The property we're buying has a fairly new pond on it. It was dug about 3yrs ago according to the neighbor. During the digging process we got a 5" rain fall and so it was never finished. According to the neighbor it's also never been full. There appears to be a very small (currently dry) stream behind it, but it's built up on that side so the stream wouldn't feed it (which seems strange to me, but maybe that's because the stream travels through other farms that use who knows what on their fields) There are a few weeds growing around it, though very sparse. The soil appears to be clay/lime/sand. There are a plethora of little frogs, evidence of cranes and something burrowed near the edge into the mud that made bubbles. The water is fairly clear when it was collected for samples (almost as clear as the house water) What are important things to know about the pond and how can I go about finding them out? (the current own is deceased so I can't ask him anything)
The side that is all built up appears to be the pile of soil from digging it out. I'd like to move the majority of this to use in the gun range. From there I'm wondering what I should plant to encourage wild life and make it a place my kids can play. We do have water moccasins in the area, is there anyway to deter them? We have a friend who has offered us all the bamboo we can haul, I was thinking that might be good around one end. It's about 300' long by 150' wide no idea how deep.
it would be worth your money to get a pond professional out to inspect and evaluate the pond before you do anything. there are way more ways to do it wrong with ponds than to do it right. before you do anything, get a well regarded local to come give you his experienced opinion. ask around, there is surely somebody in your area that has dug a lot of ponds and understands the local geology and ecology. there are just way to many factors to possibly consider for somebody to give you good advice over the internet. local is really best with ponds. to give yourself some background info, and possibly connect with someone from your region, the forums at forums.pondboss.com are excellent and friendly.
Here the state has experts who will come out for free to evaluate pond sites to tell you if it will hold water, for instance. They call them the conservation experts or something like that, through the farm service, I think.
If a pond is leaky the old wisdom is to pen pigs there to dig in the mud and compact it all down. I've never tried it but mine can make a shallow wallow hold water longer than I'd think possible.
You want your pond at least 7 feet deep to protect fish from cranes. It also helps them regulate their temperature, and keeps weeds from taking over.
Shade is good over a pond, if you want to plant some weeping willow, be sure to do it on the side away from the dam, since folks here have told me the roots can open up leaks. You can get them for free - just find one you can get some cuttings from once it's dormant - pencil-thickness will do, and stick them in the soil, or you can pot them and water them and they'll start growing in a few weeks (more fun for the kids). Plant them outside when you see the other willows growing leaves.
You can pick up some watercress in the grocery store and throw it in your pond and it should just start growing there, ready for you to harvest for salads and stir-fries. Elderberries like to grow where it's wet, so maybe you could plant some of them wherever you find water seeping out below the pond.
Some pretty awesome wildlife will find your pond all by themselves. They say in Kentucky almost every pond gets a snapping turtle. Frogs and toads breed in them, and then leave to eat slugs and bugs all year for you. Also dragonflies and damselflies breed there. The adults are predators that eat hundreds of mosquitoes every day plus other insect pests. Water draws wildlife to come drink - I see footprints around my pond from raccoons, possums, and cranes. Even box turtles like to drink out of a pond.
If the pond currently has no fish, get some minnows like they sell for fish bait to put in there. They'll breed freely and eat any mosquito larvae that try to grow there. If you decide later to put in some bass or sunfish, they can eat the minnows.
Bamboo can become invasive, I'd be very cautious about planting some.