With Hallowe’en in the rearview mirror and the clocks turned back this can only mean one thing: WINTER IS COMING. Luckily here on the west coast all that really means is that it will probably rain a little bit more but nevertheless you should prepare to winterize your pond in the coming weeks. You never know what Mother Nature may bring so here are a few suggestions:
Once the leaves and needles have finished falling from the trees you will want to get in and remove as much of that debris as possible. If you have used pond netting this will be as easy as rolling the net up and discarding the leaves. If you have not used netting then you can scoop them out manually with your hand or a long handled pond net. This is an important step as the less decaying plant material on the bottom of your pond, the easier your life will be next Spring.
For the same reason listed above you will also want to cut back any dead or dying foliage on your water plants. Hardy lilies can be cut back just above the base of the plant. Maginals can also be cut back at this time.
Next you will want to add some cold water bacteria. This will ensure that your water stays clean and clear over the winter months. Cold water bacteria is designed to work in water 10C or cooler and should be applied regularly throughout the winter (read the label for exact dosage and frequency). This bacteria will again reduce Spring maintenance by breaking down any organic debris left in the pond.
STOP FEEDING YOUR FISH. If the water is in the 10-20 degree Celsius range then you can still feed but only with a cold water fish food. Once it’s below 10C you must stop feeding. Your fish are essentially hibernating at that point and they cannot digest food – continuing to feed them at that point can be very detrimental to their health.
Last but not least…. Out west we always recommend that people leave their water feature running throughout the winter. There really isn’t a reason to shut it down and your fish and plants will be much happier with the ecosystem running year round. You will want to maintain a hole in any ice that may form on colder days to ensure that the debris breaking down on the bottom can gas out. You can achieve this with a pond heater or more commonly by moving your pump closer to the surface of the water and simply have it churn away with no hose attached. This also adds oxygen to the water and will keep your feature a bit warmer as you’re not recirculating the coldest layer at the bottom of the pond.
Make sure to keep an eye on your water level as evaporation is still occurring during the winter. Also watch for ice dams that may form in your stream and divert water out.
Enjoy the Season!
Contact Streamworks Designs for all of your water feature maintenance needs.