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Winterizing Your Pond Plants

For homeowners that have invested in pond plants, pond winterization is a crucial task that needs their attention every fall. Preparing the water features for the winter is the only way to ensure the prized flora starts up again in the spring. While there are tasks to prepare the water and pumps as well, preparation for winter usually begins with the plants. The greenery around any pond provides oxygen for the water and natural algae control by using up the free nitrogen. Protect plants from low temperatures before winter rolls around in your area.

Plenty of Trimming

In most climates, hardy water plants are still prone to damage in their aerial leaves and stems. Submerged roots, leaves, and crowns are usually just fine. Even frozen water won’t damage plant material left below the surface. For both floating and margin pond plants, pond winterization requires a thorough trim. Cut dead or dying material off first, then remove leaves and stems on water lilies, watercress, and bog plants. Crowns and roots are usually left in place, unless potted. Potted plants should be moved to the deepest areas so they aren’t at risk for being touched by ice.

Full Removal

More delicate tropical varieties will need to come out entirely and overwinter indoors or in a heated greenhouse. This is beyond the ability of many homeowners, but it is worth trying if you have a fountain in a heated area and just one or two rare plants to try and keep. Many non-hardy water lilies and marginal flowers fall into this category, as well as submerged varieties like cabomba. Discard anything that you can replace inexpensively when the weather warms up again so you don’t have dead plant material floating in the water all winter.

Final Clean Up

You don’t have to pull out every plant for the winter, but do remove anything that isn’t thriving and make sure the water is clear and clean. Floating leaves and other debris only make it harder for the natural balance of life to return again in the spring.