How to Winterize a Backyard Pond

Today we are going to explain how to winterize a backyard pond.

At Clearwater Creations, we have been helping homeowners install and maintain ponds and water features since 2011 – and we’d love to share our experience and expertise with you!

We’ll take a closer look at what’s involved with getting your pond ready for the winter and the steps you need to take to do that. So, let’s get started!



Learn how to winterize a backyard pond


How to Winterize a Backyard Pond

Net Your Pond in the Fall

One of the biggest time-savers that will help you winterize a backyard pond is to place a net over the surface of your pond before the leaves begin to fall in the autumn. The net will trap and prevent any leaves and debris from accumulating and sinking to the bottom of your pond, causing a huge mess that will need to be cleaned out in the spring.

Removing this built-up debris is important to keep your pond healthy and low-maintenance as it removes the nutrients that would otherwise encourage algae growth and create poor water conditions.

If you don’t have the time or don’t want to net your pond yourself, you can contact local pond contractors to do it for you. They will come to your home in mid-September or early October, before the leaves begin to fall, and set up netting over your pond. They will return again once all of the leaves have fallen to remove the netting and if you like, to shut down your pond for the season.


Clear Out Leaves and Debris

If you didn’t install netting on your pond in the autumn, then you should clear out any leaves and debris that has accumulated as part of your winterizing process. You can use a long-handled pond net to scoop out this debris from the bottom of your pond



Winterize a backyard pond: Place netting over the pond in the fall to catch any leaves and debris


Add Cold Water Beneficial Bacteria

To keep your pond clear and clean, it is a good idea to add a cold water beneficial bacteria. Cold water beneficial bacteria is designed to work in water temperatures that are lower than 10 degrees Celsius. This type of bacteria will digest any excess debris that might build up in your pond over the winter and help to maintain your water clarity.


Prepare Your Fish for the Winter

Make sure that your fish are healthy before they go into hibernation. Once the water temperature in your pond falls below 15 degrees Celsius the digestion and metabolism of your fish will begin to slow down. You should feed your fish a premium cold water fish food that is designed to provide your fish with the nourishment they need to survive during the lower temperatures. You need to continue to feed your fish until the temperature falls below 10 degrees Celsius. At that time, you will need to stop feeding them as they will go into hibernation.


Trim and Cut Back Your Plants

When you winterize a backyard pond, you should also remove any dead parts of your plants. This is important because these dead portions of foliage will decompose in your pond water. In addition, you should cut back your hardy waterlilies to just above the base of the plant. All of the plants around the margins of your pond should also be trimmed back so that they don’t droop over into the water and decay there.



Winterize a backyard pond: Cut back your hardy waterlilies to just above the base of the plant


Decide Whether to Keep Your Pond Running or to Shut It Down

You have the option to either keep your pond running throughout the winter months or to shut it down. The following will tell you what is involved in each choice.

Leaving Your Pond Running

If you leave your pond running throughout the winter, you will get the added advantage of being able to enjoy the amazing scene of a waterfall covered with ice formations and snow. However, you do need to make sure that your pond doesn’t have a long or slow-moving stream as ice dams can form in them and cause your water to divert over the liner.

In general, a pond pump that moves at least 2,000 gph of water can be run in Central Ontario without a problem as long as you keep it running continuously. The constant movement of the water will ensure that there is always a hole in the ice around the waterfalls and in front of the skimmer. You will also need to top up your pond from time to time during the winter as water evaporates from it.



Winterize a backyard pond: Keep your pump running to ensure that there is always a hole in the ice


Shutting Your Pond Down

Often, people who live in northern climates prefer to shut their ponds down completely during the winter. There are a number of steps that you will need to follow when you winterize a backyard pond by shutting it down.

Step 1: Take the pump out of your pond and store it in a warm location such as your basement or garage. If you keep your pump in a cold location over the winter, it will wear out faster.

Step 2: Make sure that all of the water is drained out of the plumbing to prevent it from freezing and expanding as this could crack your pipes that are attached to your filtration system.

Step 3: Remove your filter media and spray it thoroughly with a garden hose to clean it. You should then store it with your pump.

Step 4: Place a small circulating pump on the top shelf of your pond to oxygenate the water. The movement of the water from the pump will keep a hole open in the ice during the winter months. This hole will allow harmful gasses to escape and oxygen to get into the water. This process will help to keep your fish healthy.

Step 5: If you live in extremely cold areas you can consider adding an additional de-icer such as the AquaDeicer to work alongside your small pump to keep a hole open in your pond.

The following video will go over the complete process of how to winterize a backyard pond.


Watch the steps to winterize a backyard pond


Trust Clearwater to Help You Winterize a Backyard Pond

If you would like help to winterize a backyard pond, contact the pond specialists at Clearwater Creations. We are certified Aquascape contractors and certified horticulturalists which means that we have the training, knowledge, and expertise required to construct and maintain beautiful, professionally installed ecosystem ponds and water features.

At Clearwater Creations we have been building and maintaining backyard ponds and water features in the Peterborough, Northumberland, Clarington, Durham Region and everywhere in between for almost a decade and we would be happy to help you keep your pond clean and healthy.

If you don’t have a backyard pond and are thinking of putting one in, contact us today for a free quote.

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