Winterizing your pond
Having a pond is often associated with a lot of work, but there is really very little that needs to be done to keep a pond, and even less to maintain the pond over winter. In Ottawa, you can keep your pond running for most of the year, and many people do so right up to Christmas. If we have a very cold winter, January and February are often very difficult to keep a running pond enjoyable and there are more difficulties to deal with, but with these two months out of the equation, it is very little work to enjoy your pond up to the end of the year.
Once the temperatures have begun to drop to where it is too difficult to keep the pond running, it is important to remove the pump and store it indoors in a bucket of water. Once a pump as been used the seals have expanded, and if allowed to dry out will leak water into the pump itself and the pump will burn out. It is very important to store the pump where it will always be underwater.
As far as water plants go there are several types of plants, there are water lilies which will survive fine in a pond that is 2 feet deep. Trim off the top of the lily pad and ensure the pot is at the bottom of the pond. If the lily is planted into the pond then just leave the lily where it is at the bottom of the pond and cut off the pad itself. Marginal hardy plants can be just trimmed back to just above the water level. and left in the area where they are planted. Items like arrow heads and iris are hardy and will be fine where they are. Annuals such as tropicals, water hyacinths and lettuce are not worth over wintering. Treat these plants the same way you would bedding plants such as petunias and impatiens and remove them in fall and buy new ones in the spring.
Koi are hardy fish and can survive in Ottawa in a pond that has two feed deep of water and stones and gravel in the bottom. In order to over-winter these fish you will need to have some sort of oxygen source, such as a pump or air pump. In addition to oxygen you will also need to keep a part of the ice open. The easiest way to do this is to use a small pond heater that will keep a portion unfrozen. This is to ensure that the toxic gases accumulating in the pond can escape. It is also very important to not feed your fish once the temperature drops below 50°. Fish can take up to two weeks to digest food and their metabolism slows down drastically when it gets cold, and if they are fed to late in the year they may not digest the food before their metabolism slows down. This can in turn kill them over the winter.
At Ritchie’s we have everything you need to help you over-winter your pond. Come in and ask us anything you need to help you with your pond.