Preparing Your Pond for Fall & Winter

Published on: November 04, 2019

Cutter N' Rake

Cutter N' Rake

The seasonal change from summer to fall is a sight to behold. Multicolored leaves start to fall from trees. As the temperatures also begin to fall, preparing your pond or dugout for the seasonal transition is very important; especially if you live in an area where it goes below freezing consistently during the winter.

Prevent Organic Matter from Entering Your Pond

In addition to trees preparing for winter by shedding their leaves, plants and crops that have died off mixed with rain create run off that adds organic matter to your pond (including fertilizer residue). Reduce the amount of dead leaves and plants that get in your pond by trimming trees and brush near your pond, or by raking the debris away before it has a chance to get into your pond.

Organic matter that gets into your pond decomposes and in the process, depletes oxygen that is critically important for keeping fish alive and ensuring your pond does not become stagnant and smelly. Decaying organic matter also builds up on the bottom of your pond as a layer of muck and sludge; this leads to higher nutrient levels that can cause algae and aquatic weed growth the following spring.

Our Cutter N' Rake is the ideal tool to help with fall pond prep! Learn More about Cutter N' Rake >>

Reduce Nutrients and Organic Matter in the Pond

As colder weather sets in, life inside your pond begins to slow down. If you have been applying Nature's Pond Conditioner Spring-Summer during the spring and summer months, most of the beneficial bacteria and enzymes that consume excess nutrients in the water will have died off. Autumn is the time of year we suggest you use Nature's Pond Conditioner Fall-Winter.

Nature’s Pond Conditioner Fall-Winter is a blend of naturally occurring bacteria, enzymes, plant extracts, and a preservative that adds to the longevity and productivity of the bacteria and enzymes during colder weather conditions. It enables the microbes to keep consuming and cleaning the debris, run off, and decaying matter in your pond throughout the winter. Using Nature's Pond Conditioner Fall-Winter helps ensure your pond remains healthy during the winter and is in good shape next spring.

Maintain the Health of your Pond with Aeration

If you live in an area where it goes below freezing consistently during the winter, than bottom-up aeration is very important. Oxygen levels in the water can become fatally low which can cause harm to the life it supports.

Here is a short timeline of what will happen to your pond if it is not aerated in the winter:

  • Ice covers the dugout in early winter and prevents the wind from mixing the water.
  • Snow and ice cover the pond and the shade prevents adequate levels of oxygen to be produced through photosynthesis.
  • Dead algae at the bottom of the dugout begin to decompose consuming the already depleted oxygen resource at the bottom of the dugout.
  • The oxygen is not replaced and the absence of oxygen in the water allows plant nutrients and metals which are trapped in the sediment to dissolve into the water.
  • Later in the winter, the absence of oxygen results in the release of hydrogen sulphide (rotten egg smelling gas). More nutrients and metals are released into the water at the bottom of the dugout and the layer of poor quality water increases in thickness.
  • You can notice taste and odour problems when the poor-quality water reaches the intake and is pumped into the house for use.
  • When spring arrives, the heat from the sun melts the ice and creates a uniform water temperature throughout the dugout. The uniform temperature allows the wind to mix the dugout bringing nutrient rich water from the bottom to the surface. Spring runoff adds a small amount of plant nutrients in comparison with that released from the sediment during the winter.

Pond water starting off the spring is ripe for early algae blooms and is of poor quality for other uses such as crop irrigation and cattle drinking. To avoid all the problems that can occur during and after winter the best solution is bottom up aeration. By providing oxygen to the water environment:

  • Fish and other living organisms are supported during the decomposition phase of organic matter
  • Oxygen is equally distributed throughout the pond and there is no sediment build up on the bottom
  • Metals and nutrients are not dissolved into the water and can be burned off
  • Ponds will remain clean and clear and ready to accommodate any influx of nutrients with the spring runoff

To avoid all the problems that can occur during and after winter the best solution is "Bottom Up" Aeration. Aerated ponds will typically have an open area of water. This open water is due to the constant circulation of air bubbles rising from the bottom to the surface. The amount of open water is determined by the type of diffusers used and the overall efficiency of the aeration system. Point source diffusers such as air stones create a lot of turbulence at the surface and help prevent ice formations.

Another benefit of having open water in the winter may be for watering cattle and other livestock, attracting ducks and other animals to the edge of the pond. Hunters appreciate the extra benefit of keeping fish healthy while at the same time attracting ducks, deer, and other animals to their hunting grounds.

If you choose not to aerate your pond for a portion of the winter in order to have the pond freeze over for skating and activities, you can protect wear and tear on your windmill compressor by lowering it down using your pivot point tower hinges.

Find the Best Aeration System for you >>

Prepare your Pond Equipment

Freezing can cause damage, wear and tear on aeration systems. If you are in a colder climate then we recommend attaching the Koenders Freeze Control Unit. Whenever you compress air condensation can form in the airline and can create an ice blockage if it is cold. With a freeze control unit alcohol will be automatically be injected to melt the ice. This will help ensure aeration during winter as well as help protect the compressor from back-pressure due to blockages. We recommend using Isopropyl Alcohol at 90-99% purity.For Koenders customers in colder climates we also recommend a pressure release valve and weighted airlines. A pressure release valve will protect your compressor from back-pressure due to line blockages like ice buildup or a twisted hose. Eliminating back-pressure will increase the lifespan of your unit. It is recommended to use weighted airlines in the water so that it does not float in your pond. This will help prevent lines freezing in the ice layer on top of the pond and cracking. Get your Pond Equipment here >>

Contact our Pond Consultants at 1-877-888-7707 or for more information on how to prepare for Winter!

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