Let’s face it, winter weather can wreak havoc on anything left outside. From hoses and potted plants to water features, the damage can be extensive. That is why it’s essential to winterize your yard before cold weather hits, which includes your water feature. If you aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to winterizing your water feature, Kurtz Bros., Inc. is here to help! Keep reading for a step by step process for ensuring that your water feature will make it through winter unscathed!
1) Thoroughly Clean It
When it comes to winterizing a water feature, it is essential to thoroughly clean it. After the leaves fall, take the time to rake up leaves and remove them from the fountain or pond. Leaves piling up is a surefire way to attract insects and other pests that might harm your water feature. For fountains, you should also remove any dead plants or debris. Ponds should be vacuumed or raked out, if possible, to prevent the sediment from solidifying over the winter.
2) Clean and Remove Any Pumps
Another important action to take is to remove the pump, if applicable. You should also take this opportunity to thoroughly clean the pump. The last thing you want to happen is debris, algae, and dirt build-up to sit there all winter. This can clog the pump and cause irreparable damage. To clean the pump, you can soak it in a mixture of water and vinegar and then pump clean water throughout it until the water runs out clear.
3) If Possible, Empty the Water Feature Out
If possible, you should also empty out your water feature. This particularly pertains to fountains and small ponds without any fish living in it. This is the most important thing you can do because when water freezes, it expands and can crack and damage your water feature. A cracked foundation come spring means buying a new water feature or paying someone to fix it and that’s not something you want to do.
4) Prevent it From Freezing Over
If your pond is too large and cannot be emptied, you need to ensure that it does not freeze over. Plants and fish require air and that means they will die if the pond completely freezes over. Hopefully, your pond was designed with the local climate in mind if there are fish and plants in it, so it should be deep enough to keep it from freezing. If your pond isn’t deep enough—typically at least 2 feet deep in climates where temps drop to -4 degrees Fahrenheit—you should drain the pond and move plants and fish indoors until spring.
5) Care for Any Plants or Fish
If there are fish in your water feature and you’re confident that it won’t freeze over, you can leave them in there throughout winter. However, you will still need to care for them when the snow falls. As the temperatures drop and their metabolisms slow, it’s important to feed them less often and switch to a food with lower protein. To protect your hardy aquatic plants, cut them back and move them to the deepest part of the pond that won’t freeze over. Aquatic plants typically aren’t expensive so if you have to replace them come spring it won’t break the budget.
6) Bring it Indoors
The best course of action is to bring your water fountain indoors. If water gets inside of any cracks and freezes, your fountain's foundation will crack and you won’t be happy come spring when the water leaks right out of it. Enlist a friend or two, and possibly a two-wheeled cart, and if possible, move your water feature into a garage, basement or shed. Once the water is drained, it doesn’t matter if the fountain freezes, so be sure that you soak up any water with a blanket before storing it away for winter.
7) Empty Smaller Fountains and Fill with Winter Greens
If you don’t want a big empty fountain sitting outside all fall and winter, there are some creative ways to spruce it up without risking damage to it. One of these is to empty the water fountain and add some holiday cheer or winter greens. For fall you can add a cornucopia of hay, dried corn, and other festive decorations. Then switch things up and add some holiday greenery, pinecones, or anything else that you can think of to give your empty water feature a festive feel.
8) Purchase a Fountain Cover or Use Towels to Protect the Foundation
Last, but not least, if you cannot bring your fountain inside, another option is to purchase a fountain cover for it. Another protective cover like a tarp can also do the trick, as long as it keeps water and moisture out of the fountain. Specialized fountain covers come with a drawstring on the bottom and also come in a wide variety of sizes so you should easily be able to find one that fits well. If you can’t cover your fountain, you can also put some blankets, towels or absorbent material that will keep water from getting into the cracks and freezing.
Contact Kurtz Bros., Inc. Today for Help Winterizing Your Water Feature and Other Landscaping Elements!
The good news is if you don’t weatherize your water feature properly, the team at Kurtz Bros., Inc. is here to help! We are your landscaping experts and can help you bring your landscaping back to life in spring. Whether that involves installing a new water feature, creating new stunning landscape beds or simply planting some new flowers or shrubs, you can trust our experienced team to help you with the selection and design process. From patio pavers and tools to mulch, soil, and greenery, Kurtz Bros., Inc. has everything you need to make your landscaping the talk of the town. Stop into our store or contact us today to learn more about the quality products and landscaping solutions we offer!