How to Care for a Pond in the Winter


Winter is a time when ponds slow down. Fish respond to the cooler water with a slower metabolism, water plants slip into a dormant state and in northern latitudes, ponds freeze over. If you have a small pond or water garden, you can get ready for this time of year by winterizing your pond. A pond that is winterized properly will be easier to care for the following spring.

Step 1

Skim your pond regularly to remove fallen leaves to prevent them from fouling the water as they decompose.

Step 2

Cover small ponds with netting to help keep leaves off of the water.

Step 3

Remove tender water plant bulbs and store them in wet sand in temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit through the winter. A basement or unheated garage is a good place to store them.

Step 4

Cut hearty marginal plants down to the soil level, and set their containers deeper in the pond so that they are not caught in a layer of freezing water.

Step 5

Cut back and remove dead or damaged foliage from the water.

Step 6

Add a device to the water to keep ice partially melted and allow for oxygen to reach the water for fish.

Step 7

Cut back on feeding fish. Fish do not eat much during winter and extra food may foul the water.

Things You'll Need

  • Pond straining net
  • Net pond cover
  • Wet sand
  • Storage bucket
  • Pruning shears
  • Ice melting device


  • Colorado State University Extension: Water gardening: winterizing water lilies
  • Extension: Take Care of Aquatic Gardens in Fall and Winter

Who Can Help

  • Texas A&M University: Maintenance
Keywords: winter pond care, winterizing water gardens, growing water plants

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."