Winterizing Your Pond

Preparing your pond for the winter does not have to be a difficult job. Just follow these few steps and your pond will be ready come spring time.

Fall Leaves and Debris:

Placing a pond net over your feature before the leaves begin falling is an easy way to minimize debris in the pond. Once the majority of leaves have fallen, simply remove the netting, disregard the leaves and store the netting away for the next time you need it.

If you did not get a chance to get that net up this season you most likely have a buildup of leaves and debris at the bottom of your pond. Using a long handled pond net, you can easily scoop out the majority of this debris. If you for spring just remember that the decomposing debris will certainly create a bigger mess next year.

It is also a good idea to trim and remove any dying or dead plant material around the pond and in the marginal areas as they too will decompose over winter leaving a mess next spring. Submerged hardy plants like lilies should be cut back above the base of the plant.

Cold Water Bacteria:

Add a cold water bacteria solution to help keep your pond water clean and clear. This beneficial bacteria solution is adapted to work in temperatures lower than 50° F to help reduce organic material and reduce ammonia, nitrite and other excess nutrients. Regular use of this bacteria solution throughout the cold months will help maintain water quality and reduce spring maintenance.

Healthy Fish:

As it gets cooler and the water temperatures begin dipping into the lower 70°F, your fish will have a more difficult time digesting their usual food. Switching to a wheat germ base fish food will keep them happy and full of the nutrients they need to bulk up for the winter months while being easily digestible. Be careful not to overfeed. You can feed 2-3 times a day what they’ll eat in 5 minutes or less, then remove any excess food. When the water temperatures fall below 50°F, it is time to stop feeding.


Keep Your Feature Running:

Ice formations on one of our display pond with basalt columns.

Running your feature year round can provide ever-changing and strikingly beautiful ice formations that create a wonderful addition to your winter landscape. If this is the route for you, make sure to top off your feature periodically throughout the winter as evaporation is still happening. Also inspect streams and channels for ice formations that may dam up the water flow and lead to unnecessary water loss.

Shutting Down Your Pond:

If you decide to shut down your pond for the winter months, here are tips on what you’ll need to do:

- Remove the pump from the pond, storing it in a warm place.

- Drain water from any pond plumbing as the freeze thaw cycle can cause pipe cracking within the system

- Remove and clean any filter media used in your system and store them in a warm place along with your pump.

- As the pump is no longer running, oxygenating the water is important. Place a small re-circulating aeration pump on the top shelf of your pond. This will help keep a hole in your iced over pond to allow harmful gasses to escape and oxygen to get into the water.

- In areas where the aeration pump will not be enough to keep a hole in the forming ice, consider adding a pond heater. This product will prevent a portion of your pond from freezing over and allow for the necessary gasses to transfer in and out of the water.

Birds migrate to fresh water sources during the cold winter months.

Taking these steps to prepare your pond for winter will help your fish survive hibernation while also making your spring maintenance easier. If you need any help in preparing this winter, contact Cedar Run Landscapes.

Lawn Care and Renovation

The lawn is often thought of as an extension of our home. It’s a place were families gather to relax and have fun. But keeping a green lush lawn means understanding the requirements of our lawn and providing the appropriate conditions they need to thrive. Such things as drought, excessive shade, poor drainage, soil compaction, inadequate fertility, acid soils, infestations, disease, thatch build-up, improper mowing, poorly adapted grass species, and others may contribute to poor lawn performance.

Cool Season Grasses:

Most lawns in the Philadelphia region consist of cool season grasses, like perennial rye, Kentucky bluegrass and the fescues. These grass species thrive during the cooler seasons of fall and spring and can handle the freezing conditions and snow cover of winter. It’s during the hot and dry summers that these grasses struggle, often going dormant and turning brown.

 Soil Conditions:

One of the first important steps to a successful lawn is to assess your soil conditions. Check the degree of compaction and amount of topsoil present. Also it is essential to get a soil test done.  You can easily purchase a test kit from a university or private test lab. A soil test report will provide you with information about pH and lime levels and the amount of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium and organic matter in the soil. Along with the test results, test sites will often provide recommendations for liming, soil amendments and fertilizing. Taking these steps will help you determine the best course to take in improving your lawn.

Helpful tips to improve your lawn:

 Mow Right

  • Cut lawn at 3” or higher, not cutting more than â…“ of the leaf tissue
  • Mow frequently during active growth
  • Leave clippings on your lawn, clippings containing important nutrients that will return to the soil, significantly reducing the need for fertilizer applications.
  • Make sure mowing blades are sharp

 Feed Right

  • Choose a complete fertilizer (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) made for lawns
  • Read and follow all directions when applying
  • Spring and early fall are the best times to feed
  • Sweep products off hard surfaces and back into the lawn

Water Right

  • Its okay for lawns to go dormant during the summer
  • If you choose to water during the summer do it early in the morning
  • Water deeply and infrequently, about 1” a week when there is inadequate rain fall.
  • Frequent light watering encourages shallow rooting and germination of weed seeds

 Lawn Renovation

 If you have been struggling  to get a successfully established lawn it might be time to do a full lawn overhall. Lawn renovations restore failing lawn and with the arrival of cooler temperatures, September signals the perfect time to renovate thin, tired, weak, and wore out lawns.

Basic Steps for Renovating a Lawn

Step

Options

Comments

Weed Control Physically Pull For large or spreading weeds; won’t kill all weeds.
Broadleaf Herbicide If weeds are primarily non-grasses.
Nonselective Herbicide   Kills most green vegetation; allow 5-14 days to effectively kill the plants.
 Thatch Removal Vigorous Hand Raking Not practical for extreme thatch problem or large areas.
Vertical Mower Can be rented or hired; can also be used to prepare seedbed.
Sod Cutter Recommended for extreme thatch problem; can be rented or hired.
Soil Preparation Vigorous Hand Raking For small sites with little vegetation remaining.
Aeration 3-5 passes with commercial aerifier; especially recommended if soil is compacted.
Vertical Mowing Tines should nick surface to a depth of ⅛-½ inch.
 Fertilize Nitrogen (N) Phosphorus (P) Potassium (K) ½ pound of N per 1000 square feet; P and K as determined by a soil test.
Seeding  Hand For small sites mix 1 part seed with 4 parts fine sawdust or a natural organic fertilizer such as Milorganite.
Rotary Spreader Preferred method if mixed with sawdust or Milorganite.
Drop Spreader Seed in 2 directions or overlap ½ way.
Slit Seeder Equipment can be rented but requires skill; generally best done by professionals
Irrigate Water lightly to provide good seed-soil contact; then, water lightly twice daily to rewet soil surface. Don’t allow to become soggy.
Mow At 3½ inches, mow to 2½ inches with sharp mower; continue regular mowing as needed.

Other Helpful Links:

Penn State University’s Center for Turfgrass Science Home Lawns Website

Using Composts to Improve Turf Performance

Recycling Turfgrass Clippings

Meadows and Prairies: Wildlife-Friendly Alternatives to Lawn