Building a pond in the woods | Living the Country Life

Building a pond in the woods

Not all ponds have to be in a wide open space. Build a pond tucked away in the woods as an addition to your landscape, and to enhance habitat for wildlife.

Radio interview source: Tim Matson, Consultant/Author

Having a pond in the woods adds to the serenity of your property. It can be a private swimming hole, or more of a wetland area that serves as a magnet for wildlife. 
Tim Matson is a pond consultant and author. He says before you start bulldozing to exchange trees for water, it's important to follow standard pond building procedures. 
"Do test pits to find out about soil quality, ground water table levels, whether you're going to have ledge problems, and also make sure that you're not in a wetland that's going to require permitting, or if you are in a wetland that requires permitting to go through that," he says.
Matson recommends selecting a contractor carefully. A woodland pond will likely require cutting down some trees, so there will be stumps and other wood debris to get rid of.
"Some contractors not knowing any better will bury the remnants of the trees around the pond, and grade off the shore on top of these stumps and things," says Matson. "And after awhile, this organic matter will rot and collapse, and you'll have sags and holes all around the pond. You can have not only a rather unsightly shore, but you can also have a pond that leaks."
After the pond is built, the clearing around it will likely sprout with natural tree seedlings. You will have to be diligent to prevent saplings from rooting. They could become invasive in the water, or jeopardize the dam or shore.
Also keep an eye on the water level. Trees absorb a lot of moisture during the warm growing season, and summer runoff to a woodland pond may be reduced. Matson says you might need supplemental water to maintain good water quality and a consistent waterline.

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