A Checklist for Pond Care in Fall and Winter
Before the leaves begin to fall, cover your pond with leaf netting. These come in various sizes and can be a real time saver. Leaves are much easier to keep out of the pond than to remove them from the cold water!
- If time and weather permit this is a great time to divide and repot the hardy plants. Remove tropical plants. These will only decay and foul the water over the winter. (Water Hyacinths, Water Lettuce, Tropical Lilies, etc.)
- Cut back the foliage of the hardy plants. Lower the pots to the bottom of the pond. This should be below the freeze line and will protect the crowns of the plants for the winter.
- Stop feeding your fish when the water temperatures have dropped to the mid-forties. As their metabolism slows they will not be able to digest food easily. Undigested food will cause them problems that can be fatal.
- Slow down or stop the circulation of water through the pond. You can remove the pump entirely to prevent it from freezing or remove the tubing running to the falls or ornamental spitters and allow the pump to bubble the surface of the water above it. This surface agitation will prevent ice from covering the pond. The hole left by the water movement will allow gases to pass through and not build up under the ice, which can be fatal to the fish. You can also use a floating de-icer to keep an area free of ice.
- If ice does completely cover the pond over the winter do not attempt to break up the ice by pounding on it. The shock waves will kill your fish. The best way to create a hole is to take a pot of hot water and set it or hold it on the ice until it melts through. (Do not dump the hot water into the pond!)