I’m sure if you have a pond it’ll be looking a little sad now (like mine) as autumn has definitely taken a grip, so it’s time to tuck it up for the winter.
First off cut back the marginal to about 5cm or at water level and do remove the foliage – the less foliage that ends up in the water the better as rotting foliage can cause an oxygen deficit and it leads to a build-up of sediment. Having said that if you have a pond that is heavy on wildlife you may want to leave some stems for the insects – and it can look quite “arty” on a frosty winter’s morning. Do cut back the water lilies and remove the foliage – don’t worry if you see what looks like an “oily slick” on the water surface, it often happens and is a natural “oil” from the water lily that will quickly disappear.
The next major task is to stop as much leaf fall as possible ending up in the pond and I promise you no matter how well you net it some will get in! There’s lots of different nets available, some are less conspicuous than others. The very fine ones do stop leaves of all sizes but tend to easily snag so you only really get one or two years use out of them. Whichever type you go for it’s definitely worth supporting it with canes or stakes so that it doesn’t sag into the water under the weight of the leaves which rather negates the point of putting the net on in the first place as the leaves still end up rotting in the pond. Creating a “tent” effect using the canes does mean that most of the leaves “roll” to the edge which makes them easier to remove – but you do need a bigger net overall (and the “tent” is much more noticeable). As for your pond pump there’s two ways to go, either totally remove it but do make sure you fully clean it before storing it somewhere frost free otherwise by the spring it could be seized.
The other option is to leave it in and running, raise it up (I put mine on the marginal shelf) so that the deep water stays warmer, the added advantage is it keeps a hole in the ice. The fish in the pond slow down just like the plants and go into semi – hibernation.
If you feed your fish go onto a low protein feed like a wheat germ based one that they can digest readily and only feed on warmer days, once the cold weather fully arrives you will not be feeding at all. And if you want to make sure your fish are in really good condition for the winter treat your pond with a general tonic treatment. You’ll also find as it gets colder you’ll see less and less of the fish and come the beginning of winter they’ll be right down the bottom hidden from view – not to be seen until spring, what a great way to spend the winter snuggled up until it gets warm again!