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Seasonal Pond Care and Winterization

How should I care for my pond season by season?

Spring

  • Remove debris as ice melts
  • Clean up dead leaves, etc.
  • Clean filters; replace filter material
  • Gradually start feeding fish when water temperature is about 55 degrees – morning is best
  • Inspect fish – check eyes, fins, etc.
  • Add Aquarium Pharmaceutical natural pond bacteria and enzymes or Easy Pro bacteria
  • Introduce new fish
  • Thin and repot plants – try out some new plants
  • Add barley bales or pellets to control algae
  • Begin to fertilize plants monthly (esp. water lilies and lotus) fertilizer tablets
  • Watch for spring spawning activity


Summer

  • Replace water lost through evaporation
  • Empty skimmers, clean filters regularly
  • Establish feeding routines to inspect fish
  • Remove spent flowers and dead leaves
  • Run a sprinkler over pond during very hot spells to increase oxygen level in the water
  • Divide plants and take cuttings from oxygenators
  • Watch for baby fish!
  • Provide shade and “hiding holes” to protect fish from predators
  • Use barley or Algaefix to control algae
  • Physically remove string algae
  • Gently clean and turn over rocks, add rock and gravel


Autumn

  • Feed fish less as temperatures decrease
  • Feed mostly during the morning hours of bright and sunny days
  • Net the pond to keep leaves out and prevent herons from fattening up for winter!
  • Remove tender species of fish and plants
  • Develop a winter/spring plan
  • Add shelter to get algae covering to protect in the winter
  • Remove spitters, fountains and fragile decorations


Winter

  • Cease feeding as temperature of water goes down below 60 degrees
  • Provide shelters in deepest part of pond
  • Devise winterizing plan
  • Add de-icers, heaters and floats (every pond’s needs are unique)
  • Keep an area clear of ice!
  • Do not stir up fish – energy reserves are lost


 

How do I winterize my pond plants?

Wedels - Autumn PondIn liner ponds, hardy plants can stay in the pond. Water plants in containers, if hardy, can go into the deepest part of the pond.

Before the first frost, tropical plants or plants kept in pre-formed ponds should be stored in a bin and placed some place cool, but that will not freeze. Garages can freeze if the winter is cold enough.   Store the rhyzomes or roots in loose sphagnum peat in bulb crates or bushel baskets, keeping them moist during the winter months. In early March, if desired, replant in larger containers in aquatic soil, set by a west or south-west window, feed and put in a saucer to get them growing, so that by May when we are frost free, the tropicals are up and growing for May.

To store plants inside if pond is 18″ or less:
Take plants out of ponds, put them on their sides and let them dry out. This allows the plant to store energy in the roots and go dormant. After that is done you can cut away the dead foliage, then in a bin, place some wood mulch, then a layer of plants, then another layer of mulch, then another layer of plants. Do this until all plants are in the mulch.

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