An outdoor fountain can provide a touch of natural beauty that can last for many years. However, unless you live in a climate that is free of cold and frost you will need to do some maintenance on your fountains when the weather starts to chill. In this article we will demonstrate how to winterize an outdoor fountain.
Step 1 – Cleaning the Fountain
You will need to clean your fountain before the onset of winter. Be sure to clear it of any algae or dirt. To handle the algae there are chemicals that you can purchase from pool supply shops. To remove the dirt, you will need to scrub it by hand. If you did this on a regular basis over the summer months, it shouldn’t be too big of a job when it comes time to winterize your fountain.
Step 2 – Livestock Concerns
Attend to any fish. If you have fish in your fountain or water feature you will need to start cutting back on their food. Fish eat less as the weather gets colder. When the water temperature drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, change their food to one that is easily digestible. When the temperature drops below 50 degrees, it's safe to stop feeding them. Fish will hibernate if keeping them in the fountain is the option you choose. Excess food will only pollute the water, making survival for the fish even more difficult.
Step 3 – Attend to Plants
Remove excess foliage. Over the summer you may have noticed that plants have started to bloom. As the weather cools, you will see these same plants start to perish. Whether they are plants growing naturally in the base of the fountain or debris that has blown inside it, they will still need to be removed. Leaving it will only cause them to rot and create further mess for you to deal with later.
Step 4 – Water Starvation
Once the cold weather has arrived or the first frost hits, you may decide to turn the fountain off. If you live in a climate where the water is likely to freeze, it is essential that you do this. You will also need to check that no standing water remains in the pipes. Freezing water can cause permanent damage to your fountain as well as its mechanics.
Netting your pond or fountain base can help keep leaves and other debris from blowing into it. This can become a problem in autumn when the leaves start to fall from the trees. This will make cleanup operations far quicker and easier.
Consider buying frost-hardy lilies. These can be sunk to the bottom of your pond to protect other roots from freezing. This is an effective way to protect any plants you may wish to keep over the winter.
If freezing to the bottom is likely in your part of the world, all fish need to be removed, as hibernating in ice will be impossible.