Prepare Your Water Feature for Winter

Source: Blue Thumb Newsletter; September 29, 2016

With temperatures dropping and winter right around the corner it’s time to start thinking about what you’ll need to do to winterize your water feature for the cooler months ahead. Here are a few tips to help get you started.

Vase Fountains

If there’s a chance the water could freeze in your area it is best to drain the vase and remove it from the basin. Be sure the vase is completely drained and place in a garage or shed for the winter. Or you may leave the vase in place and cover it. Next, remove the pump and place it in a bucket of water somewhere where it will not freeze. The water remaining in the basin should stay there over the winter and be allowed to freeze.

Boulder and Basalt Fountains

These are even easier as you can leave the boulder in place on the basin for the entire winter regardless of whether it will freeze or not. Just remove the pump from the basin and place it in a bucket of water where it will not freeze.

Cascading/Pondless Waterfalls

Everything should be left in place to freeze except the pump. Simply disconnect the pump from the plumbing and place in a bucket of water where it won’t freeze. Many people run their cascading waterfalls year-round or as long as possible. Just watch for ice dams creating areas where the water exits the liner.

Ponds & Watergardens

Add a cover net to minimize the number of leaves that fall into the pond. Feed the fish a diet specifically formulated for cooler water. Cut back all plants as they will decompose during the winter. Remove the pump and place in a bucket where it will not freeze. Be sure the check valve is removed as well so that the water in the upper waterfall box drains back to the skimmer and into the pond. You want all the water in the flex pipe to drain so that it doesn’t freeze and cause the pipe to crack. Remove the mat and net from the skimmer but leave any support pipes in place to minimize distortion over the winter. If you have fish add an aerator and deicer to ensure a hole remains open in the ice so the fish can get air. Continue to add cold water bacteria to the pond to help digest any remaining debris and to prepare the pond for spring.