Bringing Life Back to an Old Farm Pond
If you find yourself with a farm pond that is in need of rejuvenation, be aware that it can get a little messy but in the long run will be worth the effort. Some of the benefits include:
- Enhances the landscape
- Supports local wildlife
- Increases property value
- Adds recreational opportunities
Evaluate and Examine
Start with the basics of allowing enough time to inspect your pond and make notes about its size and condition. Measure the pond including its depth. In fact, draw a sketch of it so you have something to work with if you plan to contract any of the work to be done. With good information you may be able to get estimates electronically rather than taking time off work to meet with professionals.
If possible, complete water quality and nutrient level testing to help determine the causes of any issues you may have.
As much as possible determine what is currently living in the pond. This includes fish, plants, and amphibians.
Inspect any existing structures like a dock. If there are none, decide if or what you might want to add. If there is a current aeration system, make notes about how well it is working. Determine whether there are any pumps and drainage. See if it was made with a liner and its condition.
Assess the plant life. Remember that a weed is only a misplaced plant. However, some are more invasive than others. Taking clear photos can help you decide what you want to keep and what you might want to replace.
Aeration is critical when dealing with water features, which is really what your pond is. It will bring in oxygen and help keep the area from stagnating. If there is already a system in place, have it checked for efficient operation and to be sure it is an adequate size for the dimension of the pond, or to accommodate an expansion if that is what you are planning. Units often include a diffuser, compressor, and airline. They are usually placed on the bottom of the pond.
Start by removing any debris that may have accumulated. Starting at the edges, remove unwanted growth. As you move inward you will probably need to climb into the water. It is recommended that you avoid using chemicals that could be harmful to the plant or wildlife you want to keep or infiltrate into the soil. When this is complete, think about whether you need to dredge the bottom to remove accumulated sludge which adds nutrients to the water column.
There are some very good packages available that will add beneficial bacteria to the water as well as kill algae and reduce build-up of the mess on the pond floor that you worked so hard to clear.
With some regular maintenance, proper aeration and circulation, and a routine diet of high-quality beneficial bacteria, your pond and surrounding area will be a haven for wildlife and plants and can provide you with hours of relaxed enjoyment.