6 Steps in Getting your Pond Ready for Winter

Much like owning a garden or a pool, a pond requires some special attention in the fall in order to get it ready for winter. There are the obvious tasks like bringing in the dock or taking down the sun tent. What about the less obvious tasks that often get overlooked by pond owners, due to time constraints or simply being unaware of what needs to get done. We have compiled a helpful checklist of pond tasks that you can do over the fall weekends to prepare your pond for winter.

Step 1

When getting your pond ready for winter, apply the final bacteria treatment to your pond before the water temperature drops too low. This will give your pond the last boost it needs to get through the winter, and help reduce the suspended nutrient load many ponds accumulate over the summer, and fall. In our area of southern Quebec, many large lakes suffered the dreaded closure due to blue-green algae or cyanobacteria. It is definitely a water quality problem that is plaguing many pond owners, and bacteria may be one way to help.

Step 2

We are big proponents of watershed management, which is a fun and useful tool for any pond owner. All surface water flows somewhere, and you can be sure your pond receives its share of surface water runoff, especially during large storms. What is entering your pond and how is it getting there are two good questions any pond owner can ask themselves. A fun way to find out the answer is to get out the Wellingtons and that bright yellow raincoat, and wander around your pond in a heavy rainstorm. Watch what is happening, note where the most surface runoff is entering the pond, is it coming from a road, a manure pile, a roof or the forest. Next think of several things you can do to either divert runoff from entering the pond, or somehow absorb some of the runoff. We always recommend to our clients to plant aquatic plants in the pond and along the shoreline.

Plants are wonderful friends to a pond; they filter out excessive nutrients, offer shoreline stabilization and naturalize a pond beautifully to its environment. Through their root systems they also absorb an astounding amount of water, which invariably provides some protection for your pond from contamination of surface runoff. So purchase and plant more shoreline and aquatic plants before the ground freezes. The best part about fall planting is that most aquatic and shoreline plants are on sale now and thanks to global warming, we can plant into early fall without too many worries!

Step 3

Help in getting your pond ready for winter, by not mowing your grass to the water’s edge. Mowing the lawn to the water’s edge is like shaving your dog’s hair before winter. The shoreline grasses provide much needed protection around the pond, not to mention delightful habitat for insects and wildlife. Never ever mow grass closer than a meter to your pond edge. If you stop mowing along the pond edge you will notice a significant difference in the water quality of your pond within a few seasons.

Step 4

If you aerate your pond, spend some time checking out the aeration system to make sure it is functioning properly when getting your pond ready for winter. What do I look for? The sound of the compressor is the same, no seals are cracked, no wires chewed or worn, the system is dry and stored properly. For the tubing, you might want to pull it in, wipe it down and re-install while the water is still warm. These are just common sense maintenance tips that you would do to any outdoor machine. Decide if you will aerate over the winter or stop the aeration when the snow starts. If you plan on skating on your pond we recommend you stop aerating altogether. Regularly & accurately monitor ice thickness to ensure the ice is safe and thick where you plan to skate.

Step 5

Getting your pond ready for winter, means the purchase and install a Danger Thin Ice sign around your pond if you chose to aerate your pond during the winter. The cost of this sign may save someone’s life. Call to order yours.

Step 6

If you have a floating island, you can either leave it in place, or move it closer to the shore if it will interfere with skating. It will happily freeze and thaw in place and be ready to grow again in the spring. If after several years the dead plant debris seems thick, you can trim it down before winter sets in.

Call DeiceAir.ca Today! 705.789.6663|info@canadianpond.ca

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