The St. Clair County Extension Center can provide you with research-based information in the areas of agriculture, business and the workforce, children and teens, community development, environmental quality, family life, farm management, financial education, home and garden, horticulture and nutrition and health.
Answers to Common Questions
About Pond Construction and Management
MARSHFIELD, Mo. - Bob Schultheis is a natural resource engineering specialist with University of Missouri Extension. Nearly every week he gets questions about pond construction and management.
Q: What are some of the benefits and common problems you see with ponds?
A: "Ponds offer many benefits by providing recreation, helping control soil erosion, and storing water for livestock, irrigation and fire protection. Typical problems are the pond won't hold water, the dam erodes away, there are too many weeds, the water quality is bad, or the fish are dying," said Schultheis.
Q: How does one deal with leaky ponds and dam erosion?
A: "First, size the pond to the watershed by allowing one surface area of water for each 10 to 15 acres of land area that flow into it," said Schultheis. Prevent leaks by building the pond on a suitable site with moist, clay soils compacted in several six-inch lifts, and keep the soil moist after construction. Additives such as bentonite clay or soda ash may need to be mixed with some soils to keep them from leaking.
Q: Are bulldozers a good way to compact the soil?
A: No. While bulldozers are big and heavy, they have a large footprint that spreads out the weight too much. A better choice is a wheel tractor and disk, or a sheepsfoot roller (like the spiked drums the highway department uses when building roadbeds).
Q: What causes the weeds and how do you control them?
A: "Weeds are often caused by too many nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) getting into the pond, or by transfer from wildlife," said Schultheis. Limit runoff from fertilized fields, maintain vegetation around the pond and exclude livestock. Control options include cultural, mechanical, biological and chemical. "Chemicals should be a last resort and should be matched to the weed problem," said Schultheis.
Q: Where can a person get more information on building and maintaining a pond?
A: "Soils information, available free through the federal USDA Service Center serving your county, will help identify good pond building sites and soil properties at depth," said Schultheis. This information is also available online at http://agsite.missouri.edu.
The Missouri Pond Handbook, available from the Missouri Department of Conservation, is an excellent reference for developing and managing both new and old ponds for fishing.
Resources on fixing pond leaks, maintaining dams and controlling aquatic weeds are available through your county University of Missouri Extension Center. Or contact me at the Webster County Extension Center at 417-859-2044, or visit our website athttp://extension.missouri.edu/webster/pondmanagement.aspx.
Source: Bob Schultheis, (417) 859-2044
Horticulture and Agriculture Tips
The University of Missouri Extension offers many news articles, publications and newsletters to help beginning or seasoned farmers and gardening enthusiasts get the maximum yield from pastures and gardens. Some of those include:
Trees add value to your landscape
Trees can provide your home with shade, wind protection and visual appeal. They can reduce energy costs, provide recreation for children and habitat for wildlife.
Newly planted trees need special attention, and not all trees are suitable for all conditions. MU Extension’s horticulture experts have developed a series of publications to help you choose the right tree and get it established:
MU Extension publication G6800, Selecting Landscape Plants: Shade Trees
MU Extension publication G6805, Selecting Landscape Plants: Flowering Trees
MU Extension publication G6810, Selecting Landscape Plants: Uncommon Trees for Specimen Plantings
MU Extension publication G6815, Selecting Landscape Plants: Needled Evergreens
MU Extension publication G6820, Selecting Landscape Plants: Broad-leaved Evergreens
MU Extension publication G6850, How to Plant a Tree
Popular MU Guides/Extension Publications:
Don’t guess; soil tests save time, money
Soil testing is the best guide to the wise and efficient use of fertilizer and soil amendments, said Manjula Nathan, director of the University of Missouri Extension Soil Testing and Plant Diagnostic Services.
Whether you grow acres of row crops or have a vegetable patch in the backyard, a soil test will provide you with an analysis of nutrients and a set of recommendations for any improvements.
“We frequently get questions from customers like, ‘I apply fertilizer every year. How come my plants are not doing well?’” Nathan said.
“Most of the time the problem is they never have done a soil test, but have been guessing on fertilizer requirements,” she said. “They do not realize that by guessing they are wasting money by over- or underapplication, and the excess fertilizer can end up in streams, ponds and underground water, polluting the environment.”
Soil testing can be done through the extension office. The cost is $15 per sample. Soil testing publications
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