It’s safe to say that winter is well on its way, so it’s time to prepare your pond for the colder weather. Put together a set of equipment, including a pond vacuum, plant scissors, tongs and maybe a net. This way you are well prepared for every season as it arrives.
Plants and Trees
First of all remove any delicate or exotic plants. They won’t be able to survive during a frost. Remove and wrap the roots in damp newspaper and then in bin liners or plastic bags. Keep in a heated shed or cellar during the cold season, making sure that the roots are kept moist.
Trim back any plants that remain in the pond. Overgrowth can lead to a lack of light and oxygen to the water, causing problems for fish. It’s also a good idea to trim back any plants or trees that hang over the pond, for the same reasons. This is also a safety precaution in case of high winds or snow build-up which can cause branches to break.
Cleaning and Heating
Using a pond vacuum, remove sludge from the base of the pond. This will avoid a build-up of toxins that can harm fish and plants, especially if the pond freezes.
A pond heater can be a useful tool. Pop a surface heater in the pond, and this will make sure that a ‘blow hole’ is created. This means that toxins can escape and oxygen can enter the pond for the optimum health conditions for both fish and plants.
If you have a Koi pond, you may wish to use an ‘in-pond heater’ to fully heat the water. This too will stop the surface freezing over.
Fish enter a type of hibernation in cold weather and retreat to the bottom of the pond. However some don’t, so will require feeding. Feed very little to avoid a build-up of waste, and try to remove any uneaten food after a few minutes. Changing the food to a wheat germ based feed is a good idea too, as this is easier to digest.
As the fish are so inactive, the filter is not needed. Take the opportunity to remove and clean it, before storing it until the spring. The pond pump can be left on, however during the colder weather it may be better to turn the flow rate down. This will stop the circulation disturbing fish hibernating in the warmer areas of the tank, yet still keep the water moving. Pond pumps can be left in the pond until needed in the spring.
Finally, regularly remove leaves from the surface of the pond, or consider a pond net to keep the surface clear. Pop these leaves on a compost heap, to create a rich supplement for flower beds.
Taking these measures now will ensure that come the spring, your pond will be ready for the new season.