A water feature adds a serene and calming effect and look to any backyard. The sound of the water trickling, the rich look that it adds to your home, and the opportunity to cool your toes off during the summer are amazing benefits of having a water feature. On the other hand, the cold winter weather in Independence can make it hard to keep up with the maintenance. The last thing you want is the pipes to freeze, causing some serious harm to your yard and home. At TLC Nursery & Outdoor Living, our team of landscaping professionals wants to make sure your home and water feature are safe and ready for this winter season.
Are There Fish in the Water?
Water features of all sizes need to be winterized in some way, whether it’s a small pool, a waterfall, or a large pond with fish. When there are fish involved, homeowners can choose to warm a section of the water so that they aren’t in danger. This will also help keep your pipes safe from freezing as well. There also needs to be some sort of water movement, so that there is enough oxygen in the water for the fish. At some point, fish will enter a sort of hibernation, so there’s no need to continue feeding them throughout the winter.
For smaller water features, around 200 gallons of water, our landscaping specialists recommend these winterizing steps.
When the first frost hits, it’s time to decide what you want to do with plants that are living in the water feature, such as water hyacinth, water poppy, or red star ludwigia. There are two options here: let the plants die and start over in the spring, or “overwinter” the plants. If you’ve never heard this term before, it simply means removing the plants from the feature and setting up a place in a garage or indoor window sill and transplanting the plants until spring. While this sounds like an obvious choice, there are risks and hurdles involved in this option that you should be aware of. Risks include transplant shock which can cause the plants to die, and a big hurdle is dealing with potentially large plants living and growing in your home for several months. A balance is to consider taking a few root cuttings of the plant and bring them inside. For this method, be sure that you dig up a large enough chunk of the root so that it has a chance to settle into its new home. Contact a landscaping professional for specific advice on what to do with your plants.
After the plants are out of the way, clean away any large debris that has found a home in the water feature, such as fallen leaves and sticks. Look closely at the pump for debris that could plug up the pump. Homeowners can also choose to drain the water feature to get a more thorough clean and look for algae. If the feature is drained, be sure to scrub the bottom and use an algaecide to remove traces of algae.
If you do not have fish and need to keep the pump flowing, it’s a crucial step that the pipes are drained and the pump is removed. If the pump is less than 16 inches deep, remove it and store it in a heated space. Be sure to drain all of the water from the lines, including hard to reach recesses and smaller spaces. The pipes need to be drained before the first frost, to allow any excess water a chance to evaporate. The first frost in Independence is typically around October 13th.
If any water in the pump freezes, it will cause pressure on the pump’s casing, which can lead to cracks. Any structural damage to the pump can let water into the pump, where the electrical lines are located. To prevent any unnecessary damage, remove the pump and you won’t have to worry about spending money needlessly on landscaping costs in the spring.
Adding a water feature to your landscaping design can add value and beauty to your home’s backyard, but there is a small amount of maintenance that needs to be done in early October. For expert advice and tips, contact TLC Nursery and Outdoor Living. Our landscaping professionals want you to enjoy your backyard year round and the fewer worries you have to deal with the better. Give us a call to ensure that your water feature is ready for another cold winter.