Shutting down your back yard pond for the winter is an important step for every Minnesota resident. Follow the steps below to shut down your Minneapolis pond in preparation for another year of enjoyment starting next Spring.
Shortcut: Just contact Tim and he can do it all for you!
Use a thermometer to measure water temps throughout the late summer into the fall and winter. When the temperature starts to drop, slowly start changing the food you feed your fish. Wheat germ based food is ideal for this, as the fish can digest it even in the cold of winter, when their metabolisms slow down.
As the leaves begin to turn color and start to drop now is the time to add a net to your pond to catch the leaves. Make sure the net has been securely fastened around the edges, but don't let it sag into the water, as this can be harmful for the fish. If you prefer not to use a net, spend 10 minutes each evening removing the fallen leaves with a hand net. Empty the net in the skimmer box as needed.
Run your pump late into the fall as this will keep critters looking elsewhere for a place to hibernate during the winter. For a Minnesota pond, the first week of November is typically a good time to shut the pond down. However, this can change due to the weather. Remove the pump, filters and UV clarifier and store in the garage or basement. A good spray down from the garden hose is recommended prior to being placed in storage.
Open any ball valves on your hose and blow out any low spots. Any sitting water in the hose is susceptible to freezing and thus cracking the hose and plumbing. Place a rag in the hose where the pump attaches to prevent critters from crawling up into it.
If your pond is deep enough (38” or more) you will be able to winter over your plants in the pond. Prune any dead leaves and stems off of your deep water plants and move hardy plants around the edges of the pond into deeper water so that they will not freeze in the ice. If your pond is too shallow, you can place a bag over the pot and plants and store in your basement.
If your pond is deep enough (38” or more) you will be able to winter over your fish in the pond. You will not need to feed the fish during the winter. Place a floating heater in the pond to keep the pond from completely freezing over. Add an aerator at the bottom of the pond to supply oxygen to your fish.
Enjoy the winter and don't be concerned with the frozen water in the pond. That old water will be pumped out in the spring when it melts and you are ready to clean the pond. Also, the frozen water will help keep the critters at bay. Cuddle up and enjoy the beautiful Minnesota winter!