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Winterize Your Water Feature

by Robert Nordyke, Gertens Pond Barn staff

As fall turns to winter, begin preperations for care of your water feature.

It's that time of the year again: the time to winterize your outdoor living spaces. Between the final mowing of the yard and firing up the snow blower, don't forget about your water feature. A few simple steps this fall will save you time and money next spring. Since there many varieties of water features, ranging from a small container through large ponds, this article will focus on the smaller end of the spectrum. If you have a large open water pond you will want to consult one of our pond experts for more specific direction of your individual needs.

On the smaller end are open water ponds with 200 gallons or less (and no fish involved) and all pond free situations. These water features do not require any kind of "bacterial eco-system" balance but they do require winterizing. You can't just let them take care of themselves, because they won't. So, let's see how to winterize them.

Decide whether you wish to over-winter your plants, or simply throw them away.


Remove Plants

First you need to remove any plants. If you have any water plants in your feature now is the time to think about what you are going to do with them. Are you going to "winter them over" or not? Since "wintering over" can be tricky with many tropicals, I recommend discussing this with our pond experts. Whether you decide to "winter over" or not, you should remove the plants at first frost.

Clean Thoroughly

With the plants out of the way, the next step is cleaning. This part can be a little messy. You need to remove any large debris from the bottom of the pond or, if pond free, the bottom of the pump vault. If there is algae present, you will want to use Green Clean (or any like product). Green Clean is a granular contact algaecide that is water activated -- follow the directions printed on the bottle. This will cost you around $25. If you decide to drain the feature and scrub it, be sure to refill the feature with water before winter sets in.

Keeping the pond clean and free from debris can prevent algae, chemical and pump damage to your water feature

By keeping water in the feature, you get an even freeze that helps prevent ground heaving. Also, when the surface freezes it prevents any leaves and other debris from getting in your nice clean water feature.

Final steps

When winterizing your water feature, the most important thing to remember is: REMOVE THE PUMP! Water pumps must not be allowed to freeze! Water freezing around a pump exerts pressure on the outside casing which creates cracks. These cracks allow water to enter the inside workings and corrode the electrical workings and...let's leave it at – remove the pump!

These few simple steps will save you time and money in the spring when you want to start up your water feature. With proper winter preparation and seasonal maintenance your water feature should give you years of enjoyment

Green Clean is water activated, and will remove that pesky algae. Once algae is gone, ensure that your feature has water and you are done!