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#361638 01/01/14 10:18 PM
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These trees were on the dam when we bought the place. Obviously, the pond was neglected with the willows. I know I need to do something STAT with these, but where do I start? I searched and read a little but I think I'm freaking myself out. Hope the pic works, I'm new at Photobucket.


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What's the light color on the tree bark near the water line?

The way I see it you have 2 choices:

1. Do nothing. Monitor the dam for water coming through the dam because of decaying tree roots. Keep you fingers crossed that the living trees don't die because the decaying roots (if through the dam) will create a passage way for the water.

2. Drain the pond down below the level of the trees. Cut them down, dig out the stump and roots. Pack clay into the holes and areas where the roots were. Refill the pond and keep an eye on the dam.


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I think I would leave them. One of them looks dead, but I would take my chances rather than dig a hole into the face of the dam while removing the rootball. If you decide to remove them, then I agree with esshup....drain the pond down, remove the stump/roots, and pack with clay. And hope for the best.

It may be that the majority of the roots go out into the water, rather than through the dam.


"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
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Ugh, this is terrible! It will kill me to leave those things knowing their capabilities. I'm unable to drain the pond, to the best of my knowledge. I really hate that the pond was so neglected and allowed this to happen. This makes me pretty nervous about spending so much money on stocking it when a catastrophe could happen because of those stupid trees. They seem to all be at the waters edge, and the roots SHOULD be going to the water, right? I don't like the thought of another bad drought but when the time comes, I guess I'll deal with it then when the level is down.


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There is one other option. Probably not a good option, but the one I would likely choose.

Chain saw them down. Use a tractor and chain to drag them out of the pond should they fall that way. Paint the stumps with tree killer so they do not sprout back. In five or ten years, get rid of the stumps when they have rotted out if you so desire.

Yes, I know the possibility of the roots going all the way through the dam and as they rot out creating a leakage path. That is probably ten to fifteen years down the road. By letting them grow they will only get worse, although still might have the same 10-15 years without problems.

I did not say it was a good idea, just the idea I would probably use. If the dam leaks ten years down the road, drain it enough to face the front side of the dam with clay. Problem delayed ten years and maybe not a problem at all. Playing the odds essentially

I pushed out a bunch of willow trees in a wet area of the inlet part of a pond I was renovating for my daughter. Where this shallow area was is now a deep area. Those trees were about 15 years old, were in clumps of 6-8" diameter and probably 25 feet tall. They had massive root systems (root ball almost hung up under the D6 dozer blade when I finally got it over), but out a ways from the trees the roots were very small, likely due to the abundance of water and nutrients available nearby. Just an observation that might not mean anything, but there is a chance the roots might only be half way through the dam.

One thing you did not show in a picture or describe is the back side of the dam. It might make a big difference it the back side is a 6 to one slope and goes way out into that field, compared to a 3-1 slope (or even a 2-1 like some of the old cow ponds around here) and a relatively narrow dam base. The wider that base is, the less likely that roots have went all the way through the dam. On the dam portion that we put nearest to our house, I wanted a transition very gradual so we have about a 6-1 slope so it more looks like a yard than a dam. If a tree was on that portion of the dam they would have to grow upwards or out a very long way to breech the dam. On the opposite side it is a 4-1 and it would be much easier for roots to transverse the dam. So how wide your dam is at the level of the trees could come into play also.

I had a huge (dead) tree stump on the face of the dam on my old pond I renovated. But I had lots and lots of fresh clay that I was essentially able to build a whole new dam with a gentle slope on the back side of the old dam. No leaks, but maybe I was just lucky, as I did not take out the old dam (just the 3' diameter tree stump on the front).

Hope this helps give you more ideas to choose from.

Last edited by snrub; 01/02/14 01:24 PM.

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I should add that I am not a professional. I am a farmer with farm equipment (and a fair amount of construction equipment).

Esshup is going to give you the right way of doing it. He is a professional and his reputation depends on when he fixes something it stays fixed and he does not have an angry customer.

I on the other hand, I am a "do it yourselfer" when it comes to ponds. And I have the equipment to do it myself. If I screw something up, it is my own time and nickel. The only person I have to kick in the butt is myself. I broke it, I fix it.

I just thought it was important to point that out. If you want it done right, listen to esshup. If you want to take a chance and don't mind being responsible if it does not work out, I sometimes have an alternative.

Last edited by snrub; 01/02/14 02:29 PM.

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This is all crazy. I had no idea of the destruction from these threes in their location. I'm absolutely sick over this! Here is the best that I can do about the pics until I can get back out there. Google Earth hasn't updated their image in awhile, this was amidst our drought. When I SHOULD have been doing something about this then. However, I can see small willows in the pic, on the backside of the dam. A disgusting sight. I feel like I'm screwed.


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Don't panic. I doubt you're going to start losing water tomorrow. smile Having trees on the dam is not a good idea, but It doesn't automatically mean you're doomed to have a dry hole where your pond used to be.

You've received some options in this thread, so step back and think about it for awhile. Evaluate your own abilities if this is to be a do it yourself project... Maybe have someone with some equipment, and a good understanding of dams come out and take a look with you. Get their input, and some idea of the costs involved. Once you know that, you will be in a better position of how to proceed.


"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.
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I agree with sprkplug.

Take a deep breath. The dam is not anywhere near giving way and you ending up with an dry hole anytime real soon.

As far as getting the water back down, nothing a pump and some gasoline would not fix.

Looking at it from that angle and the Google view, esshup's number 2. option does not look like that hard to do, and would be the permanent fix.

By the way, nice looking pond.

Last edited by snrub; 01/02/14 05:14 PM.

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Mike Otto/Bob Lusk say anything under 4" diameter - remove ASAP.

Anything over 4" diameter, leave it put - rotting roots will create fissures and risk total dam failure.

I walk my pond 3x annually and pull/spray willow and cottonwoods and spray cattails. It's not hard work once you stay on top of them, and I always find something new/cool going on around my pond where I don't often get to walk.


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For what it's worth, I had some trees on my dam, before recent renovations. Black walnut on the backside, and some smaller willows on the front, along the waters edge. My dam is a thick old cuss, so I was in good shape. They were removed, with no bad results. The willows, on the waters edge, My guy said that usually with black willows, the roots grow parallel to the waters edge, and don't do any DEEP damage. They want the water and follow it. From the photos, I cannot confirm what type of trees you have though. Your dam looks pretty thick to me. My Black Walnut trees were getting close to 12" diameter, and the willows were nothing like you have. They were much smaller.


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I like Esshups' #2 option. It's a permanent fix, that's what I need. The property isn't going anywhere and I value the pond. I don't want to worry about something down the road. Knock it out and prevent from reoccurrence! I've already spoken with a family friend who is good with a backhoe and has removed trees on dams before, with success. I'm breathing easy. But, this did take me back quite a ways from stocking it! Thanks for everyone's suggestions, by the way!


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Another question. Should I postpone stocking anything until I get this fixed, if we decide to go that route? This will obviously eat up funds. Would it be wise to at least spend a little and stock FHM and allow them to multiply like crazy in the meantime?


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Even drawing it down to safely work on the dam wouldn't put a crimp in FHM reproduction. The more forage you have when you stock your predators, the better!


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Another advantage of drawdown, if there was any shallow water fish ftructure you wanted to install, what better time to do it? In the lower water level overhead picture, I did not see much in the way of fish attracting/habitat structure.

Maybe you do not want any, but if you do, the perfect time would be when the water is low.

Last edited by snrub; 01/04/14 10:23 AM.

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Okay, great! Thanks! You're right, there is not much (hardly) structure in the pond. Besides some flooded trees on the north end of it and a few CC boxes. Stupid willows, I can't stand them. I'd much rather have cypress. Anyways, my late grandfather didn't want us fishing the pond because he didn't want us to attract unwanted guests. It happened anyways, poachers I mean. So little effort was done with the pond, except feeding the CC (which I don't even want in there). I've been collecting Christmas trees over the last week, with about a dozen. I also have about 9 pallets at work that are free to me. Christmas was good to me in terms of gift cards, so I'll be buying a new trolling motor soon for my boat (14' Jon and 8' Pelican) and I'll be sinking some structure.


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Have you considered a drawdown and a fish kill treatment to get the catfish out? You might also want to remove the CC boxes if they're spawning in your pond.

After the kill you could rapidly repopulate with forage.

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Originally Posted By: LakeThompson
Another question. Should I postpone stocking anything until I get this fixed, if we decide to go that route? This will obviously eat up funds. Would it be wise to at least spend a little and stock FHM and allow them to multiply like crazy in the meantime?


Yes, that is the general idea. HOWEVER, if you have CC in the pond, adding more FHM is probably going to just feed the CC. Perhaps I'm wrong and the others will chime in and say that CC don't eat FHM??!! Best thing to do is add habitat and spawning areas for the FHM you have.

Also add into the mix a draw down to work on the dam. Usually this scenario just lets the predators have an "all you can eat buffet" because the forage fish has no place left to hide.

Last edited by fish n chips; 01/04/14 12:13 PM.
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We had a pretty large fish kill last year with the major drought. I had never seen the pond that low. Between that and the poachers, we don't see many CC. My wife and I went out today for a couple of hours on a CC eradication mission, nothing but 4" green sunfish caught. Worms and beef liver. I'm not wild about them in there, but I don't want the CC. We had crazy wind today so we will try it again on a calmer day. And upon looking, there is more cover around the banks than I originally expected.


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