Weatherford Democrat

Local News

December 8, 2013

ASK A MASTER GARDENER: Protecting backyard ponds, fish during winter

Here are this week’s gardening questions and answers, provided by Parker County Master Gardeners. To submit a question, send it to pcmgaquestions@gmail.com. For more information about Parker County Master Gardeners, or to become a member, call 817-598-6096 or visit www.pcmg-texas.org.

How do I winterize my backyard pond and protect my fish during the cold weather?

The first thing to do is stop feeding your fish. When the water temperature reaches 55 degrees Fahrenheit and remains there for several days, the fish metabolism slows down and feeding them becomes harmful. Fish cannot digest their food because they do not have a stomach, just a long intestinal tract. The food simply stays in their digestive tract and rots, causing death. I have already stopped feeding my fish and tucked them in for winter.

I usually start decreasing the amount of food in early November. Then I watch the weather forecast and check the water temperature as the cold fronts come through. The warmest area of the pond is the bottom, so the fish will go there and stay until the temperature of the pond warms up in the spring. As the weather warms, you will notice the fish becoming more active; and that will be your sign to start feeding again.

Since fish are slow-moving in the winter, I recommend you add a large rock or other structure where they can go for protection from blue herons, raccoons and other predators. Most fish are colorful, and they can’t easily escape. If their enemy spots them, they are lunch. The rock will help conceal them.

The plants in my pond are hardy in Parker County and go dormant during winter. I have anacharis (Egeria densa), lizard’s tail (Saururus cernuus) and water lilies (Nymphaea). As the foliage dies back, I remove it so that it doesn’t foul the water. My water lilies are hardy (not tropical), and I simply prune them back in the fall because they make a mess in the bottom of the pond. My pond is happy with these three plants but a larger pond could accommodate more.

I have placed a large black net over the pond to keep the falling leaves out. The net keeps the skimmer from being overloaded with leaves and keeps the pond clean. The net makes a huge difference in pond maintenance. Falling leaves will rot in the bottom of the pond and require draining and cleaning come spring.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Pair charged with assaulting kids

    Two Weatherford teens were arrested last week on charges of chasing down two bicycle-riding children in a car and assaulting them in a church parking lot, where the encounter was recorded.

    April 17, 2014

  • easter basket.jpg Easter egg hunt times, locations

    Following is information provided to the WD on four local Easter egg hunts and celebrations planned for Friday and Saturday:

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 2014 ACSI High School District Art Show Winners.jpg Weatherford Christian announces ACSI Art Show winners

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Larue, Jeffrey.jpg Wanted sex offender found in Weatherford

    A sex offender reportedly sought by Hood County authorities after failing to register as required was found in a Weatherford hotel last week, police say, after exposing himself to an employee.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0415 loc WC choir.jpg WC choir presents the works of Eric Whitacre

     The Weatherford College Choir will showcase the music of composer Eric Whitacre on Tuesday, April 29. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Alkek Fine Arts Center. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show is free.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Greenwood Horse Trials to begin May 2

    The annual Greenwood Farm, Inc. International Horse Trials kick off Friday, May 2.

     

    April 16, 2014

  • Bob Tallman Speaking at Chapel.jpg Tallman speaks at WCS chapel

    World renowned Rodeo Announcer Bob Tallman, better known as the “Voice of Professional Rodeo,” stopped by Weatherford Christian School’s elementary campus april 10 to speak to over 150 students in grades Pre-K through 6th at their bi-weekly chapel. 

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Hitting the trail for MS

    STEPHENVILLE – The Cowboy Capital MS Trail Ride is a fun-filled event dedicated to raising funds that support national research into the cause and cure for Multiple Sclerosis as well as provide programs to more than 9,000 people in the Lone Star Chapter area whose lives are touched by MS.

    April 16, 2014

  • 0416 loc WISD new HR director.jpg Chapman named WISD’s new Human Resources director

    Members of the Weatherford ISD Board of Trustees last week approved Monty Chapman as the district’s new executive director of Human Resources.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Accidental shooting reported

    Parker County deputies say a shooting that injured a man in the 8500 block of FM Road 1886 shortly after 5 p.m. Friday was reported to be accidental. 

    April 15, 2014

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video