Overgrown Pond Project

Over Grown Pond Project

phragmite over grown

phragmite over grown

Ponds are a great way to relax by, fish and observe the wildlife the pond attracts. But we need to remember that ponds and lakes are always trying to return to what they once were. A meadow or field or small ravine. Incoming nutrients by waterfowl, animals, rain and the process of growing and dying plants help to fill in the pond.

Neglecting a pond for years whether it was being to busy to keep up with maintenance, an injury or loss of the family member that kept things are control. The pond starts to fill in with weeds, muck and overgrown shoreline which can be quit a task getting the pond back to a place you can actually get to the water’s edge.

We had the opportunity to work on an overgrown pond so the customer could see the pond

Phragmite on burning

Phragmite on burning

again. There were multiple weeds, plants and trees that had grown over the years. One culprit was Phragmite, a few cattails and in the water was Water Shield and Curly Leaf pond weed with a little duck weed starting along the edges. Along the shoreline was dog wood, willow, wild rose bush and you name it.

I called this a project pond since we both work full time and only leaves the weekend and a couple hours in the evenings to tackle this pond.

One thing that helped make this an easier job was being able to leave the plant debris on the property in two piles at each end of the pond.

Another helpful tool was fire, we burnt down the massive accumulation of Phragmite that was brown and dead instead of cutting out and hauling away. This also helped in killing any seeds. We toke care not to catch anything else on fire bringing a generator and 2” trash pump to knock the fire down if / when it got out of control. phragmite will go up in flames rather quickly and we tried to only do small sections at a time. Yes I had to put the fire out at one point, getting a little scary on the volume and size of the fire.

The Phragmite had grown to well over my head so 8’ to 10’ tall. They are pretty tough and didn’t get knocked down over winter. Which ended up being cut down to clear the view of the pond.

watershield starting

watershield starting

Once that was finished, we started on cutting and removing the larger debris like the saplings, trees that were up to 3”- 4” diameter and some of the other plants that block the access to the water. Not a little chore but we kept at it and able to start seeing the pond water.

This was not a complete cleanup of the shoreline or complete removal of aquatic plants. The plan was to leave an end of the pond as is for the surrounding wildlife and cattails patches in the pond for the fish habitat. The invasive Phragmite is one of the plants to get rid of and the submerged pond weeds curly leaf and water shield. Phragmite is a tough one to get under control which we will keep an eye on and treat as needed.

Phragmite can overtake our natural plants like cattails and not allow anything else to grow there. I’ve seen this happen over the years. Where there used to be cattails has now turned to phragmite patches. Mainly along roadside ditches, on my to and from my day job, and where ever phragmite can get a start it will take over.

Ok enough on those details. We applied for a permit to treat the pond weeds and Phragmite and did receive the permit. Once the permit was in hand and the specified chemicals / herbicides we did the first round of treatment. 20 days later we did a second round accordingly to the dose on the permit.

Herbicides don’t kill fish, the result of the dying plant material pulls dissolved oxygen from theover grown pond project pond water and that is what could create a fish kill. When treating plant in the pond work from shoreline out. This way the fish are pushed into deeper water.

Ponds that have been neglected or left to go on their own will work to revert back to a meadow, field or ravine. It takes time, years to get out of control and will take time to bring it back under our control again. Hopefully not too many years but its not an overnight fix. We will be going back after this pond again to get after the submerged plants. The few that may remain and will need to concentrate on the phragmite as it is persistent.

Hopefully this helps with your overgrown pond project.


About the Author: Darrell Rhoades is the founder of Whatpond.com. A one man business, works full time in tool & die. It all started when he built his own pond for the family. Ran into pond issues and started the research with pond suppliers and conferences for pond management. He writes about pond building and pond management and sells pond management supplies, aeration & fountains and Practical hands on experiences at Whatpond.com. . No physical store, but has items in stock.