Watergardens are not only amazing features that add style and ambiance to any location, but they’re also small ecosystems that can house a number of different species of both plants and animals. In today’s blog, the pond experts at AQUA DOC will go over what you should do in the winter to help your pond or water feature thrive even when it’s cold.
In areas with cold and harsh winters, having a good plan for winterizing your water feature is important for the health of your pond and any fish living in it. If a pond freezes over completely, there is no way to allow gas exchange, which is important for all bodies or water. Over the winter months, fish will eventually run out of oxygen and suffocate if the pond freezes completely with thick ice. The best way to combat this problem is by adding a de-icer or aerator to keep a hole in the ice. The advantage of an aerator is that the system can be run year-round to keep oxygen levels high, which combats algae growth. However, a de-icer typically continues to work at much lower temperatures than an aerator can. These devices can also be used together to give your pond the best chance of making it through a harsh winter.
Harsh winters can also take a toll on pump motors if they are not kept running twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. We typically recommend pumps be pulled in the winter and stored in a bucket of water in a warm place to keep the motor protected. This will ensure that the seals inside the pump motor do not freeze or dry out and break, and the life of the pump will be extended if it is not run year-round. If the pond is more than two feet deep, pumps can actually be stored in the deepest part of the pond, which will not freeze over.
Always remember with any feature you have, whether it be a watergarden, waterfeature, pondless waterfall, or free -standing fountain, AQUA DOC recommends always having a plan set in place so that you are not turning your feature on and off throughout the winter months. This can be detrimental to your components and freeze your lines. Choose the best option for you and stick with it.
Finally, a net over top of the pond is a great tool for keeping debris and predators out of the water. Excess debris will start to break down over the winter, which uses up necessary oxygen for the fish. Keeping that debris out will also ensure an easy clean out and start up in the following season. With the right tools to prepare your pond for winter, you can give your pond the best chance for a successful winter and keep your fish healthy for years to come.
Sarah joined AQUA DOC’s Watergarden Division in 2017. An aquatic biologist, Sarah has a BS in Biology from Westminster College and a Masters in Geographic Information Systems from Cleveland State.