Winterization: Closing down the pond

We’ve said goodbye to summer and are now moving into the final days of fall. It’s time to begin closing down the pond for the winter. By now, many of you have already begun the preparations. You’ve changed your fish’s diet and have begun to slow down feedings and hopefully ordered all the products you will need to protect your pond and keep it clean and ice-free this winter. Now, it’s just a matter of taking the steps necessary to close down the pond until next spring.

One of the best things you can do for your pond this winter (and all the life living in it) is to install a heater or de-icer. Your fish (as well as bacteria and other degrading organics) will continue to breath and omit gases throughout the winter. They need an outlet for the toxic gases that can build up. A pond de-icer will keep air flowing through your pond, helping to maintain the health of the fish all winter long.

While part of the pond should always remain uncovered (for all the reasons above), depending on your winter temperatures, you may want to keep most of your pond completely covered throughout the winter. This will insulate and protect your fish from both the cold and any hungry predators that happen by. You can add a pond net but even a piece of plywood would help. Covering just reduces the chance of problems occurring and gives you peace of mind.

Be sure to remove any built up leaves and debris that may accumulate on the netting or cover. Rotting vegetation emits gases that are toxic to fish so they must be removed to protect fish health. Bring any sensitive, non-hardy aquatic plants indoors for the winter, as well.

If there is any chance that your pond can freeze solid we recommend that you remove your equipment (pumps, filters and UV) to a covered storage such as a garage. Thoroughly rinse and dry your equipment prior to storage. If you plan on keeping a pump working throughout the winter, it is best not to keep a functioning waterfall. While a white icy waterfall can be beautiful to look at it is not recommended as it can easily end up draining all the water from your pond. Submersible pumps should be raised off the bottom of the pond so you do not super-cool the pond water.

The winter pond is a quiet place, a place of hibernation and patience. While the pond sleeps, spring and all the possibilities it will bring is right around the corner. Stay tuned to this blog throughout the winter for interesting and innovative water gardening ideas. Stay inspired! It’s never too early to plan for next year!

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