It’s hard to believe, but fall is right around the corner. The kids are back in school, our morning commute is clogged with yellow buses again, and coffee shops are bringing back their pumpkin lattes. We’ve even already seen some Halloween displays in the grocery store! Yes, whether we like it or not, summer is coming to an end. As we soak up these last days of warmth and sunshine, it’s time to think about getting our homes, gardens and backyard ponds ready for fall.
Even if it feels a bit too soon to start your fall water garden prep, the earlier you start the less stressful the transition will be.
Leaf clean-up. In certain parts of the country our evenings have been getting pretty cool. While it may be great sleeping weather, you might already be spotting some fallen leaves. General debris clean-up is something you should be on top of all year round, but it starts to intensify in the fall as more leaves fall and more pond plants shed their foliage. Regularly clean up leaves and remove them from your pond. Once leaf fall is getting heavy, consider putting up leaf netting. Leaf netting goes over your pond and collects leaves before they can get into your water and cause damage. It also keeps your pond fish safe from predators. Consider installing a pond skimmer to collect debris from the surface of your water when you are unable to manually do so.
Decide what you are going to do with your pond plants. Heartier pond plants should be able to stick around into fall, so you may want to leave them alone and enjoy their beauty for as long as possible. If you have some plants that you plan to relocate indoors for the winter, get all of your potting supplies together and be ready to make the transfer when the time comes. Of course, any plants that you are leaving around your water garden for the fall should be pruned and tended to regularly to ensure they aren’t filling your pond with debris.
Prepare to take your fish inside if you plan to do so. If you plan to move your fish indoors for the colder months get all of your equipment ready. You’ll need containers for them to live in along with the usual maintenance items such as water treatments and food. You’ll want to get your fish indoors before the water temperature has dropped significantly. Fish often don’t do well with sudden, intense temperature changes.
Start thinking about the equipment you’ll need. If you plan to leave your pond running during the winter, you’ll need several pieces of equipment to ensure it remains healthy. A pond pump, de-icer, skimmer, filter and aerator will help keep things running as they should be. You’ll want all of these items to be in good running order when the weather starts getting cold.
A big part of fall prep is considering what measures you plan to take when the weather really turns cold. During the milder part of fall, your pond will likely continue to thrive as long as you are diligent about cleaning up fallen leaves and other debris. But it is important to have a plan in place for the colder months, and to make sure you are ready to make these transitions before it’s too late. Stock up on supplies for transferring your fish and/or plants, and make sure you have the electronic equipment needed to keep a pond functioning during the winter.