Homegrown: Goldfish in winter

This is the first time we’ve had goldfish in our pond, and I’m not sure of the best way to treat them over the winter. I’m assuming we can’t just let the surface freeze over, but am not sure if we need a heater, or what?

Thanks for your advice.

You shouldn’t have to make any drastic changes to keep your fish happy over the winter.

The exceptions to this are: if you have a very shallow pond (less than about 2 feet deep) or if your pond is in an above ground configuration.

In those cases, the water in the pond can sometimes freeze solid, top to bottom. Any fish would die.

For most people who have ponds sunk into the ground, it’s fine (and normal) for the entire surface of the pond to freeze over the winter, and that generally won’t affect your fish. They should be staying at the bottom of your pond now anyway, going into a dormant state that will sustain them throughout the winter.

My pond contains a filter (which I clean out well in the fall), pump and a concrete frog “spitter” that keeps a small section of the pond from icing over and aerates the water. This aeration ensures that any leftover debris at the bottom of the pond doesn’t leach all the oxygen from the water and suffocate the fish.

When temperatures drop, I have the added bonus of a very cool ice sculpture emitting from the spitter.

I’m cautious about recommending heaters for a pond, primarily because it’s very easy to overheat the water. If you want to use a heater, the trick is to find a heater with reliable settings that allow it to maintain the same temperature (preferably just a little above freezing) throughout the winter.

When should I prune rose hips? Is it better for the rose to leave them on for the winter?

Thank you,

 

Actually, I don’t think it matters a bit to the plant when you prune them off or even if you prune them off at all.

I’d say most people leave them on through the winter. They lend a bit of color to the winter landscape. In fact, I was walking through one of our greenhouses marveling at how pretty some of the hips are on the shrub roses we’re over-wintering.

The hips also can provide food for birds and other critters through the winter, especially if they are smaller.

I leave them on the roses in my front yard through the winter ,but I usually try to get them off the roses in the back because our dog likes eating them and it causes, shall we say, intestinal issues.

While I’m on the subject of rose hips, I do like pruning them off during the summer months (we call it deadheading). Doing this will extend bloom periods and hasten reblooming throughout the season.

I’m not that fussy about where I prune. To tell you the truth, I deadhead with hedge shears, just whacking the plant back to remove the hips.

I stop any pruning on roses, including deadheading, the first part of August.

Cutting back any plant will stimulate new growth and I don’t want to encourage that in the fall since it can be damaged by early frosts. I’ll wait until things have started freezing up (usually mid to late November) before I resume any pruning.


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