Towards the end of summer,here in Colorado, there are sometimes wildfires. These often cause ash to fall into the air and into our ponds prompting us to ask, "Will ash hurt my pond?"
Falling ash problems are nothing compared to having to evacuate because of fire or losing ones' home. We send anyone affected by fires our love and hope they are safe!
How much ash is accumulating?
Ponds and streams are susceptible and almost defenseless against the very fine airborne ash when there is a fire nearby. Ash and sediment can be problematic for ponds and fish health. It is mainly composed of organic matter from burned plant material and contains concentrated nutrients.
This should not be an issue unless you really have a noticeable amount of ash collecting in your yard. If this is the case, you will likely see it in the pond and there may be an excess of foam. Ash can clog up the gills of a fish making it difficult for them to get oxygen from the water and if severe enough, can kill them.
The contents of ash raises the pH level of the water. If your area is experiencing a high level of ash fallout you need to do a water change to make sure fish can obtain oxygen from the pond water without getting clogged gills. Make sure to use a dechlorinator when you are adding hose water as it contains chlorine.
In most cases, you might see a small amount of ash and may not realize it is there at all. You may notice it as dissipated foam on the pond from the ash as shown in the picture below. Keep an eye on the fish to make sure they aren't acting oddly.
Small amounts of ash should not harm the system.
This organic ash has a high potassium content. Potassium is a great nutrient for the plants in your pond. If there is ash falling, but not collecting in the yard, it could actually be beneficial.
I would not be surprised if the ash caused an algae bloom at first and then as the plants grow more vigorously with the added potassium, the algae will lessen. The plants will look lavish and lovely and as they do they algae should diminish.
Ash won't kill algae, but a small amount of it can actually benefit the plants. Want to learn more about pond algae and what to do about it? Click HERE.