Fall in the Southern states is much different than that in other parts of the country, most notably the Northeast where rain and rapidly dropping temperatures make for a drastic change in the fall, leading into the harsh cold and heavy snows of winter.
With that said, pond owners here still need to prepare for the changing seasons. While ice and snow will likely not be a factor, the change in temperature from the sweltering days of summer to the coolness of autumn still means that there are some preparations to make to ensure your private ponds and waterways are ready for the cooler weather yet to come.
Taking care of your pond or lake requires a total management plan. As the air temperatures drop, so do water temperatures, and with a lower temperature in the water, your pond’s wildlife needs change. The first step to take is to clean the pond before the water gets below 50 degrees. Pond owners should have a thermostat in their pond to monitor changing water temperature, and can monitor it for signs that temperatures are moving into a cold-weather matter. Fish are more active when the water is warm, so there is less of a risk of them being injured while cleaning when the water is still warm.
To clean the pond, first remove all the debris from the surface and the pond’s edge. This can include plants that may have sprung up, like weeds or cattails. You may also work to remove excess water weed growth as well. While these do offer a bit of food and protection for smaller fish in the pond, they can also become dead rot as water temperatures fall.
For smaller decorative ponds, you’ll also want to fully change out the water. Remember to add a water conditioner to remove harmful contaminants. You can also place a net about 18 inches above the pond to help catch the heavier debris, like falling leaves, as autumn progresses.
Owners should also alter the fish’s diet. In cold weather, you may want to reduce how much you feed the fish – or even stop feeding them all. Autumn is also a good time to restock your pond if needed, getting the population ready to go and thrive again as soon as spring arrives.
If you’re not sure of the best course of action for your pond, give the team at Kenneth Henneke Fish Hatchery a call. We can help with your cleaning and winter pond maintenance planning, and make sure that your pond – and the fish within it – will survive the colder months and be ready for spring. Learn more about our total pond and lake management services by giving us a call at 361-798-5934.