I can't say I dislike winter....when it snows everything looks so pretty but then this winter has been pretty nice so far. Temperatures are in the 50s today and the SUN is shinning. Unusual for January in Ohio. The pond is frozen but only a thin layer and the fish aren't moving much although I can catch a glimpse of them sometimes.
So while I continue to knit away the hours I keep thinking about spring.....changes to the pond.....new plants to offer.....what plants are thriving in the greenhouse. When the planting season ends things begin happening in the greenhouse. With seedlings and dividing of plants there is alot of do to get ready for the following season. Put on the gloves, play in the dirt, then watch the plants begin to grow.
It won't be long and most of us will begin the task of spring cleaning our ponds. While there is still alot of activity in the warmer climates those of us in the north continue to wait. Being a mild winter thus far only makes us more anxious for spring.
Its officially fall now and we need to begin preparing our pond for the winter and hopefully a cleaner pond for spring. I've listed a few maintenance tips to guide you through preparing your pond for the winter. I still have a few flowers appearing in my pond but I think they are almost through blooming for the season 🙁
FALL/WINTER POND MAINTENANCE TIPS
1. Before winter arrives, you will want to make sure your pond and filtering system are clean to ensure good water quality throughout the winter months. With the arrival of fall it is wise to do a partial water change to remove any built up contaminants to improve water quality. Partial water changes need to be made before water temperatures fall below 60 degrees to minimize fish stress. Adding pond salt at this time will improve the slime coating of fish, to help them ward off disease and parasites.
2. Before the leaves begin to fall, cover your pond with one of ourpond nets. The goal is to try and keep the pond as clean as possible for the winter months. Leaves will sink to the bottom of the pond and rot, causing excess carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. After the first frost, take out any floating plants, as these will begin to decay. Trim back hardy lilies and bog plants and place below the freeze line.
3. Switch to Microbe-Lift Autumn/Winter Prep. This will help break down organic material in the pond before winter sets in. Microbe-Lift Autumn/Winter Prep helps accelerate the decomposition of leaves, scum, sediment and other organic matter during the fall and throughout the winter months. Also, Microbe-Lift Autumn/Winter Prep helps to maintain a healthy immune system for your fish during the winter months. Microbe-Lift Autumn/Winter Prep will help jump-start your pond to a healthier environment in the spring.
4.Reduce your fish feeding as the water temperatures drop below 60 degrees. Start feeding your fish a couple of times a week. We recommend switching to a wheat germ based fish food formulated for fall and spring feeding. When water temperatures drop below 60 degrees, the metabolism of your fish slow down. Both Tetra-Pond Spring/Fall and Microbe-Lift Cold Weather fish food are highly digestible cool weather diets that are made with less protein, but contain wheat germ, which is easily digested. They also contain higher levels of fat, which help your fish survive their winter hibernation. When water temperatures reach 50 degrees, stop feeding your fish completely. Feeding at water temperatures below 50 degrees can possibly kill your fish. A pond thermometeris a must have. This will help you in determining when to stop feeding your fish and will also help to know when to begin feeding your fish in the spring. Its also a good idea to know your water temperature for those adding tropical pond plants to your pond in the spring.
5.Adding Microbe-Lift Barley Straw Extract will help control string algae throughout the fall and winter months. Barley Straw Extract is an effective and eco-friendly way to reduce algae. Unlike algaecides, which are ineffective in water temperatures below 50 degrees, Microbe-Lift Barley Straw Extract will continue to control algae throughout the winter months.
6.Before freezing temperatures begin, install a pond de-icer. Ponds covered with ice do not allow toxic gases to escape causing fish loss. A pond de-icer will keep a section of your pond open to allow oxygen and gas exchange.
7.During the winter removing snow from the surface of the pond will help submerged plants and microscopic aquatic plants to continue to produce oxygen as long as light penetrates through the ice. Insufficient light, along with the decomposition of plant and leaf debris may result in insufficient oxygen for the fish, causing them to suffocate. Removing the snow from a portion of your surface area will reduce the likelihood of this occurring.
Remember to add a tray of sand in your pond for the frogs to have a place to winter over.
We sell Bio-Clean Microbial Pond Clarifier but I have never tried them. So I did alittle research on them and thought I'd share the information.
They contain beneficial microbes (bacteria and mold cultures), which eliminate excess problem-causing nutrients from your pond. They also contain microbes, which provide the comprehensive removal of bottom sludge. The microbes will not only degrade cellulose (one of the primary components of plants wastes), but will also eliminate pectin (fibrous materials also found in plants), xylanase (found in various parts of plants also), and most importantly lignin (the heartiest component in leaves and stems of plants).
Bio-Clean microbial pond clarifiers include two very specific cultures for removing excess, problem-causing ammonia, urea, nitrites and nitrates from the pond water. Bio-Clean contains microbes for achieving odor control, by eliminating the dead and decaying organic wastes causing the odors.
Water Clarity - Bio-Clean also utilizes microbes to achieve water clarity. Water clarity is accomplished when the microbes eliminate the dead and decaying organic wastes, which float in the water as suspended solids. As these organic wastes are removed, water clarity drastically increases (from virtually no clarity, up to 6+ foot depth of clarity after only a few treatments.
Usage: One 3 oz Bio-Clean tablet per 2500-3000 gallons of water or 20 per surface acre of water per month. You apply around the edges of the pond. You can purchase it here.
Add a little fun to your pond, while protecting your fish from predators. The alligator is a natural enemy of all fish eating predators. The hinged body allows natural movement to deter predators as it floats along the surface of your pond.
Floating Alligator here
Aquatic pond plants need to be fertilized monthly to flourish and bloom profusely. At Dragonfly Aquatics we recommend Highland Rim Aquatic Plant Fertilizer tablets. Specially formulated for blooming aquatic plants, with a 10-26-10 nutrient ratio.Highland Rim Fertilizer tablets give your waterlilies, lotuses and blooming marginals plenty of phosphorus to produce the most spectacular blossoms possible. The large 10-gram tablets are safe and non-toxic. They will not promote algae blooms in ponds and they will not harm fish or other aquatic life. Highland Rim Aquatic Plant Fertilizer is available in packs of 12, 36, 80 or 300 tablets. Be sure to order fertilizer tablets with your next plant order.
As the weather warms up and we begin to assess what plants we want to add to our ponds this spring, make sure you check out your hardy water lilies to see if they are in need of re-potting. Adding Highland Rim Fertilizer tablets at this time is also a must do. Water lilies need to be fertilized every 4-6 weeks to ensure plenty of flowers this summer.
Dividing the water lilies and re-potting them in early spring will ensure a better performing water lily this summer. Several lilies in the same pot compete for available nutrients resulting in fewer flowers this summer.
Water lilies need to be planted in at least a 1 gallon planting container for best performance. The medium to large varieties should be potted in a 2 to 5 gallon planting container to reach maximum flowering and growing potential. Don't be fooled by purchasing a potted lily in a 4 inch pot and expect it to flourish in your pond. You will end up paying more for the lily, and will still need to purchase a larger container to re-pot the lily in.
This is the best all around product to keep blue herons, king fishers and other persistent fish eaters away from your pond. The Scarecrow senses both heat and movement, then releases a noisy, three second burst of oscillating water. This is a harmless method of keeping fish eating wildlife away from your pond. Uses only two cups of water, with each burst. Hooks up to your garden hose and sensitivity of sensor can be adjusted for readings up to 35 feet away. Batteries are not included.
Here we go again. I call it the Spring Tease. Just when plants are beginning to sprout and the warm weather hits....big time....it teases us with a mention of snow! The cold front here in Ohio and across the north has moved in for a few days. If you have already put plants out in your ponds, be sure and bring them in or protect them.
I was going to clean my pond last week, but with taking care of our customers and being busy taking your orders and sending orders I just haven't gotten around to it yet. I did see that I had some marsh marigolds blooming and bog bean. It gets me anxious, wanting to put more plants out. Good thing I held back. I'll just leave them be in the nursery where they are nice and warm. Besides, I really need to clean my pond at home since I neglected to do that last year. It's pretty bad. I think I need the Microbe-Lift Sludge Away. I have alot of build up of sludge on the bottom of my pond. Maybe then I'll only need to change out half the water this year. I did start putting the Microbe-Lift Spring and Summer in a couple weeks back and the water is crystal clear, but now you can really see the goop at the bottom. For those that haven't tried the Microbe-Lift Sludge Away it works great at speeding up the removal of sludge & muck naturally.
It is especially helpful for ponds that have a rock or gravel bottom, where vacuuming is impractical. Microbe-Lift SA/Sludge Away is formulated specifically for the removal of organic bottom solids that are slow to degrade but works faster at warm water temperatures, however, Microbe-Lift SA/Sludge Away may be used effectively at any temperature year-round.
Microbe-Lift PL is the product most often used to maintain the natural biological and chemical balance of your pond in all seasons. We've talked about the Spring/Summer Cleaner which works wonders in accelerating the breakdown of leaves, twigs and other accumulated dead organic waste. The Microbe-Lift PL is formulated for decorative ponds and is easy to use.
MicrobeLift PL creates a cleaner environment for your pond, promoting faster fish growth and reduces ammonia nitrogen levels. It helps dissolve away organic sludge and seeds and maintains biological filters. It reduces buildup of bird droppings, fish feed and dead leaves and will also break down dead algae. Reduces hydrogen sulfide, which creates strong, offensive odors. Improves dissolved oxygen levels and is effective over a wide range of pH conditions.
Its application depends on the size of water feature/pond you have. Shake the bottle well before using and add the amount of product indicated on the container for the size of pond you have. You can spread it around the edges of your pond or apply in one location. It will become distributed more quickly in a larger pond if applied in different areas.
The application rates depend on the size of pond you have. The recommendations are as follows:
SIZE OF POND/ 1ST APPLIC. NEXT 4 WKS MAINTENANCE
WATER FEATURE (ONCE WKLY) (ONCE MONTHLY)
50 - 200 8 oz 2 oz 2 oz
201-500 10 oz 3 oz 3 oz
501-1,000 12 oz 4 oz 4 oz
1,000-5,000 16 oz 6 oz 6 oz
5,001-10,000 18 oz 8 oz 8 oz
You can store Microbe-Lift PL for approximately 2 years if unopened and for 1 year if opened and store in a dark cool area.
By establishing and maintaining a healthy balance in the pond, and by removing organic waste matter, your water will obtain clarity.
Often times giving your koi a place to hide will keep them safe from predators. If building rock caves at the bottom of your pond is not feasible, then adding a Koi Kastle is a simple alternative. The Koi Kastle is made of aluminum framing with fiberglass mesh netting. It will provide a safe place for your fish friends and they will have fun swimming through it also!