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 50Â° 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.
As it gets cooler and the water temperatures begin dipping into the lower 70Â°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 50Â°F, it is time to stop feeding.
Keep Your Feature Running:
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 youâ€™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.
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.