5 Steps to Prepare Your Pond for Cold Weather
With winter just around the corner, now is this the time to prepare your pond for the season ahead. To make spring maintenance much easier, take these steps to winterize your pond now.
Remove leaves and debris
Dying leaves and debris must be removed from your pond as they will decay and pollute the water. Before the leaves fall, put protective netting over the surface of your pond. To make removal simple, leave the netting there until the leaves are completely off the trees, then roll it up. If you do not have pond netting, remove any leaves that accumulate in the water with a long-handled net. Simply pull the net along the pond’s bottom, and scoop out the debris.
Cut back plants and foliage
In addition to leaves, marginal aquatic plants have the potential to wilt into the water, and should be cut back. After your lilies and other hardy plants have stopped growing, cut back dying foliage to just above the base of the plant.
Shut down the pump
If winter temperatures are moderate, you can continue to run pumps to keep the pond surface from freezing. If winter temperatures become more extreme, you should reduce the circulation of the pond water by turning off the pump for the cold winter months. Doing so will reduce the risk of ice dams that can form and lead to loss of pond water from a leak. Once the water temperature drops to around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, be sure to:
- shut down fountains, waterfalls and above-ground water features.
- disconnect the UV clarifier.
- disconnect pump and filters, and store indoors.
If your pond is home to fish, they will be lounging near the pond’s bottom for the winter. Since the moving water from the pump mixes up thermal layers in the winter, making the water near the bottom colder and dangerous for fish, it is best to turn it off.
Protect any fish
When water temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the metabolism and digestion of fish begins to slow down. At this point, feed fish a wheat-germ based food they can easily digest. Wean them down to one or two weekly feedings. Then stop feeding fish once the water temperature dips into the upper 40s, since they can have enough energy reserves to survive the winter season. And that netting you used for leaves? It can also protect your sleepy fish from predators!
Taking the time to prepare your pond for winter will make all the difference when spring returns. Contact our experts for more information or with any questions on winterizing your pond!