As the winter approaches it is time to do our winter preparation for our ponds. I hope everyone got full enjoyment from their ponds this year. It was a great season weather wise for aquatic plants. Most of our customers reported great success with plant growth and algae reduction. Now is the time to do a little work to assure added success next year.
The first thing that should be done is removing any annual aquatic plants from the pond (any floaters or zone 6 or above). It is also a good time to clean up and leaves or organic debris from the bottom of the pond. Debris left in the pond will decompose and release gases that are harmful to fish. Installing pond netting will reduce the amount of debris and make it easier to maintain. You should stop feeding your plants at this time, and perennial plants should be trimmed. You should trim hardy lilies and lotus and sink them to the bottom of the pond.
The next step is addressing your filter system. You can choose to keep the keep you system running through the winter if you desire. The beneficial bacteria that has built up in your system with go dormant in the winter, but some people enjoy the running water in the winter. If you do not want to leave your water running you will need to drain the filter and remove the pump to prevent damage due to freezing. It is best to place the pump in a bucket of water to keep the seals in the pump from rotting. Make sure it is placed somewhere that the bucket will not freeze.
At this point you should start adding Beneficial Bacteria to your pond to help with the breakdown of sediment and any small debris that is missed during cleanup. Micro lift makes a Fall/Winter prep product that is ideal to accomplish this task.
Once the water temperature stays consistently below 55 degrees you should stop feeding your fish. Their metabolism slows down to a rate that can be fatal to the fish. It is important that the pond does not freeze solid. There must be a hole in the ice to allow harmful gases to escape. This can usually be accomplished by either a pond heater or an air bubbler.
With just a little work now you can ensure a healthy pond now…and a healthy pond for next year. And as always you can contact any Oakland Nursery location for any of your pond questions or needs.
-Provided by Brian S. Gerber of Oakland Columbus