Lake experts often talk about the dangers of excessive fall foliage. Many lake management guides even suggest clearing the south lake shore of trees. But you may wonder, is it really that bad to let leaves gather in a lake? After all, it must happen all the time in natural, unmanaged bodies of water, right? It turns out there are both pros and cons to allowing natural fall foliage in a lake.
Why Leaves Can Benefit Lake Maintenance
Depending on your location, there are many species of fauna that might appreciate having some fall leaves rotting in your lake water. Leaf litter is an important habitat for some insects, including some dragonfly species. And, decaying leaves create a food source for detritivores (detritus-eating animals) like freshwater shrimp.
Ways Leaves Can Harm Lake Maintenance
First of all, why do experts say that fall leaves are harmful to lakes? Because, as leaves decompose, the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water is lowered. If oxygen levels drop too much, fish and other aquatic inhabitants may begin dying off. So, too many dying leaves could spell disaster for a lake’s ecosystem.
As leaves continue to decay, they also release nutrients into the water. In spring, those nutrients will become food for algae. While in small amounts, this may not be a problem, an excess of leaves can contribute to out-of-control algae blooms.
But it’s not all bad news! There are ways to combat the effects of excess foliage in your lake water.
Lake Maintenance Solutions for Excess Fall Leaves
As with most aspects of lake maintenance, the question of how to handle falling leaves is more complicated than it might at first seem. While some fall foliage in your lake can help its local inhabitants, too much detritus should be avoided. If you are in charge of lake management, pay close attention to the trees surrounding your lake this fall, and make sure to keep the ecosystem in proper balance. Use products like The BlockTM Bio-Maintenance to help reduce the nutrient load if you are facing an excessive amount of leaves.