Brush-cutting the Dam

September 16th, 2007

     It was time to cut the pond dam for the year.  Last year the dam required three cuttings to clear off much of the accumulated saplings and brush and to replant with grass.  It looked good for most of this year, but a few weeks ago I was astounded to see quite a few saplings already growing again.  So after the young one and I spent a couple hours clearing logs and tree branches (left over from some trees cut down last Fall  in March), it was time for the walk-behind brush cutting mower.

I took this picture after the first row or two was cut. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s a 17-20 degree slope- too steep for a tractor or mower.  It’s also about 280 feet long, and 27-33 feet high.  Going slow from side-to-side paralleling the dam seems to work best, until about midway down, then it steepens because of a small bowl (where someone’s tractor long ago was stuck).  Then it’s up and down from the top to bottom, and back up sideways. 

The Pond Dam before cutting

Takes me about three hours now, finishing up with small brush trimmer.  The dam seeps a little at the lower middle section.  Always been that way, with the ground damp and spongy.  So I don’t make ruts, I use the brush trimmer by hand for that area and try to keep it growing in grass.  Last year I pulled over 100 Cattails there, and now only have a few to deal with.  But after walking through clouds of dust and grass seeds while mowing, I’m a sneezy mess!

Another view of the dam before cutting

It looks so much better when finished.  Not something I particularly enjoy doing, but like many chores- it’s really nice when it’s done.  Half way down the dam a little bunny went hopping out in front of the mower. I picked him up and showed him to the young one, then let him go.  And we found a box turtle!  I seemed almost stuck in the tall grass of the dam- I don’t know how he could crawl through there.  We painted the date and the young one’s name in small letters on the back end of his shell and let him go in the forest. Maybe we’ll see him again next year. I remember doing that as a child, and found “my turtle friend” two years later, with the painted markings barely visible.

The pond dam after cutting

There are many logs and branches at the far corner we still need to pick up, and than we can cut that part of the dam.  That corner has not been planted with grass yet- it borders the forested Oak area, another project for the days ahead.

Anothe view of pond dam after cutting


I never tire of sunsets… I don’t really know why.  Like Divinebunbun, I try to enjoy each one for the peaceful beauty it brings at the end of the day.

Sunset after a long day

4 Responses to “Brush-cutting the Dam”

  1. I was out with a walk-behind brush cutter on my dam over the weekend. i cleaned off the top and much of the acre below the dam, but mine is far steeper than your and I don’t think I could manhandle the cutter on it. Yikes!

  2. That’s funny… I love synchronicity. You’re dam is steeper!? Wow… this one doesn’t look steep, but if I let go of the mower machine, it will fall over and roll down the hill. I have to keep constant pressure on the up side, and aim it upwards. You might be able to use a smaller one at an angle it up diagonally. But you’re right, and “manhandling” is an apt word.

  3. SE Mo. farm gal

    We have found that horses, cows, and goats do a wonderful job of keeping the grass, weeds, and small trees from our pond. The cows eat for a few weeks, the horses second, and the goats last. Believe me, there’s nothing left to mow! If I had to make a choice of the three animals, I would choose the goats….female, of course. They are much easier to care for.

  4. Hi SE Mo. farm gal- I have always wanted goats!!! Glad to know they keep the grass and brush down so well. Is there any particular breed you like best? Not sure which yet, but would like milk goats within the next year+, a small barn, etc. Still planning :)

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