Water Garden Winterization
Water Gardens and ponds add beauty, sound and a refuge for wildlife in your garden.
As winter is approaching it is important to prepare your pond for the cold temperatures ahead. With proper precautions there should be no need to bring your fish.
In the fall clean your pond of debris, such as fallen leaves or twigs. Remove decorative fountainheads, clean them and store them in a dry, warm area. Rinse the bio filter media. Pumps that will not be used over the winter should be rinsed and then stored in water in a heated area. They are stored in water to protect the seals from drying out. Any tubing that is not used over the winter should be blown out to prevent freezing.
It is important to keep at least a small hole free of ice in your pond. This is to allow the escape of methane and hydrogen sulfide gases and allow oxygen to enter the pond. To achieve this you may place a pump 12" below the surface of the pond. To keep the pump clean from clogging from debris place it in a bucket filled with gravel. If a smaller pump is used that cannot achieve enough circulation to keep the pond surface from freezing you may use a birdbath de-icer or stock tank heater in conjunction. If the pond does freeze do not break the ice as the concussion may damage or kill the fish. Instead pour warm water over the pond until it opens.
Hardy water lilies may remain in the pond for the winter. Prune away the dead foliage in the fall. If you would like to over winter your potted hardy lily inside, wrap it in a plastic bag to prevent it from drying out, store the bag in a cool non freezing location. The successful over wintering of tropical water lilies is not consistent so many experts suggest they be treated as annuals in our climate. Bog plants, those grown on the perimeter of the pond should be pruned within 3" of the pond surface.