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How much buffer for planted pines around pond?
#514315 11/25/19 10:05 AM
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I have a 4 acre pond that sits in the middle of 50 acres. Years ago, before I owned this property, the land was was pasture and the pond was always full according to the previous owner. In the 90s, they planted pines on the land up to about 10 feet surrounding the pond. This obviously killed the runoff and the pond hasn't been consistently full for years. We recently had the pines clear cut and the pond is now fuller than it has ever been this time of year since the trees got established. There are two obvious runoffs that send tons of water into the pond after the smallest rain. I plan on replanting pines next fall. I want to do so in a manner to not affect runoff as best I can. I am not going to plant where the two runoffs are coming down toward the pond. My big question is how much space should I leave between the pond bank and nearest row of pines? I'd like to leave an adequate buffer that would still allow good runoff. Also, I'm up for any other pointers on my planting that y'all might have.

Last edited by GaSoPond; 11/25/19 02:29 PM.
Re: How much buffer for planted pines?
GaSoPond #514317 11/25/19 10:24 AM
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Why do you think pines affected runoff? Were there a lot of fallen needles blocking the water flow?

Re: How much buffer for planted pines?
RAH #514318 11/25/19 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted By: RAH
Why do you think pines affected runoff? Were there a lot of fallen needles blocking the water flow?


The biggest issue was that the pines were not maintained and by the time we bought the place in 2013, the undergrowth was beyond repair without a clear cut. There were areas you could not even walk through it had gotten so thick. This may have affected the runoff more than the pines I guess.

Re: How much buffer for planted pines?
GaSoPond #514323 11/25/19 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted By: GaSoPond
Originally Posted By: RAH
Why do you think pines affected runoff? Were there a lot of fallen needles blocking the water flow?


The biggest issue was that the pines were not maintained and by the time we bought the place in 2013, the undergrowth was beyond repair without a clear cut. There were areas you could not even walk through it had gotten so thick. This may have affected the runoff more than the pines I guess.


I have issues with undergrowth as well. Did you try a controlled burn?


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Re: How much buffer for planted pines?
anthropic #514326 11/25/19 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted By: anthropic
Originally Posted By: GaSoPond
Originally Posted By: RAH
Why do you think pines affected runoff? Were there a lot of fallen needles blocking the water flow?


The biggest issue was that the pines were not maintained and by the time we bought the place in 2013, the undergrowth was beyond repair without a clear cut. There were areas you could not even walk through it had gotten so thick. This may have affected the runoff more than the pines I guess.


I have issues with undergrowth as well. Did you try a controlled burn?


Unfortunately, it was already so bad when we purchased the property that any burning would have destroyed the 25 year old pines. There was just too much fuel. The good thing is that the pines were ready to cut now anyway. This has now given us a clean slate to work with and I want to do it right going forward. I will certainly manage the new pines so we don't have an undergrowth issue. I was just hoping to get some thoughts on what people had done regarding the amount of setback from the pond to plant the pines as to not inhibit runoff as best I could.

Re: How much buffer for planted pines?
GaSoPond #514332 11/25/19 07:27 PM
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Was the roots possibly raising the ground enough to create a trance? Doing so causing the water to run away from the pond. That's the only reason in my head that would cause this. I'm no expert at all just my thoughts. I'm not understanding any other reason a tree would be stopping tour runoff.


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Re: How much buffer for planted pines?
GaSoPond #514333 11/25/19 07:46 PM
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I suspect that it is not so much that the pines and the under growth diverted the runoff as it is they absorbed it. That many trees and that heavy under brush require HUGE amounts of water and the roots keep the soil loose and ready to suck up any water available. My advice, keep the underbrush and accumulated pine needles to a minimum going forward. There is a good market for pine needle straw. My BIL has acreage in pines in Florida (not far from Dothan) and the buyer comes and harvests the needles and writes him a check!

The rule of thumb I've read is keep the trees at least 50 feet away from the pond unless you want them tapping into the pond as a water source.

Just my 1 cent....

Last edited by Bill D.; 11/25/19 08:30 PM. Reason: clarification


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Re: How much buffer for planted pines?
Bill D. #514337 11/25/19 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted By: Bill D.
I suspect that it is not so much that the pines and the under growth diverted the runoff as it is they absorbed it. That many trees and that heavy under brush require HUGE amounts of water and the roots keep the soil loose and ready to suck up any water available. My advice, keep the underbrush and accumulated pine needles to a minimum going forward. There is a good market for pine needle straw. My BIL has acreage in pines in Florida (not far from Dothan) and the buyer comes and harvests the needles and writes him a check!

The rule of thumb I've read is keep the trees at least 50 feet away from the pond unless you want them tapping into the pond as a water source.

Just my 1 cent....


Good advice. Though I will say that having felling a few pines on the shoreline into the water helps create good structure. Bob L says to leave up dead trees where it is safe, as they will harbor many species, especially birds.

Last edited by anthropic; 11/25/19 09:30 PM.

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Re: How much buffer for planted pines?
anthropic #514343 11/26/19 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted By: anthropic
Originally Posted By: Bill D.
I suspect that it is not so much that the pines and the under growth diverted the runoff as it is they absorbed it. That many trees and that heavy under brush require HUGE amounts of water and the roots keep the soil loose and ready to suck up any water available. My advice, keep the underbrush and accumulated pine needles to a minimum going forward. There is a good market for pine needle straw. My BIL has acreage in pines in Florida (not far from Dothan) and the buyer comes and harvests the needles and writes him a check!

The rule of thumb I've read is keep the trees at least 50 feet away from the pond unless you want them tapping into the pond as a water source.

Just my 1 cent....


Good advice. Though I will say that having felling a few pines on the shoreline into the water helps create good structure. Bob L says to leave up dead trees where it is safe, as they will harbor many species, especially birds.


One would also believe that a few trees,Pines or otherwise, strategically placed close to the edge, would do wonders to shade water in the hot summer months, I have had experience with fishing in the summertime, they are more active and bite later into the day in shaded areas. jmo


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Re: How much buffer for planted pines?
RStringer #514359 11/26/19 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted By: RStringer
Was the roots possibly raising the ground enough to create a trance? Doing so causing the water to run away from the pond. That's the only reason in my head that would cause this. I'm no expert at all just my thoughts. I'm not understanding any other reason a tree would be stopping tour runoff.


I think it was simply the fact that 45 acres of huge pines trees with enormous amounts of undergrowth were immediately surrounding the pond. All of this would soak up most of the water trying to make its way to the pond.

Re: How much buffer for planted pines?
Bill D. #514360 11/26/19 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted By: Bill D.
I suspect that it is not so much that the pines and the under growth diverted the runoff as it is they absorbed it. That many trees and that heavy under brush require HUGE amounts of water and the roots keep the soil loose and ready to suck up any water available. My advice, keep the underbrush and accumulated pine needles to a minimum going forward. There is a good market for pine needle straw. My BIL has acreage in pines in Florida (not far from Dothan) and the buyer comes and harvests the needles and writes him a check!

The rule of thumb I've read is keep the trees at least 50 feet away from the pond unless you want them tapping into the pond as a water source.

Just my 1 cent....


Thanks for the rule of thumb. That's exactly what I was looking for. Just couldn't find anything specific on the matter. I think going forward I'll plant my new trees no closer than 50 feet from the pond and manage the timber with controlled burns and mowing to keep undergrowth at bay. This should help tremendously with runoff issues.

Re: How much buffer for planted pines?
GaSoPond #514363 11/26/19 05:22 PM
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Most of my watershed is in timber. It is steeply sloped toward the pond. It is completely unproductive unless we get enough rain to saturate the ground. The trees actually seem to capture most water from a short rain in the canopy. If I'm working in the woods sometimes I don't realize it is raining until I enter a clearing.

Timber was thinned before my time, I think at least 5 years ago. Delimbing left deep pine mulch. Often over a foot thick. This is a sponge.

Once saturated, temporary creeks run from the forest to the pond, often for a few weeks.

I have been clearing underbrush, mostly youpon holly. It is TBD if this will help.

Small portions of the watershed are in turf. Water runs off this with any decent rain.

Last edited by Vortex 4; 11/26/19 05:23 PM.

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Re: How much buffer for planted pines?
GaSoPond #514366 11/26/19 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted By: GaSoPond
...manage the timber with controlled burns....


You are a braver man than me my friend! I would never start a "controlled" fire under pine trees and all that pine tar. If you want a demonstration, take a small green pine branch and/or some pine needles and throw them in a campfire.

Last edited by Bill D.; 11/26/19 10:48 PM.


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Re: How much buffer for planted pines?
GaSoPond #514367 11/26/19 10:07 PM
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The controlled burns done around here are in mixed oak/hickory forests.

Re: How much buffer for planted pines?
GaSoPond #514373 11/27/19 06:21 AM
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I have done a controlled burn in a 15 yr old stand of Pines. I was a little worried when I lit it up. You have to plan ahead and wait for the right weather. Purpose was to burn off the underbrush and a thick layer of pine needles. Pines also had a few small Oak trees up to maybe 15' tall. Pines can handle a burn with little to no damage to the trees. The Oaks did not survive the burn. But I have to say I was a little nervous when I lit it up. I am on the district line as to which fire dept would handle it if fire became out of hand. And so neither of the two fire dept's wanted anything to do with the controlled burn. Their final word was if it gets out of hand call 911. I finally figured out they wanted to distance themselves from anything to do with a controlled burn. I also did a controlled burn in an overgrown pasture. That burn almost got out of hand because the wind came up that morning before the burn was completed. After that burn I have not done another controlled burn because an "UN Controlled Burn" is not good. Weather has to be perfect for a burn.

Last edited by TGW1; 11/27/19 06:22 AM.

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Re: How much buffer for planted pines?
GaSoPond #514374 11/27/19 06:46 AM
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My 2 acre pond is completely surrounded by pines. There is only about a 40-50 foot buffer from the waters edge. Still...every year baby pines come up all over my ponds bank like grass growing!! I mow what I can and the ones I really can't get to I wait till they are a little larger and then walk down the steep banks and cut them one at a time!! Sooo...in my opinion a 50 ft buffer is not near enough!!


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Re: How much buffer for planted pines?
GaSoPond #514377 11/27/19 07:27 AM
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I think that it probably depends on the species of pine and climactic zone how they affect a pond, in addition to individual location characteristics. I do not think white pines near one of my ponds has any adverse effect.

Re: How much buffer for planted pines?
TGW1 #514381 11/27/19 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted By: TGW1
I also did a controlled burn in an overgrown pasture. That burn almost got out of hand because the wind came up that morning before the burn was completed. After that burn I have not done another controlled burn because an "UN Controlled Burn" is not good. Weather has to be perfect for a burn.


We called in a controlled burn for a pasture this spring. The conditions were perfect for a control burn. It created so much smoked that drifted into town that the fire department did a "courtesy" check to see if the fire got out of control. Apparently a lot of people had their windows open.

Re: How much buffer for planted pines?
Bill D. #514386 11/27/19 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted By: Bill D.
Originally Posted By: GaSoPond
...manage the timber with controlled burns....


You are a braver man than me my friend! I would never start a "controlled" fire under pine trees and all that pine tar. If you want a demonstration, take a small green pine branch and/or some pine needles and throw them in a campfire.


Controlled burns of planted pines in Georgia are very common. During burn season it's not uncommon to see a stand of pines undergoing a controlled burn of underbrush on a daily basis. Controlled burns are necessary if you want the healthiest stand of pines possible. Now I wouldn't do it myself. Most people get the local Forestry Commission to do it. They know what they're doing. Below is some reading on the need for controlled burns in pine stands.

http://www.gfc.state.ga.us/forest-manage...-burn/index.cfm

Re: How much buffer for planted pines around pond?
GaSoPond #514401 11/27/19 07:04 PM
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Interesting read. Thanks! I'm with you though, I would have a pro do the burn! smile



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