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Dry weather provides chance to clean ponds
Stacy Campbell
Stacy Campbell

In a video from K-State Research and Extension, Kansas State University soil scientist Deann Presley says dry weather in Kansas presents an opportunity to work on farm ponds.  

“Many of our ponds need periodic cleaning out of the old sediment that might get brought down by livestock or natural processes,” she said.  

She urges landowners to consider draining their ponds, or in many cases if they are already dry. To scrape the bottom and compacting the soil before mother nature fills them up again.  

Presley suggests a minimum 30% clay in the soil, though she adds, “40% is even better.” To find out how much clay content is in your pond you can take some soil samples and bring them into your local K-State Research & Extension Office, to be sent off for a soil texture test. For further information on how to best take these samples, she recommends to contact your local Extension Office for proper sampling instructions. 

If a pond is leaking sometimes people think they need to use alternate-products to help seal them. Before taking that more expensive step, first take a soil texture sample to see if you might just need to really compact the soil to prevent the leaking. If compaction is what you need, a sheepsfoot roller is needed.   

“The importance of compaction cannot be over-stated,” Presley said. “Many people often think, ‘I have enough clay in the soil; I’ll roll on it for a while and it will be okay.’ But the sheepsfoot roller is important” for proper compaction of the soil. 

Another tip when cleaning out a pond that folks don’t always consider is to put the sediment you clean out of the pond, on the back side of the dam. If you put it around the pond it will eventually slide or erode back into the pond. 

This video from K-State Research and Extension is available online at  

More information is available in K-State’s Feb. 17 Agronomy eUpdate or from local extension offices in Kansas. To read the full article “Ten commonly asked questions when pondering dry pond.” Type into your internet browser K-State agronomy, eupdate newsletter, or type in this link    

To find out the location and phone number of your local K-State Research and Extension statewide offices, or simply type into your internet browser “K-State Research and Extension Statewide Locations”. 

Stacy Campbell is an Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Cottonwood Extension District. Email him at or call the Hays office, 785-628-9430.