Throughout the summer, debris in various forms builds up in your pond. The sources of this debris could be falling leaves, decaying plants, fish waste, and algae. This organic matter greatly reduces water quality and increases stress to both your pond fish and pond plants during the long winter months. To properly winterize your pond, use a pond net to remove excess floating debris and then you must remove excess sludge from the water.
Sludge build up can be greatly reduced by using Pond Care POND-ZYME or ECOFIX. These are all natural bacterial products that help to digest pond sludge organically. Since you are stirring things up, this would be a good time for a partial water change. Change 50% of the water in your pond at this time (preferably autumn). This will greatly increase overall water quality. It is important to not remove all of your ponds debris. Remove only about 90% of the build-up; the remaining 10% will be needed by your aquatic life through the winter.
In the fall, as you prepare your plants for winter, remove all dead and dying leaves as needed. If your potted plant material is winter hearty, you can place your pots in the deepest part of your pond to overwinter. If your plants are more temperature sensitive, you will need to bring them inside the garage for the winter.
You can overwinter these plants by using a mulch (peat moss is recommended) and maintain adequate moisture levels throughout the winter months. Remember when you overwinter your plant material, these plants will need a source of light, and do not return these plants to your pond until daytime temperature are at least 70 degrees.
Performing these basic maintenance procedures ensures that you have prepared your pond and pond plant material for another season. It is recommended that these maintenance steps be taken in the fall when pond fish are healthiest.