Fall is right around the corner- Learn What Pond Products Needed for Fall & what you need to Winterize Your Pond:
Cold Water Bacteria or Sludge Reducer
Algae Control or Barley Extract
Aeration or Pond De-Icer
Pond Netting, Extendable Pond Net
Predator Control- Decoys, Scarecrow
Cold Season or Spring/Fall Fish Food
Pond / Water Feature Maintenance- To Do List
Remove Organic Matter- leaves, twigs, branches, etc. inside pond, waterfall and stream.
Check Skimmer Regularly, check it daily during heavy leaf drop so your pump is not obstructed. If you don’t have a skimmer, make sure your pump and aeration system is not obstructed by leaves or muck.
Protecting your Pond with netting can capture large amounts of leaves saving you some clean up time.
Add Treatments- Beneficial Bacteria/Sludge reducer will help dissolve waste, uneaten fish food and plant debris. Apply algaecides only when needed.
Plants-Keep them Tidy
Remove Annual Floaters by Halloween- Water Hyacinths & Water Lettuce, etc. They may potentially last longer yet it’s easy to forget about them during the holiday season, so I recommend you compost them before they die. If you left them in your pond they will eventually freeze, die, turn into a mushy mess that sinks to the bottom of the pond increasing nutrient levels. High Nutrient Level= Increased Algae Production
Winterize tropical water plants like Taro, Egyptian Papyrus, etc. inside as a houseplant or treat as annuals.
Cut back or remove dead foliage from hardy plants that have gone dormant, mulch exposed roots with gravel to protect from winter freezing (Iris, Lobelia, Cattails etc.). Another option is to wait until spring to remove dead foliage for a couple of reasons- the foliage may be protecting the roots like a mulch, and as the leaves breakdown it functions much like barley does releasing H2O2 that may reduce algae blooms.
Cut back dead foliage from evergreen plants and grasses (Acorus/Sweet Flag, Rushes), mulch roots with gravel if needed.
Remove dead leaves from waterlilies that are on the surface, cut stems from 2-3" form the base, keep indicator leaves intact (leaves growing close to the root).
Reduce Fish Feeding, Monitor for Disease or Distress
Feed a wheat germ or cold water / spring & fall diet from late summer until fall until the water temperatures are around 50-55 deg. F Reduce your feedings as fish gradually go dormant. Do not feed fish in the winter or below 50 deg F, fish can develop diseases (dropsy) and possible die.
Refer to Feeding Pond Fish for more details.
Monitor your Fish for signs of stress (unusual or erratic behavior, clamped fins, lethargy), diseases (wounds, fuzzy patches, ulcers) or parasites (flashing or scraping on the bottom). Check your water quality, treat if needed. Limit water changes or pond cleaning while fish are dormant, it is usually best to wait until spring. Adding cold water beneficial bacteria helps keep your pond healthy, reducing springtime die off and illnesses- Healthy Ponds = Healthy Fish
Predator Control- Keep on alert for hungry critters
Winterize your “scarecrow” if you are using one. Store it in the garage so that the water running through the hose doesn't freeze the unit. Change the batteries before putting it back outside in the spring.
Predator Control- Use pond or bird netting, alligator decoys or electric fencing if predators are a problem.
Try LED projector lights used for holiday house lighting on your pond at night to keep raccoons away. They seem to not like the colors red and green, so try it for yourself and see if it deters them.
Water Treatments -Bacteria, Sludge & Algae Treatments
There are cold water beneficial bacterial and enzyme treatments that can be used effectively in Fall and Spring for water temperatures as low as 35 deg. F. They help to eliminate toxic nutrients, excess fish food, fish wastes, decaying plant and organic wastes in koi ponds and water features.
Control string algae and carpet algae with topical granular applications of Oxy Cleaner or "Algae Stop" liquid. Replace barley logs in late summer so it can start to break down, replace new spring or use barley extract.
Winterize Pond- Shut down, Filters?? Only if needed. We typically keep our ponds running all year-round in the PNW- Zones 7/8
Disassemble small water features without fish that may be damaged due to freezing, store in garage or shed where it can be dry and out of the elements.
If you choose to shut down your pond, take out your pump, store inside a bucket of water in a frost free place until spring. Make sure you have an aerator inside your pond so it doesn't freeze over completely.
In most areas, keeping your pond running 24/7 throughout the winter.
If using a UV or Pressurized filter, check your manufacturer’s instructions for winterizing. Most filters can be damaged during freezing weather, so it’s best to remove them and store inside garage from around October or November until March or April, weather depending.
Freezing, Channeling & Aeration- air holes, ice dams, water level
Maintain aeration during the winter to keep your pond from freezing over completely. De-icers / floating heaters, small pumps and aerators can be used. Toxic gases can build up under ice poisoning fish, so maintaining at least a 2' aeration hole. Raise your aerator discs to a higher level in the pond to help maintain a hole and avoid supercooling your fish.
If your pond freezes over and you have fish- do not bang on the ice. Shock waves can kill fish or cause extreme stress. Use warm water to create a hole or wait until temperatures raise.
Water features and ponds that run in the winter form beautiful ice dams and sculptures. Make sure these dams do not create ice channels causing leaks.
Monitor your water Level- Check and fill your water as needed.
Do you have more questions or need assistance? We are here spring, summer, fall and winter- although our hours change- we can always help! Just an email away- Kerri.B@Natureperfect.net