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Pond Winterizing: A quick guide for protecting waterfalls, koi, & water garden plants

A winterizing checklist for backyard ponds in Wichita, Kansas & Midwest Great Plains

Should I leave my pond pump on in the winter?

If ice on your waterfall will cause water runoff or freeze-thaw damage to rocks, you must shut off your pump. If you shut off your pond, you must add a heater or de icer to create a breathing hole in the ice.

How do I prepare my pond for Winter?

We recommend completing the following pond winterizing tasks:

glowing pond surrounded by heavy blankets of snow
illuminated koi ponds are truly dramatic when surrounded by snowblankets
  • Keep Skimmer Box strainers free of leaves and algae
  • Clean Filter Pads in Waterfall Box
  • Remove and shock hair algae from Water Features
  • Remove settled hair algae and scum from water garden
  • Add winterizing bacteria and enzymes
  • shut off your pump if ice on your water feature will cause water runoff or freeze-thaw damage to rocks

Keeping Koi and Plants Alive in a Frozen Pond

Healthy koi fish and goldfish will rest on the bottom of the winterized pond. They will stay alive and survive, becoming active again in the spring.

  • Health tip #1: Give your pond a spring (or autumn) cleaning 
  • Health tip #2: Feed wheat germ pellets when water is between 55 and 70 degrees
  • Never feed your fish in winter, when water temperatures are below 55 degrees (In Kansas and the Wichita area, stop feeding after the first frost.)
  • Spend time inspecting your fishes shapes, skin and behavior
  • Inspect Perennial Pond Plants health and root zones, re-pot in autumn if necessary
  • Sink your pots of water lilies to a depth of 24-30 inches

Pond Winterizing Heaters & De Icers

  • If you shut off your pond, you must add aeration or a heater or de icer to create a hole.

    snowscene with stone lantern near pond
    A japanese stone lantern stands white-capped over a snowy water garden
  • Consider plugging the heater into a thermostatic outlet to be efficient.
  • In ponds 4 feet and deeper, you may run a bubbler aerator at the bottom to create the hole in the ice.

Pond Netting And Covers

  • Add a net to reduce leaves in water feature
  • Add Water Clarifying Products
  • In rare cases, some people pull a greenhouse canopy over the pond

If you need assistance with pond winterizing, or gathering the necessary supplies to protect your pond, consider our winterizing packages!

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  • Darthula Young
    October 15, 2021 at 8:15 am 

    I represent Hargrove estates in Flossmoor Illinois. We are trying to locate a vendor to winterize our retention pond.

    • zylev
      October 17, 2021 at 12:31 pm 

      Hi Darthula! That is a good question to ask! If you are looking for a company that can winterize fountains and waterfall pumps, I recommend you call a well serviceman or a watergarden contractor! Let me know if this helps your search!

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