Winter Pond Prep Checklist

Your pond can be an attractive and valuable focal point of your landscaping, but it can also be a delicate one. As winter approaches, certain steps should be taken to ensure plant and fish survival so your pond will still be at its best next spring.

  1. Clean Out Debris
    Use a netted scooper, a rake, your hands and, if possible, a pond vacuum to clean out pond debris. Rotting vegetation produces gas under winter ice that can be fatal to fish, frogs or other aquatic wildlife. This is also a good time to reduce any mud coverage over the pond’s bottom.
  2. Trim Pond Plants
    Trim and move hardy pond plants to the deep end of the pond (minimum 18” depth) to prevent them from freezing. Cut their vegetative growth back to about one inch above the soil line. Extra foliage will be more delicate and could rot over the winter. Especially be sure to trim any foliage that is already broken, wilting or damaged.
  3. Remove Tropical Plants
    Tropical plants or any delicate vegetation should be removed from the pond and placed in a basement or garage where they will not freeze. Keep plants moist throughout the fall and winter months until it is time to return them to the pond.
  4. Disassemble Summer Equipment
    Remove and clean the pond pump and waterfall or fountain feature (if applicable). Store them inside for the winter. See your maintenance guidelines for proper storage recommendations to keep the equipment in peak condition.
  5. Clean Pond Filter
    Thoroughly clean the pond filter and inspect it for any damage. If necessary, repair or replace the filter.
  6. Change Fish Diet
    Feed fish with spring/autumn food mixtures to provide good nutrition for their slowing metabolism. Stop feeding them completely when temperatures drop consistently below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid overfeeding, which would contribute to excess debris and decay in the pond over the winter.
  7. Set Up a Pond De-Icer
    If needed, set up your pond de-icerfor winter use. Test the equipment to be sure it is functioning properly and make any repairs or adjustments as needed.
  8. Cover the Pond
    Cover your pond with netting, screening or a shade cloth to minimize debris that will fall into the water throughout the winter. Secure the perimeter with sod staples or rocks to prevent the covering from blowing away. This will make spring cleanup and restarting your pond much easier.
  9. Relax until spring!
    Your pond will be ready for warmer temperatures when you are.

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