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How to put your fish pond to bed for the winter


According to Behnkes’ water-gardening expert Bill Watts, it’s best to do this, um, last month, but  now is also fine (and better than not doing it at all), especially with our unusually warm fall.

  • Stop feeding the fish and don’t feed them again until spring.
  • Many pond owners cover their ponds with netting before the leaves fall and remove them after the leaves are all down.  Bill leaves his netting in place all winter – to keep debris from accumulating in the pond.
  • Cut back plants that are in the water back, or in the case of floating water hyacinths, just lift and toss them.   You don’t want them rotting and fouling up the water.  Any cold-hardy plants can stay where they are for the winter.
  • Provide cover for the fish, which don’t have all that foliage to hide under.  One trick is to lay a chimney pot in the water for fish to hide in.  Another is to stack bricks and lay a flat rock on top of them – that’s where Bill’s large koi spend the winter.
  • If you leave your pump running over the winter, closely monitor it to make sure there’s no ice obstruction building up.
  • If you remove your pump or turn it off for the winter, then use a pond heater.  The point is to keep at least a one-foot-wide hole in the ice at all times so that gasses can escape and the fish can breathe.  Which option uses more electricity?  The heater.

We’ll return to this subject next March.  Promise~!

Posted by Susan Harris.  Left photo by Clan UiBriain.  Right photo by Conspiracy of Happiness.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. This is a great (I mean GREAT) article for a novice like me. I had no idea how to clean the pond, but knew it had to get done. Thanks a million!

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