Life gets busy and a lot of responsibilities fall by the wayside. Winterizing your pond may be one of those tasks that just fell through the cracks and now you are wondering, is it too late to winterize the pond? Should the prep have started in fall? Yes, but it’s ok. We have some last minute guidelines to follow to get your pond geared up for winter.
Is your pond frozen over? If the answer is no then congratulations! You are not too behind to whip that pond into shape to handle the frigid cold. Although you are a little late to the game, there are still some tasks you can to do to prep your water garden.
The task of removing leaves will help to make sure there is no decaying debris in the bottom of your pond. Pond nets are suggested to cover the surface to catch any falling leaves, but if the trees are already bare you can take a fish net and clear the water of any leaves and debris. Cutting back aquatic and marginal plants will help to prevent any decomposing material over the cold winter months. Using an additive with beneficial bacteria like pond cleaner tablets through out the season will help to break down any left over organic material and keep the water quality high so there will be less work when you reopen the pond in spring.
Keeping a pump going through the winter months can be a good idea as it adds oxygen to the water to keep those fish and plants alive and thriving. It also helps the water not to freeze over because constantly moving water, even if it is slow, seems to resist the freeze. However, having a water heater is a good purchase to ensure that water does not freeze in the pump compromising its quality and effectiveness. Assuming your pond isn’t frozen yet, getting a deicer is recommended to ensure there will always be an open hole in the ice. One of the most important things to remember about winter is to keep the pond surface from freezing solid to allow the exchange of toxic gases to escape the water into the air. If the pond freezes solid and there are too many animals under the ice, carbon dioxide will build up in the pond and oxygen will become depleted leading to fish and plant kills.
To successfully keep your fish or koi alive, you will need to change their feeding patterns when it gets to 60 degrees or below. If the temperature has dropped to 50 degrees or below, it may be too late to change the diet of your fish or koi if that hasn’t been done already. At 60 degrees, they should switch to a low protein content diet and fed two to three times a week. When the temperature drops under 50 degrees you should stop feeding altogether.
So if there’s no ice yet then you are all in the clear! Follow these guidelines and you can ensure that your pond will be healthy come spring when it’s time to reopen.