Blog with Schlicht Excavating

Can you dig a pond in the winter in Michigan

Posted by Scott Schlicht on Oct 30, 2012 11:43:00 AM

Can you dig a pond in the winter ??

Pond construction, and Michigan winters


The simple answer is YES. Digging ponds in the Michigan winter has its pro's and con's.

icon Pro's

-Some spots of the property that may normally be soft may be frozen in the winter months, which may make them more accessible in the winter.

-Don't have to worry so much about the rain, snow does not impair digging conditions like rain.

-The water table should still be at its low point during winter.

- Winter is also a slower time of year for us pond diggers, there is normally not a huge rush to get to the next pond.

-If you have your pond dug in the winter, it is then ready in the spring for grass seed and is a great time to implement soil erosion techniques.

-By the late hot summer days, your grass should need its first cut and you can start to enjoy your pond.


icon CON'S

-Some times in a real harsh winter the frost in the ground can penetrate as deep as 3 feet.this would make a winter dig very difficult.

-If moving dirt on site, the dump bodies of our trucks can start to get filled with frozen spoils that will not dump out. We may spray the boxes with calcium chloride in order to prevent this.

-If there is a need for pumping of water in the pond during winter months our pumps can freeze if left unnatended for long periods. We would have to roll up all hoses and place pumps in a warm area over night.

-The cold winter weather is very hard on our equipment in the morning when we try to start them.


Some areas in Michigan freeze sooner than others. If you are wanting to put a pond in a corn field for instance the frost in this area will be deeper and present sooner than a wooded area. A low liying swampy area that is covered by trees and vegitiation will freeze last if ever in the winter. The trees and vegitation like grass and weeds block the misirable winter winds. If we get a large snow prior to it frost getting into the ground, the snow may act as a insulation and prevent the ground from ever freezing. Even if the ground freezes our equipmet has no problem digging through most frost levels.

I have personally dug and cleaned out over 40 ponds in the winter months when it was below freezing and snowing. Some times do to scheduling there is no other choice. In a perfect world I would be on a beach in the some south of the border country sipping a Johnny Vegas ( 1part Jose Cuervo Gold, 1 part raspberry pucker, 1 part red bull), waiting for the warm weather to come back to Michigan so I can start digging again. One important lesson I have learned about cleaning out a pond in the winter. If the water in an existing pond is frozen, separate the ice from the dirt if possible. In the spring when the weather warms up the ice will melt in to the spoil pile and take a very long time to dry up. I dredged an old pond in January one year and on a June day when the tempeture was around the mid 70's I was still finding chunks of ice under the spoil pile.

Ponds can be dug in the winter and as always every pond is different just like every winter is diffrent. I will always dig ponds rain or shine snow or sleet, it is what we do.  


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