Preparing your ornamental pond for winter
Fall Pond Close-up and Winterizing in Lancaster, PA

Fall Pond Close-up and Winterizing in Lancaster, PA


Like flower gardens and lawns, ornamental ponds and water features need a bit of extra care to prepare for winter.

Here’s how:

Remove the debris
One of the key components for fall maintenance is to “get as much debris out of the pond as possible,” says Bobby Kenyon of C.E. Pontz sons Inc.

As a preventive measure, netting can be installed over an ornamental pond in early fall. This will help debris such as leaves and twigs from getting into the pond. Ideally it should be done before leaves fall, he says. The exact timing depends on the location of the pond. If trees and loose dirt are nearby, it should be done sooner rather than later.

Fall cleaning

Kenyon says the pond can be cleaned. To do this, temporarily remove pond plants and fish. Drain the pond. Pressure wash it and scoop out any accumulated debris.

Refill the pond and place fish back in it.

Cut back aquatic plants to the water level prior to placing them back in the pond; be sure to remove any trimmings and leaves.

Also, non-hardy aquatic plants such as tropical water lilies can be taken indoors until spring.

Why the concern with leaves and debris? It’s not only the aesthetics. Decaying leaves can throw off the ecological balance of the pond, which can harm the fish.

To pump or not to pump

The pond pump can operate year-round, but some people prefer not to do that, Kenyon says. In that case, an aerator or pond heater can be installed.

Fish care

It’s OK for the pond to ice over in the winter, but it’s important to keep a hole in the ice so the gasses can pass through and the fish don’t die. As soon as the water temperature reaches 50-degrees, the fish go dormant, but they do still breathe. As the water temperature cools, they’ll migrate to warmer water in the deeper areas of the pond.

Other features

If your ornamental pond has a water feature such as a waterfall, you don’t really have to do anything with it to winterize it, Kenyon says. However, he says, some people shut it down, especially if they go away over winter.

With this fall care, an ornamental pond will be good to go for the spring.

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Author: Bobby Kenyon
Bobby Kenyon is the Creative Solutions Guru for C.E. Pontz Sons who has over a decade and a half experience in the Landscape & Water Garden industry . He enjoys long walks on the beach and grocery shopping but has a strong dislike for regular cake and off brand paper towels

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