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Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
#524288 08/03/20 05:43 PM
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So, we bought our first home, finally settled in and its time to start planning for a pond! We have 3.3 acres and over 2 acres of it is wooded. I'd like between 1/2 to 3/4 acre pond, which means I'd probably want about an acre of woods removed. Now my question: Should I have someone clear the woods first, and then hire a pond builder? Or, try to find someone to do both at the same time? I forgot who it was, but I know someone on here had a pond dug in the woods and they were able to use the same contractor, and actually put a lot of the timber toward the cost of the pond, which is ideally what I'd like to do. Seems like it would be more expensive to have heavy equipment come out twice versus once. The good part is that the woods are in a sloped valley, which should cut down on a lot of costs for me (don't think I'll need any dirt hauled away).

This is in the Piedmont region of North Carolina near Winston-Salem, so if anyone can recommend a pond builder in that area, I'd definitely love all the help I can get.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
Steve_ #524289 08/03/20 05:48 PM
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1. Does the timber in your woods have any serious commercial value? If so, perhaps you should first affect to maximize that while removing trees in/near the pond area.

2.. If not, or after that effort has been taken care of, I'd consult your potential pond excavators as to their preference. Our excavator found it much easier to push over entire trees with a trackhoe than if they were just stumps.


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Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
Theo Gallus #524292 08/03/20 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Theo Gallus
1. Does the timber in your woods have any serious commercial value? If so, perhaps you should first affect to maximize that while removing trees in/near the pond area.

2.. If not, or after that effort has been taken care of, I'd consult your potential pond excavators as to their preference. Our excavator found it much easier to push over entire trees with a trackhoe than if they were just stumps.

I've contacted a certified forester in my area but haven't heard back yet (it was after hours when I called). I have no idea about the value of trees, but there are a few HUGE ones that I'm guessing would need to be cut down by hand, but I really don't what kind of power these heavy machines have. I know they can push down trees, but what are their limitations? Can they tackle 40-50' tall oaks and maples that are over 20" in diameter?

And yes, I was thinking that myself. I didn't wanna start hacking down trees myself with a chainsaw when it's easier to push over a whole tree rather than cut it down and dig out the stump later.

I'll see what the forester has to say, and probably talk to some pond builders, and see what their preference is. Thanks for the reply.

Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
Steve_ #524302 08/03/20 09:35 PM
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Pond builder will want to push over standing timber... takes longer to dig one up than push it over and pile it.... seems to be a no win situation at times... they can push over 20” trees with very little effort....
Hate to see big trees go away but to make an omelet ya got to break a few eggs..
Maybe the forester can work with the trackhoe ...... nah that makes to much sense

Last edited by Pat Williamson; 08/03/20 09:38 PM.
Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
Steve_ #524305 08/03/20 09:51 PM
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There is a serious shortage of wood now as homebuilding has come back faster than anticipated. So if you have some large trees, they may well be worth harvesting. Check before pushing them over & burning.

Last edited by anthropic; 08/03/20 09:52 PM.

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Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
anthropic #524308 08/03/20 10:01 PM
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You are correct and oak now brings more than pine... all about logistics and getting the two parties together on the same page

Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
Steve_ #524320 08/04/20 06:34 AM
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[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The pond I had dug last year was in the middle of timber; the builder (Bergman Excavating, Batesville IN) stripped the trees and put the slash pile behind where the dam would ultimately go; you can see the dozer pushing a removed tree into it in this pic.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Worked GREAT for us.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Last edited by Paul FNG; 08/04/20 06:35 AM.
Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
Paul FNG #524363 08/04/20 03:08 PM
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That's awesome, Paul! If I may ask, how big is your pond and how much did it cost?

Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
Steve_ #524369 08/04/20 05:05 PM
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There's a pond builder stationed somewhere in North Carolina, who puts job videos on his Youtube channel. The channel is called "Letsdig18"

https://www.youtube.com/c/letsdig18/videos

He has several videos of clearing timber and building ponds. He seems knowledgeable, does good work, and apparently stays pretty busy. I believe he also knows a few other dirt contractors whom he might recommend.

Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
gully washer #524371 08/04/20 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by gully washer
There's a pond builder stationed somewhere in North Carolina, who puts job videos on his Youtube channel. The channel is called "Letsdig18"

https://www.youtube.com/c/letsdig18/videos

He has several videos of clearing timber and building ponds. He seems knowledgeable, does good work, and apparently stays pretty busy. I believe he also knows a few other dirt contractors whom he might recommend.

Yes sir, I've watched a ton of his videos. I wasn't able to locate his website or contact info, and I'm not sure which part of NC he's in, though.

Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
Steve_ #524373 08/04/20 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve_
Yes sir, I've watched a ton of his videos. I wasn't able to locate his website or contact info, and I'm not sure which part of NC he's in, though.
I found his e-mail address letsdig18@yahoo.com

Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
gully washer #524376 08/04/20 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by gully washer
Originally Posted by Steve_
Yes sir, I've watched a ton of his videos. I wasn't able to locate his website or contact info, and I'm not sure which part of NC he's in, though.
I found his e-mail address letsdig18@yahoo.com

I found that on his merchandise site, but I thought that was for questions pertaining to his store. Guess I'll give it a shot, thanks.

Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
Steve_ #524378 08/04/20 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve_
That's awesome, Paul! If I may ask, how big is your pond and how much did it cost?

I guesstimate its 0.4 surface acres, perhaps 0.5, and all-in cost including stripping the trees and a load of pea gravel was less than $18k.

My brother is VP of an excavation company and said that cost is less than he'd have charged me due to equipment transport expense.

Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
Paul FNG #524380 08/04/20 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul FNG
Originally Posted by Steve_
That's awesome, Paul! If I may ask, how big is your pond and how much did it cost?

I guesstimate its 0.4 surface acres, perhaps 0.5, and all-in cost including stripping the trees and a load of pea gravel was less than $18k.

My brother is VP of an excavation company and said that cost is less than he'd have charged me due to equipment transport expense.

Yikes. I'm trying to stay under $10k but we'll see. I shouldn't need any dirt hauled away, so that should significantly cut down on costs. Either way, you have a beautiful pond and I'm super jealous lol.

Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
Steve_ #524381 08/04/20 09:25 PM
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I also watch letsdig18 and think that for the most part they do quality work.
Their company is Guins Excavaring Services, google it and their website should appear.


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Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
Pat Williamson #524385 08/05/20 07:07 AM
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Dang Pat, oak brings more than pine? I'm rich. At least in my mind.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

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Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
Dave Davidson1 #524399 08/05/20 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by SWMO 2
I also watch letsdig18 and think that for the most part they do quality work.
Their company is Guins Excavaring Services, google it and their website should appear.

I googled it, and its 2 hours 15 minutes away. Probably not going to want to bring all that equipment that far, and if they did, it would cost a pretty penny. Thanks for the info though. I lucked out this morning and found an excavation company that's 3 minutes from my house.. three! I called them and they said they should be able to help me out. Awaiting their call back...

Originally Posted by Dave Davidson1
Dang Pat, oak brings more than pine? I'm rich. At least in my mind.

It depends if you have sawtimber or pulpwood. Currently in my area (NC), hardwood (oak/maple/etc) sawtimber is going for $37.50 while pine sawtimber is going for $23.25. Pine has better pulpwood prices though, at $7.75 while hardwood pulpwood is only $3.50 (per ton stumpage price). From an article I read, you usually don't get much for pine until it reaches 14" in diameter.

Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
Steve_ #524401 08/05/20 03:02 PM
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Here in west TN our Oak prices are all of any value. I burned 30 acres of harvestable large pine because we have no value here to have it trucked to east TN. Red oaks ran $22 a ton and whites were $28.


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Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
Snakebite #524405 08/05/20 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Snakebite
Here in west TN our Oak prices are all of any value. I burned 30 acres of harvestable large pine because we have no value here to have it trucked to east TN. Red oaks ran $22 a ton and whites were $28.

Yeah, I guess its highly dependent on where the mill is, relative to your location. If you're close to a mill or willing to bring it to a mill yourself, there might be some money in it. Most videos I've seen where people bring a load of sawtimber to a mill, ending up making less money than if they had just sold it as firewood. Very niche business.

Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
Steve_ #524408 08/05/20 06:25 PM
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Forgive me if this was already mentioned but sometimes there are folks that have the portable saw mills and they will come and buzz it up. Will cost but one can end up with a lot of good lumber?

Re: Clear woods before digging, or at the same time?
jim100 #524410 08/05/20 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by jim100
Forgive me if this was already mentioned but sometimes there are folks that have the portable saw mills and they will come and buzz it up. Will cost but one can end up with a lot of good lumber?

Haven't thought about that, thanks for the idea. When I get my pond dug, hopefully soon, I'm probably going to have them stack all the dropped timber in a pile so I can deal with it later, similar to what Paul did above. I do want some firewood, as we do have a fire place in our new home.


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