How to Winterize Your Water Feature
With winter on the way, there are some things that should be done to winterize your yard. One of the most important things is to properly winterize your water feature, if you have one. This will ensure that no damage is caused over the winter and you will avoid disappointment the following year when you are ready to get it going again.
These guidelines are meant for fountains and water features only, not for ponds that contain fish or remain unfrozen over the winter. If you are unsure of how to prepare your larger pond for winter, talk to one of our water gardening experts for advice.
The first thing you should do in preparation of winter is remove any water plants you may have. You will have to decide if you are going to over-winter them indoors or just buy new ones the following spring. Since over-wintering water plants requires time and space, this can be a tricky process. Whether or not you decide to over-winter your plants, they should be removed before or at the first frost.
Drain your Feature
With the plants out of the way, it is now time to clean and drain your feature. Remove any debris that has fallen to the bottom of the bowl or into the pump vault, if you have one. The pump vault is the box that holds the pump and having any debris in it may affect the water uptake of your pump next season. You should clean any algae that have formed. You can use simple dish soap and a scrub brush to clean your feature. It’s not a good idea to use bleach because bleach can dry and crack the seals of your pump. After your feature has been cleaned well, make sure it is completely dry. If it is not dry before winter, the water left in it will freeze, expand, and damage your feature.
Store your Feature
For small fountains, it is best to disassemble them and store in a safe location. This will prevent them from becoming weathered or damaged over the harsh months. If your feature is small enough to do this, it is also a good idea to bring the pump inside. You may want store the pump in a bucket of water to prevent the seals from drying out and cracking.
If you are not able to store your fountain because of its size, you should ensure that it is completely dry. Then it should be covered thoroughly with a tarp or a fountain cover. Fountain covers are available in our garden store. If you are not able to remove the pump, you can leave it in your feature over the winter, but, again, it must be completely dry. If there is any water in your pump over winter it will freeze. This will damage your pump and you may have to replace part or all of it the following year.
For in-ground water features, you should also ensure they are dry. If your feature is made out of concrete or plastic having water in it over the winter will cause it to crack. If you can remove the pump and store it inside, do so. Otherwise, as long is the pump is dry it is okay to leave it out over the winter.
With these few simple steps, you can ensure that your water feature will bring you many seasons of enjoyment for years to come.