cascading into a pool. The awe reaches a new level after the sun goes down, when you can watch the water dance under the colorful lights.
Algae isn’t supposed to be part of the picture and the longer you wait to do something about it, the more it will overtake your waterfall, covering everything eventually. Left unchecked, it will also leave colored stains, which are quite difficult to remove. The quicker you act, the less of a task it will be to rid your waterfall of the growth, so, time is of the essence.
Proper Outdoor Water Feature Maintenance
When you had the water feature installed, you were probably told that it would require regular maintenance. That includes changing out the filter, keeping an eye on the volume of water flow, occasionally checking for leaks, and monitoring the water level in the pond at the base. You should be emptying your skimmer basket regularly every two weeks. Take a few minutes to empty it and check its condition. Should it be brittle or have holes, it’s time for to put in a replacement.
Where there is moisture, sunlight and organic material, algae is typically present. Waterfall maintenance should include controlling and preventing algae. Algae need nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus, and sunlight to form. These nutrients typically enter a pondless waterfall in the form of decaying leaves and plants or lawn fertilizers. —San Francisco Chronicle
Occasionally, you might see the water flow drop, and that’s usually do to a pump that’s becoming clogged. Over time, debris will collect at the bottom of the part, so, you’ll need to turn off the power, and disconnect the pump. Clean out any and all debris, rinse it out to ensure you’ve got all those tiny pieces. During the late fall and winter months, the tropical storms of the summer and first months of fall will fall off, and fewer rain showers will creep over the Sarasota coast. Because the sun will continue to shine brightly, your pond is likely to experience a bit of water loss. That’s a simple fix, drop the end of a garden hose into the pond, turn on the spigot, and fill it again.
Effectively Getting Rid of Waterfall Algae
Dealing with algae is an ongoing battle you’ll have to wage. It’s not as simple as set it and forget it, but it can be greatly mitigated so it isn’t a constant problem that needs attention. There are three types of algae: green water, string, and filamentous. The first typically floats freely in the water and only when it grows large, is visible. String algae resembles long, green hair, and will overtake everything it touches. It will not only grow over things, it will get into every nook and crevice. Filamentous algae is definitely the most unsightly, looking much like green, clumpy vomit.
When you begin to notice algae forming in your waterfall pond, it will steadily grow unless you stop it from doing so. Here are some ways for getting rid of waterfall algae:
- Add water lettuce to your pond. Plants such as water lettuce do something that effectively combats algae from growing, deprive it of precious nutrients. Algae needs “food” to grow, and if you introduce quick-growing, or large-growing plants, those will soak up the nutrients, keeping algae from forming.
- Pull the weeds at the roots. For string algae, a simple, but wet, way to get rid of it is to do what you would in a garden or planter, pull the weeds. Grab the largest clumps of string algae by the roots and steadily pull them out. Don’t yank the roots though, or they might break and reform over time.
- Drop in Koi fish. Koi fish do pretty much the same thing as water lettuce, they eat nutrients and are also quite fond of eating things like algae and can quickly cut it down. The trick is to feed Koi less, keeping them from being overfed. If you do, they’ll remain hungry and eat what’s naturally being provided.
- Apply an algae control agent. Of course, an algae control agent is also a way to get rid of growth. Apply it according to the manufacturer’s instructions and let it do its job.
Once you’ve rid the pond of it, use a brush to brush away any remnants.
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