Juniper Roots Invading Pond


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Our pond is 10-15 years old. It is 4 feet by 6 feet wide and 3 feet deep at the max. It has a rubberized lining and is encircled by flagstones embedded in concrete. There is a 1 /2 foot waterfall consisting of a large boulder at one end. There is an external filter with the inflow and outflow pipes entering the pond adjacent to the waterfall. The area around the waterfall is beautifully covered with juniper procumbans. We formerly had koi in the pond, but now just plants.

The water level was dropping over 2 inches weekly. This loss diminished greatly after, with great difficulty, removing the massive amount of roots coming over the edge of the pond going into the pond adjacent to the waterfall and pipes. Because of the mechanics of the waterfall, concrete embedded flagstones and liner folds, it is almost impossible to remove all the roots and I fear they will grow back.

I would greatly appreciate any advice on how to minimize problems going forward. Thanks in advance, and Stay Safe!
 
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TheFishGuy

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2 inches a week isn't much, at that point I would say it is just evaporation.

Anyhow, Welcome to the forum!
 

Mmathis

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Hello and welcome! Can you post some pictures — to give us context? So, monster plant, seeking water! I don’t often condone the use of chemicals, but have you though of applying something like Round-Up to the exposed roots? I have done that in the past with some really invasive plants, and it took time and patience, but worked in the end. Of course, not a good idea if you are wanting to preserve the “parent” plant.
 
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Welcome to the forum, BFin!
Are you asking how to completely get rid of the Junipers and roots or keeping the plants and eliminating the extensive root system?
My thought is it might be better to leave the roots in place if they are severed from the plants. I would trim as much as as possible and leave the rest in place. Reason is trying to yank them out might dislodge your rocks or tear the liner. They will over time decay but that might be a better course of action than the alternative. Are those plants used for Bonsai?
 
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Thanks for everyone's responses. I sort of thought that 2 inches was OK, but it used to be less and I have a lot of big leaf plants in the pond; I don't know if that affects the evaporation. I love chemicals, but DO want to keep the Junipers. I removed most of the roots yesterday, and the rate of drop seems to have diminished, but I am not certain of my measuring. I have attempted to sever most of the roots prior to them getting to the pond and am going to see if that helps. Although I haven't found any leaks in the filtration system, I need to be more compulsive in my examination. If I have any startling breakthroughs or insights, I will post. Thanks again, and Stay Safe!
 
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Some followup and more questions. I have removed all the roots going into the pond and cleaned up the plumbing. After 24 hours with the pump off and daytime temps in the 70's with relatively low humidity and no wind there was 0 (zero) drop in the pond level overnight! The pump draws from 2.5 feet below the water surface, goes through 12 feet of pipe to the pump which pumps to the filter, the top of which is 2.5 feet above ground level. Total rise of water is 5 feet with 24 feet of pipe travel. The outflow of the pump is at the bottom of the pond and the waterfall has been bypassed. It appears that my pump is providing 2400 gals of water/hour to the pond.

I have read that the amount of evaporation in a pond is a function of water flow even in the absence of a waterfall or stream. I don't understand this, but it is stated repeatedly on web sites. We all know that saying things over and over does not in of itself bring truth.

So, the bottom line question is: when I turn the pump on, should I expect that the evaporation rate should increase, and, if so, by how much?

Thanks in advance, Happy Holidays, and Stay Safe!
 

brokensword

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Some followup and more questions. I have removed all the roots going into the pond and cleaned up the plumbing. After 24 hours with the pump off and daytime temps in the 70's with relatively low humidity and no wind there was 0 (zero) drop in the pond level overnight! The pump draws from 2.5 feet below the water surface, goes through 12 feet of pipe to the pump which pumps to the filter, the top of which is 2.5 feet above ground level. Total rise of water is 5 feet with 24 feet of pipe travel. The outflow of the pump is at the bottom of the pond and the waterfall has been bypassed. It appears that my pump is providing 2400 gals of water/hour to the pond.

I have read that the amount of evaporation in a pond is a function of water flow even in the absence of a waterfall or stream. I don't understand this, but it is stated repeatedly on web sites. We all know that saying things over and over does not in of itself bring truth.

So, the bottom line question is: when I turn the pump on, should I expect that the evaporation rate should increase, and, if so, by how much?

Thanks in advance, Happy Holidays, and Stay Safe!
There's a lot of factors, imo; wind, surace area, surface agitation, air temps, humidity, wfall surfaces being wetted, plants with roots in the pond.

I'd naturally say as soon as you plug your pump back in, you'll increase at least some of these vairables and experience some evaporation. I find wind and dry winter air to be the worst culprits, overall. When it's humid out, I don't lose nearly as much. I have 2 wfalls, a long/large bog surface/rock wall, some plants with roots overhanging and into the water, approx 300 sq ft of surface area, but am protected a bit from a berm, and get maybe 1" loss over a few days when it's hottest. Just to give you an idea.
 
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The only way to find out for sure would be to shut the pumps down , remove all the plants . Place plastic over the pond and see if the water drops
 
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Some photos would indeed help, but I will say unless you think the plants have somehow damaged the liner allowing water to leak out, I wouldn't be concerned about plant roots finding their way into the pond OVER the edge. Water loss because you have plants drinking up the water is far less distressing than a big old leak!

Like you, I would cut them back often and severely. Chemicals would do the trick eventually, but some plants can be eradicated by simply cutting them back repeatedly. Not all, not many - but some. I'd try that first. If you do decide you need to get rid of them completely there are products you can buy specifically for this purpose. You drill into the trunk or roots and apply the chemical directly.

I don't understand the "evaporation is a function of water flow even in the absence of waterfall or stream" - that makes zero sense. Standing water will evaporate, but you definitely will expect more when water is flowing over rocks, splashing, more surface area exposed, etc. I've never seen that stated anywhere though so I'm not sure what the context would be.

One thing to remember - when your pump is off, your pond may appear fuller (or in some cases emptier) than when you first turn it back on. When the pond is running, there's water in the plumbing, in streams, in waterfalls, pools, etc - depending on your pond construction. All that water gets "consumed" by the system and while your total water volume hasn't decreased at all, it may appear that way because of that "consumption". Does that make sense? Because of how our pond is constructed, when we shut our pump off, water continues to flow out of the pond, over the negative edge and into the rain exchange for quite some time after the waterfall stops feeding the pond. The water level drops about three inches. When we first turn our pond on, it takes a few minutes for enough water to flow over the waterfall to "re-fill" the pond. The water has been there the whole time, but in our case it's stored either in the bog at one end or in the rain exchange at the other. My situation is a bit more extreme than some but every pond will have some level that is the normal "off" vs "on" water depth. If I didn't understand how my system worked, the water level when the pond was off could be concerning. The same may be true if you have a pond that gets "fuller" when you turn off the pump. That initial start up will pull a lot of water and make it look like you've lost water when in reality it's still in the system.

That was a very long explanation for a simple suggestion - hope it makes sense!
 

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