6 Key Steps to Prepare your Minneapolis Outdoor Pond for Winter

Preparing your yard for the winter months is important when you live Minneapolis. When you have an outdoor pond, you’ll want to know how to prepare it for the freezing winter months ahead. Here are some simple steps to preparing your pond for winter.

  1. Reduce food for your fish

    Before the weather starts to drop below 50 degrees, you will want to start lowering the amount of food you give your fish. That way, they will be prepared for the lack of food in the winter and survive until spring. An indicator that it’s time to stop feeding them is when the outdoor temperature drops below 50 degrees. If your pond is shallow, it is a good idea to bring your fish inside. Typically, ice will freeze around four inches thick, but can get up to ten inches or more.

  2. Clean out your pond

    Dead plants and leaves can decay and poison your fish and other plant life if left in your pond over the winter. Rake out all the leaves and plants in your pond for healthier water in the spring.

  3. Move or remove plants

    Living plants can easily survive the winter if properly taken care of. Plants that are more hardy can stay in your pond if pushed more than 18 inches below the surface of the water. If your pond is not that deep, it is best to remove all plants to a warmer area. More delicate plants, like tropical lilies, need to be in a place where they won’t freeze at all. Remember to keep them watered while inside. Most plants can be wrapped with damp newspaper to keep from dying and placed in a warm area. Ask the Pond Doctor for more tips on plant health to keep your plants alive over the winter.

  4. Clean and move the pond filter

    Removing any dirt and filth from your filter will extend the life of your filter year to year. To protect your filter from ice damage, you will want to think about moving it out of the pond for the winter. Make sure to drain all the water before putting it in storage. Another option is to move it closer to the surface of the water so that any bubbles it creates will keep the water from completely freezing. Because of our Minnesota weather, we recommend removing it for the winter.

  5. Vacuum the pond if necessary

    If your pond is at a depth where you cannot scoop out the dead plants and leaves at the bottom, it is a good idea to vacuum them out from the bottom of the pond. It will keep your pond healthier over the course of the winter and  provide clean water in the spring.

  6. Cover your pond

    The last step is to cover your pond with netting or tarp over the winter. After all the cleaning you did, you’ll want to keep it clean until spring. The net or tarp will catch all the leaves and snow before it can get into your pond. Remember to clean off the netting or tarp every once in a while so that it doesn’t weigh down and fall into the pond.


Following these easy tips will prepare your pond for winter, and help you rest easy until spring. If you’re ready to learn more about Fall and Winter pond maintenance, then we’re ready to help. Simply contact us for more information.