Documents: Special Interest: Water Gardening:

Preparing The Pond For Winter
by Sheena Adams
by Sheena Adams


Sheena Adams, owner of Urban Greenery, a nursery which focuses on organics, education, and neat plants, both ornamental and edible.

The nursery is in Cherry Creek a small community on Vancouver Island and has been open for 6 years. Sheena is educated in horticulture as well as being an arborist.

She has written for local newspapers and magazines and focuses on trends and organic matters. Her spare time is spent with her daughter, Tannis, in the veggie garden and playing with her chickens.

To learn more about sheena you can visit the store web site at drop by for a visit

October 26, 2003

Water features are a popular part of many gardens. Preparing them for the winter begins in the early fall. A pond that is cleaned often and regularly maintained will keep itself clean and free of any diseases or pests.

Take advantage of some gardening time this fall to divide your pond plants. Lillie's and iris's can all be divided successfully during the month of September, save the grasses for next spring. To divide simply remove the plant from the container, pretend the root ball is a pie and slice it with a strong 12" stainless steel serrated knife into quarters, thirds, or even eighths. Start from the top of the pie and make a clean-cut right through. When all the cuts are complete gently separate all the pieces, you'll feel the roots pull apart. A successful division will leave you with a plant top with roots intact, as well as a bit of dirt. Repot your pieces into soil designed specifically for the pond. You can replant into specially designed pond containers or simply use old black nursery containers. In early October tender pond plants, such as water hyacinth should be placed into a bucket of pond water and tucked into a low light area of the garage or greenhouse for the winter. Hardy plants, such as lilies or iris are perfectly fine left in the water; just ensure that the root ball is at least 12" under the water.

If you have a problem with algae or pond scum you may want to consider the application of a biological control product, such as Autumn Prep. This product is specifically designed to help shut your pond down in preparation for winter. Extremely easy and safe to use, you'll really notice the results next summer.

As the leaves begin to fall it is important to keep them out of the pond. Organic material breaking down in the pond will rob the oxygen in the water and release too much nitrogen. An easy way to do this is to stretch fish net or similar material across the pond. As the leaves fall this will stop them from entering the pond. When the layer is thick remove, shake, replace. The extra leaves will be fabulous in the compost pile!

If you have only a small water bowl or pond without fish, now is the perfect time to empty and wipe everything down. A natural cleanser is simply to use baking soda and lemon. Scrub the containers, rinse and put your pond away for the winter or replace. Water bowls, which are not frost hardy, should be cleaned, dried and placed away in the garage. Plants can be stored in buckets of water until needed.

There are many accessories, which can help provide colour and shelter as the plants in our ponds shut down. Look for floating ducks, turtles or frogs that will brighten up any pond. And for fun there is floating tea light holders, these really help to brighten an early evening!

Ponds are living eco systems, which will shut down as our days shorten and temperatures drop. But don't worry after a long winters rest they will be full of energy to put on the show next year!


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