A Note on Wetland Filters

You may have heard of the term “wetland filter” but what are they, exactly? And what does “back flush the wetland” mean? 

Wetland Filter: method used to filter ponds and waterfall systems. They typically look like shallow streams which have plants growing in them but below that friendly, bubbly surface great things are happening.

Wetland filters have deep pockets of rocks. Water is pushed through the rocks to be cleaned. The rocks capture leaves and debris. Rocks also harbor beneficial bacteria. The bacteria help break down excess nutrients in the water which also helps control algae growth. Additionally, the rocks provide a planting medium for native marginals and colorful, annual moisture loving plants!

The plant roots grab nutrients from the water as well, further cleaning the water returning to the pond. You should expect the plants to cover half or more of a wetland filter.

Back Flushing: Essentially, back flushing the wetland means it will get cleaned by using water to push out the material trapped in the rocks. Once the material is pushed or “flushed” down stream, it will be cleaned out and removed from the system. 

How often the filter is cleaned depends on how much debris falls into the pond.

In spring and fall, the larger debris is easily moved off the rocks by hand. Once a year or every other year, a power washer helps when back flushing the fine particles trapped in the rocks.

Properly sizing your wetland filter depends on several key factors such as “How big is the pond? Does it have fish? Does the pond have plants in it, around it, or near it(like trees).” Usually, making the filter bigger rather than smaller will give better results. They are typically built too small.

There are many pond filtering systems and methods available but wetland filters, by far, very closely mimic Mother Nature’s way of cleaning the water!

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