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Should I dig out my pond.

 
Posts: 47
Location: Saskatchewan
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I have a small man made pond in my zone 4 area, it is roughly 20 by 30 feet in a neat oval shape. In the spring it is about 18 inches deep and dries right out during the summer. It is completely surrounded by a 10 foot thick ring of cattails. My plan is to have pigs access it in early summer to cat and trample down the cattails, and then I was thinking of digging out the rich silt from the bottom.

I would be doing this by hand and moving the soil to the garden. Would this be ok or would there by detrimental side effects.

This is a picture from just inside the cattails in early July.
Screenshot_20200121-165230_MeWe.jpg
[Thumbnail for Screenshot_20200121-165230_MeWe.jpg]
 
Posts: 861
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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Pigs may just turn the whole thing into a muddy patch.
Can you cut the weeds to remove them?
As for the soil, it my be of good quality, but I would check first.
But digging it bigger each time you get a chnace to remove some soil would over time be beneficial.
I have a similar dam in Australia and I dig it when the soil is moist and remove it with either buckets and a small swing boom or a bob cat.
 
pioneer
Posts: 208
Location: California Coastal range
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I wonder about this for small water areas here, and my worry has been that I would disturb the seasonal frogs that must be down in teh soil ?
 
Marc Dube
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Location: Saskatchewan
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I wouldn't really be against it being turned into a mud hole as it isnt much more now. I can cut the cattails back by hand but there is no way I can remove their rhizomes to thin them out any.
 
John C Daley
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Location: Bendigo , Australia
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Ok, I see it differently.
Perhaps after te pigs have eaten everything you could get te hole ceaned out with an excavator?
 
pollinator
Posts: 2408
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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I'm sure pigs will eat the cattail roots, which would help. If your aim is to get year round water there then it seems like a reasonable start to clear them and remove some silt.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2602
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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I think it is fine to proceed ahead but looking at those cattails, I think yearly harvest of them might be better for your garden. To me there is just so much carbon there that could be harvested and added to the garden soil to feed the soil microbes, and with that your garden will be magnificent, 90% of the time what our soil needs isn't more rockdust/dirt/silt but more carbon to encourage soil life to make the already existing mineral bio-available for the plants.
 
Marc Dube
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Location: Saskatchewan
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Thanks guys.

It's not really feasible for me to get an excavator in to clean it out as the cost to benefit ratio is very heavy on the cost side.

I have used the cattails before as mulch and it was kinda hard to work around and matted up into a rather large solid chunk. I also have easy access to round bales of straw that I find easier to work with.
 
pollinator
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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The pigs will fill that thing in quicker than anything. I speak from experience with a somewhat smaller pond. It was 3 feet deep, it is not a few inches. The pigs just kept digging out the sides and pushing the dirt into the bottom. At this point I'd need to do a whole re-dig of the pond. This would be ok if it were silt, like you say you have, but thanks to pigs what I have is cement. The muck, it's un-muckable.

They'll clear out the cattails though and if you don't leave them too long in the area they may be really beneficial.

Also, if clearing the silt puts a hole in your pond then good news, the pigs'll fix it.
 
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Location: Russia, ~250m altitude, zone 6a, Moscow oblast, in the greater Sergeiv Posad reigon.
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If you clear the silt and then bring in the pigs, you should be OK. Salatin loves using pigs to seal ponds.
 
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