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Should I use dwarf palmettos to stabilize an earthen lake dam, or would that backfire?


L.A.M.

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As you probably know, we had a crazy cold wave in December 2022, and the needle palms and dwarf palmettos in my state fared just fine with no protection. Dad and I entertained rebuilding our pond dam taller downhill to create a small lake before refilling it. (The steel basin collecting some water from our upper Shale Falls broke.) Nonetheless, I fear deep down the rebuilt dam being vulnerable to erosion, especially initially. I know most trees and shrubs grow woody roots extending far out, which can allow more water to seep through, and grass, fern, clover or wildflower roots aren't likely to extend deep enough.

I got one last idea: dwarf palmettos. Dwarf palmettos have trunks extending feet underground, and palms have fibrous roots only extending as far out as the leaves do. Would dwarf palmettos help stabilize the dam, or is this idea likely to backfire too? Being a Southern native with berries to feed many wild birds and mammals is a big bonus, and they could live with the shade, valley clay, high water table and juglone that'd kill most other things. I was relieved to see my existing one survive, not merely due to the economic, environmental and mental health implications (I plan to be a nurseryman and feel better with winter greenery) but also knowing we have something native that may be great at erosion control and capable of thriving for decades.

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I'm just a neurodivergent Middle Tennessean guy that's obsessively interested in native plants (especially evergreen trees/shrubs) from spruces to palms.

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Interesting situation. If you're concerned about erosion, I'd be more worried about the slow rate of growth of minors. Further, palms aren't always the best for filling up those bare spots that may develop after heavy downpours. Grasses may actually be a good first 'pioneering' option. There are several good prairie grasses with roots that can go over 10ft deep. 
:)

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Gary’s nursery on their website, has pictures of jobs they’ve installed palms at. One being next to a pond or lake with erosion control in mind. It makes sense with their extensive root system at maturity. Sabal minors natural habitat or range at least definitely includes areas that yearly have standing water for a period of time. 

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I've got to agree with @swolte. Minors growth is fairly slow and will leave bare spots. Since you can't mow the minors for obvious reasons you will get volunteer trees popping up on the pond dam. Dicot trees if left unchecked on a earthen pond dam can be a disaster. Their roots will reach for the water and if the tree or trees ever die and the roots rot, you've created a channel for water to seep through, and over time seeps become leaks and seriously undermine the integrity of the dam. If you also factor in watershed compared to retention basin. If you get a real toad strangler and the water tops your weir,if it's already compromised, you can have a disaster. If you look at the large reservoirs in your area that have earthen dams,they don't ever have trees on them, generally just riprap (stone) and grass. The minors would look awesome IF they could grow fast enough to outcompete trees and grass,they just won't.  Hopefully the clay berm isn't too steep and you can just mow it.  

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34 minutes ago, N8ALLRIGHT said:

I've got to agree with @swolte. Minors growth is fairly slow and will leave bare spots. Since you can't mow the minors for obvious reasons you will get volunteer trees popping up on the pond dam. Dicot trees if left unchecked on a earthen pond dam can be a disaster. Their roots will reach for the water and if the tree or trees ever die and the roots rot, you've created a channel for water to seep through, and over time seeps become leaks and seriously undermine the integrity of the dam. If you also factor in watershed compared to retention basin. If you get a real toad strangler and the water tops your weir,if it's already compromised, you can have a disaster. If you look at the large reservoirs in your area that have earthen dams,they don't ever have trees on them, generally just riprap (stone) and grass. The minors would look awesome IF they could grow fast enough to outcompete trees and grass,they just won't.  Hopefully the clay berm isn't too steep and you can just mow it.  

 

8 hours ago, Swolte said:

Interesting situation. If you're concerned about erosion, I'd be more worried about the slow rate of growth of minors. Further, palms aren't always the best for filling up those bare spots that may develop after heavy downpours. Grasses may actually be a good first 'pioneering' option. There are several good prairie grasses with roots that can go over 10ft deep. 
:)



Agree w/ both thoughts    ...100%..

You can add in minors, but native perennial grasses, and various native annuals / perennials are where you start when re-vegging areas of bare soil.  ..that and adding rip rap ( to add further stability to the dam itself ).  Laid out w/ some thought, you could create a pretty neat garden on the face of the dam.

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We cannot, must not and will not mow even the existing pond dam, let alone the upgraded lake dam envisioned. It's far too steep. Even ATVs can only safely go around and make 90 degree turns on top, not climb/descend the dam itself; moving the dam downhill may even require us to rebuild the trail to have two hairpin turns on each side in addition to the current 90 degree turns at each end of the dam. Even in the valley below the dam, it would be too dangerous to mow. I live along the Highland Rim/Nashville Basin escarpment, and the family that owned the land before ours built the pond just below the Chattanooga Shale fall/spring line that defines the Upper Cumberland. I'm convinced that I could keep dicots at bay, though. We just may have to manually pull them out while they're still small like we do in flowerbeds, although the deep shade, wet clay soil, calcareous geology and huge walnut trees already limit what could grow there. We'll probably even have to install a big pipe and/or concrete spillway to keep the water from eroding the new dam like the existing one has suffered; the fact that it's so steep to begin with is why I feel the need to plant something stabilizing along the entire downstream side of the top of the dam to improve the life of the dam (given how stormy the Tennessean climate is), even with the outflow under control.

As for prairie grasses, are there really any that can deal with that combination of four hostile conditions, other than river/switch canes (which are bamboo that would send woody runners)? Walnut and hickory trees produce toxic juglone (which dwarf palmettos are immune to), "prairie" doesn't imply a shady environment, and I doubt there's much calcareous soil to speak of in the marshlands of Central Illinois or steppes of the High Plains. Glaciation eroded and covered the bedrock in the Lower Midwest, and the High Plains are on a massive outwash plain. I'm the least concerned about high soil moisture/poor drainage, though, given that the tallgrass prairies of Illinois tend to be marshy as opposed to arid steppes like the shortgrass prairies. The closest thing to a suitable herbaceous plant I know of is Christmas fern, but I'm not sure how tolerant they are of juglone nor the soil conditions described.

P.S.: Thanks to those of you that have given input so far! I was amazed by the quick responses and look forward to hearing more!

Edited by L.A.M.

I'm just a neurodivergent Middle Tennessean guy that's obsessively interested in native plants (especially evergreen trees/shrubs) from spruces to palms.

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8 minutes ago, L.A.M. said:

We cannot, must not and will not mow even the existing pond dam, let alone the upgraded lake dam envisioned. It's far too steep. Even ATVs can only safely go around and make 90 degree turns on top, not climb/descend the dam itself. Even in the valley below the dam, it would be too dangerous to mow. I live along the Highland Rim/Nashville Basin escarpment, and the family that owned the land before ours built the pond just below the Chattanooga Shale fall/spring line that defines the Upper Cumberland. I'm convinced that I could keep dicots at bay, though. We just may have to manually pull them out while they're still small like we do in flowerbeds, although the deep shade, wet clay soil, calcareous geology and huge walnut trees already limit what could grow there. We'll probably even have to install a big pipe and/or concrete spillway to keep the water from eroding the new dam like the existing one has suffered; the fact that it's so steep to begin with is why I feel the need to plant something stabilizing along the entire downstream side of the top of the dam to improve the life of the dam (given how stormy the Tennessean climate is), even with the outflow under control.

As for prairie grasses, are there really any that can deal with that combination of four hostile conditions, other than river/switch canes (which are bamboo that would send woody runners)? Walnut and hickory trees produce toxic juglone (which dwarf palmettos are immune to), "prairie" doesn't imply a shady environment, and I doubt there's much calcareous soil to speak of in the marshlands of Central Illinois or steppes of the High Plains. Glaciation eroded and covered the bedrock in the Lower Midwest, and the High Plains are on a massive outwash plain. I'm the least concerned about high soil moisture/poor drainage, though, given that the tallgrass prairies of Illinois tend to be marshy as opposed to arid steppes like the shortgrass prairies. The closest thing to a suitable herbaceous plant I know of is Christmas fern, but I'm not sure how tolerant they are of juglone nor the soil conditions described.

P.S.: Thanks to those of you that have given input so far! I was amazed by the quick responses and look forward to hearing more!

I myself would look at any grass sps that grow in your area, vs. those from ..say the upper Midwest ( i"m sure there are several sps / genera that grow in both areas ) or areas to the west ( Central Plains )  Particularly sps that grow in woodlands, esp below Oak ...and / or Hickories..

Had both Walnut and Hickory in wooded areas of N.E. KS and numerous grasses grew below them   ..Bluestems / Big Bluestem, Andropogon, and Schizachyrium,  Wild Ryes, Elymus,  Muhly Grass sps, Muhlenbergia ..and Three-Awns (  Aristida sps ) would be some of the main groups of native grasses to research. Some will take shade while others might want more sun.. Just like out here, i'm sure there are numerous other ..more locally endemic genera back there that might be worth a look too ( If you haven't already )

While more common in the west, some of the Grama Grasses, Bouteloua  should do fine back there..  Sideoats Grama, B. curtipendula  will tolerate shade, and sitting where it's feet are constantly wet ( Look great in those kinds of spots too )  At the same time, it is extremely drought tolerant..  When it flowers, Anthers are a bright Red ..or Red Orange and add visual interest. One of my favorites here and, where not growing close to streams, grows in areas where the soil is really shallow and / or rocky. 

Most people don't realize it but grasses are a major component of the Sonoran Desert's flora.. filling both the roles of erosion control, and " nurse " plants for some Cacti / other stuff  out in the desert.


Not sure if this will help, but found this link:
https://utbeef.tennessee.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/127/2020/11/PB1752.pdf


You have any pictures of what the dam looks like?  ..Just to get an idea of it's layout / slope?

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4 minutes ago, Silas_Sancona said:

I myself would look at any grass sps that grow in your area, vs. those from ..say the upper Midwest ( i"m sure there are several sps / genera that grow in both areas ) or areas to the west ( Central Plains )  Particularly sps that grow in woodlands, esp below Oak ...and / or Hickories..

Had both Walnut and Hickory in wooded areas of N.E. KS and numerous grasses grew below them   ..Bluestems / Big Bluestem, Andropogon, and Schizachyrium,  Wild Ryes, Elymus,  Muhly Grass sps, Muhlenbergia ..and Three-Awns (  Aristida sps ) would be some of the main groups of native grasses to research. Some will take shade while others might want more sun.. Just like out here, i'm sure there are numerous other ..more locally endemic genera back there that might be worth a look too ( If you haven't already )

While more common in the west, some of the Grama Grasses, Bouteloua  should do fine back there..  Sideoats Grama, B. curtipendula  will tolerate shade, and sitting where it's feet are constantly wet ( Look great in those kinds of spots too )  At the same time, it is extremely drought tolerant..  When it flowers, Anthers are a bright Red ..or Red Orange and add visual interest. One of my favorites here and, where not growing close to streams, grows in areas where the soil is really shallow and / or rocky. 

Most people don't realize it but grasses are a major component of the Sonoran Desert's flora.. filling both the roles of erosion control, and " nurse " plants for some Cacti / other stuff  out in the desert.


Not sure if this will help, but found this link:
https://utbeef.tennessee.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/127/2020/11/PB1752.pdf


You have any pictures of what the dam looks like?  ..Just to get an idea of it's layout / slope?

Forgot to add that there are numerous native Sedges that will help stabilize bare ground too..

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Perhaps this reply is of no help whatsoever, but I had an epiphany of sorts. When I lived in Yuma, I often thought that it was unfortunate that the introduced giant grasses (giant reeds), had displaced the native vegetation along the banks of the Colorado River. So this thought just occurred to me: What if you could use some fast growing invasive bamboo which forms many rhizome runners accompanied by staggered Sabal minor in between the bamboo clumps? You could occasionally prune back the bamboo that interfered with the palms until they matured, and eventually cut the bamboo out almost entirely. I know, it's probably just a "pipe dream".

Hi 107˚, Lo 76˚

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Casas Adobes - NW of Tucson since July 2014

formerly in the San Carlos region of San Diego

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16 minutes ago, Tom in Tucson said:

Perhaps this reply is of no help whatsoever, but I had an epiphany of sorts. When I lived in Yuma, I often thought that it was unfortunate that the introduced giant grasses (giant reeds), had displaced the native vegetation along the banks of the Colorado River. So this thought just occurred to me: What if you could use some fast growing invasive bamboo which forms many rhizome runners accompanied by staggered Sabal minor in between the bamboo clumps? You could occasionally prune back the bamboo that interfered with the palms until they matured, and eventually cut the bamboo out almost entirely. I know, it's probably just a "pipe dream".

Hi 107˚, Lo 76˚

Why would you encourage use of an invasive? 

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15 minutes ago, Silas_Sancona said:

Why would you encourage use of an invasive? 

I didn't mean to suggest that those giant grasses (reeds) should be used. What I apparently didn't make clear was that since the invasive grasses obviously prospered along that river, and did at least somewhat control erosion, that the use of cultivated bamboo could serve the same purpose, and not allow a potential invasive to get out of control and escape.

 Hi 107˚, Lo 76˚

Edited by Tom in Tucson

Casas Adobes - NW of Tucson since July 2014

formerly in the San Carlos region of San Diego

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I vote for using some sort of native grass that can grow in the conditions you describe along with planting Sabal minors. They might grow faster than you think since it will be a very moist environment.  I too would like some pics of your dam. If you’re going to have to maintain the dam on a steep incline, steer clear of needle palms since they can be vicious 😆 

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Parrish, FL

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I can't speak to the issue with dicot tree roots undermining dams. However, I have some broadleaf bamboo "Indocalamus tessellatus" which is a shade loving bamboo which makes an excellent dense ground cover.  Mine started off about waist tall but lately has grown to about 6 feet tall. I mow it down when it gets out of hand. It has large leaves sort of like a corn plant. I don't think bamboos are deeply rooted in general.  The rhizomes of almost none can cross standing water. 

 

As for sabal minor -- my experience is that it's nearly indestructable and very invasive. The song birds spread the seed every where which start germinating here in DelMarVa come July.  It does like heat and humidity for best growth and will start producing fans under ideal conditions in about 3 years. Supposedly the roots can go down 15-ft deep, but maybe that would be a very large specimen. I watched a youtube video of a man in FL showing his son survival skills and he dug up a knee tall minor to eat the palm heart. He dug down maybe only 18-inches to get the whole trunk out.  Maybe the feeder roots go deeper.  Anyhow, I now have more confidence in my ability to transplant some waist tall S. minors that I need to move. 

 

Bald cypress has a very extensive root system and the Pocomoke river is famous for its deep draft maintained by the fibrous bald cypress roots along its banks. Not sure if that would be useful in a dam or not. Just putting it out there. I know nothing about dams. 

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17 hours ago, ESVA said:

I can't speak to the issue with dicot tree roots undermining dams. However, I have some broadleaf bamboo "Indocalamus tessellatus" which is a shade loving bamboo which makes an excellent dense ground cover.  Mine started off about waist tall but lately has grown to about 6 feet tall. I mow it down when it gets out of hand. It has large leaves sort of like a corn plant. I don't think bamboos are deeply rooted in general.  The rhizomes of almost none can cross standing water. 

 

As for sabal minor -- my experience is that it's nearly indestructable and very invasive. The song birds spread the seed every where which start germinating here in DelMarVa come July.  It does like heat and humidity for best growth and will start producing fans under ideal conditions in about 3 years. Supposedly the roots can go down 15-ft deep, but maybe that would be a very large specimen. I watched a youtube video of a man in FL showing his son survival skills and he dug up a knee tall minor to eat the palm heart. He dug down maybe only 18-inches to get the whole trunk out.  Maybe the feeder roots go deeper.  Anyhow, I now have more confidence in my ability to transplant some waist tall S. minors that I need to move. 

 

Bald cypress has a very extensive root system and the Pocomoke river is famous for its deep draft maintained by the fibrous bald cypress roots along its banks. Not sure if that would be useful in a dam or not. Just putting it out there. I know nothing about dams. 

Fifteen feet?! That's much deeper than even I thought!

Yes, when they bear seeds, they do tend to be eaten up quickly and lead to more growing out of control. I doubt "invasive" is quite the right word in Delmarva nor Tennessee, though. They are native not too far away in a climatic, ecological and geological sense; most of the things we have in the wild grow somewhere that dwarf palmettos are native. It's not like they have the potential to seriously wreck the ecosystem like truly foreign plants like tree of heaven, Bermuda grass and kudzu can. I'd put them somewhere around the level of filament yuccas and eastern prickly pears, both of which are common in the wild here, able to reproduce extremely easily and nearly impossible to eradicate. I'd see dwarf palmettos spreading downhill as a good thing if anything - they may prevent a kudzu patch from growing where an empty understory exists now and feed wildlife, and (which I asked about) stabilize the lower parts of the downstream side of the dam too.

I think bald cypresses would backfire. Conifers have nearly identical wood to dicot trees, so that'd undermine the dam. I also am unsure whether they're juglone tolerant anyways, which I know dwarf palmettos are.

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On 9/9/2023 at 6:18 PM, ruskinPalms said:

I vote for using some sort of native grass that can grow in the conditions you describe along with planting Sabal minors. They might grow faster than you think since it will be a very moist environment.  I too would like some pics of your dam. If you’re going to have to maintain the dam on a steep incline, steer clear of needle palms since they can be vicious 😆 

Needle palms can indeed be vicious. They're called "needle" for a reason; they make even some cacti look tame! I'm not sure whether they're juglone tolerant anyways, though.

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2 minutes ago, L.A.M. said:

Fifteen feet?! That's much deeper than even I thought!

Yes, when they bear seeds, they do tend to be eaten up quickly and lead to more growing out of control. I doubt "invasive" is quite the right word in Delmarva nor Tennessee, though. They are native not too far away in a climatic, ecological and geological sense; most of the things we have in the wild grow somewhere that dwarf palmettos are native. It's not like they have the potential to seriously wreck the ecosystem like truly foreign plants like tree of heaven, Bermuda grass and kudzu can. I'd put them somewhere around the level of filament yuccas and eastern prickly pears, both of which are common in the wild here, able to reproduce extremely easily and nearly impossible to eradicate. I'd see dwarf palmettos spreading downhill as a good thing if anything - they may prevent a kudzu patch from growing where an empty understory exists now and feed wildlife, and (which I asked about) stabilize the lower parts of the downstream side of the dam too.

I think bald cypresses would backfire. Conifers have nearly identical wood to dicot trees, so that'd undermine the dam. I also am unsure whether they're juglone tolerant anyways, which I know dwarf palmettos are.

The native " bamboo " could work, and wouldn't pose as much of a " take over everything " risk  like Bamboo sps / genera from thousands of miles away can / do ..Though clumpers that can withstand winters there might be " tamer " ..There are bamboo-relatives from Mexico, and Central /S. America that could fall either way .." regionally " native, but could also be aggressive spreaders ..or not..

Regardless, probably not the best idea on a dam, but maybe near it's base?.. Anyway..

As for Taxodium, i've seen them grown near the top of man-made dams, or at the bottom. Can't speak for Bald Cypress,  but Montezuma do help stabilize stream /river  banks where they grow,  though you will see examples of specimens where the soil around them has been removed - to some extrent-  in areas of Mexico where streams are narrow, deeply carved, and water flow is incredible at times during their rainy season also.

Not something i'd plant on  the dam itself either of course..

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14 minutes ago, Silas_Sancona said:

The native " bamboo " could work, and wouldn't pose as much of a " take over everything " risk  like Bamboo sps / genera from thousands of miles away can / do ..Though clumpers that can withstand winters there might be " tamer " ..There are bamboo-relatives from Mexico, and Central /S. America that could fall either way .." regionally " native, but could also be aggressive spreaders ..or not..

Regardless, probably not the best idea on a dam, but maybe near it's base?.. Anyway..

As for Taxodium, i've seen them grown near the top of man-made dams, or at the bottom. Can't speak for Bald Cypress,  but Montezuma do help stabilize stream /river  banks where they grow,  though you will see examples of specimens where the soil around them has been removed - to some extrent-  in areas of Mexico where streams are narrow, deeply carved, and water flow is incredible at times during their rainy season also.

Not something i'd plant on  the dam itself either of course..

Forgot to add, since you are looking for stuff that will support wildlife, as well look good / help stabilize bare ..or nearly bare soil, Partridge Pea  is a great " pioneering " annual Legume that birds like Bobwhite, Ring Neck Pheasant, ..if present there..  Doves, ...and numerous other seed-eating birds will enjoy.  Reseeds, and will also add nitrogen to the soil so you won't have to add more of it as you add in the Sabals . Flowers ( warm season ) are nice too and are used by numerous Bees / Butterfly sps. ( Which will attract more wildlife )

Pretty easy to find seed in bulk if the area needing to be covered is sizable.  Prairie Moon Nursery is one great source  ..for grasses / other stuff too.

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On 9/11/2023 at 12:16 PM, Silas_Sancona said:

The native " bamboo " could work, and wouldn't pose as much of a " take over everything " risk  like Bamboo sps / genera from thousands of miles away can / do ..Though clumpers that can withstand winters there might be " tamer " ..There are bamboo-relatives from Mexico, and Central /S. America that could fall either way .." regionally " native, but could also be aggressive spreaders ..or not..

Regardless, probably not the best idea on a dam, but maybe near it's base?.. Anyway..

As for Taxodium, i've seen them grown near the top of man-made dams, or at the bottom. Can't speak for Bald Cypress,  but Montezuma do help stabilize stream /river  banks where they grow,  though you will see examples of specimens where the soil around them has been removed - to some extrent-  in areas of Mexico where streams are narrow, deeply carved, and water flow is incredible at times during their rainy season also.

Not something i'd plant on  the dam itself either of course..

Yeah. We only have three native bamboo species in subtropical North America - hill cane, river cane and switch cane. Hill cane is obviously out of the question, not to mention I prefer it least anyways because it's deciduous. Still, I fear that woody river/switch cane runners could undermine the dam just like dicot/conifer roots would. Bamboo is woody, after all. Aloes can't take the Tennessean climate and aren't native to the Americas anyways, so any woody plants except palms and yuccas are out of the question to stabilize a dam.

Apparently white clover can tolerate partial shade. I'm unsure whether that area is too shady for them, though; same with purple coneflowers. Thankfully, Christmas ferns also tolerate juglone! At this point, the consensus seems to be to plant dwarf palmettos but mix them with native and/or leguminous herbaceous plants that tolerate shade, juglone and poor drainage. It'll take time and possibly trial and error to figure out which herbaceous plants to use, though. The only sure bets seem to be Christmas fern, common blue violet and Jack-in-the-pulpit, along with of course the woody dwarf palmettos I asked about. I may also look into native shade- and juglone-tolerant grasses (bonus points if they're common in marshy Central Illinois) and try purple coneflower and/or white clover, but I won't count on those.

Edited by L.A.M.
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On 9/7/2023 at 2:02 AM, L.A.M. said:

rebuilding our pond dam taller downhill to create a small lake before refilling it

I would be concerned first at the stability of the dam embankment when making it higher and seepage that could make it fail. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 9/13/2023 at 8:41 AM, Banana Belt said:

I would be concerned first at the stability of the dam embankment when making it higher and seepage that could make it fail. 

Me too. Nonetheless, a lot of our soil is clay, and we intend to add sodium bentonite to the lakebed anyways to further reduce seepage. I'm confident that we can pull it off with a lot of planning and effort, but only if we have suitable palm and/or herb roots along the downstream side of the dam to prevent rain from gradually eroding it - hence me asking here whether dwarf palmettos would help, backfire or have no impact.

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On 9/29/2023 at 2:02 AM, L.A.M. said:

Me too. Nonetheless, a lot of our soil is clay, and we intend to add sodium bentonite to the lakebed anyways to further reduce seepage. I'm confident that we can pull it off with a lot of planning and effort, but only if we have suitable palm and/or herb roots along the downstream side of the dam to prevent rain from gradually eroding it - hence me asking here whether dwarf palmettos would help, backfire or have no impact.

Sounds like a good plan, go for it.  Sorry I am not an expert on Palms for soil stabilization, but your idea sounds promising.

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On 10/5/2023 at 6:35 PM, D Palm said:

Weeping willows are popular for lakes. You could try them.

That area is too shady. I intend to plant some black willows (which are native, unlike weeping willow) someday, but it'll have to be elsewhere due to the threat of woody roots undermining the dam and the shady background. Dwarf palmettos are highly shade-tolerant, and palms have woody stems like true trees/shrubs but fibrous roots like true herbs. In any case, thanks for the suggestion!

BTW, I looked into "prairie grasses" in Tennessee. That idea doesn't seem promising. Many of them are shade-intolerant, unsurprisingly. The shade-tolerant ones need coarser/drier soil than that environment could provide, too. If we use grass, we'd have to figure out what kind of forest grasses (excluding hill/river/switch canes, which send woody runners) we have or see whether any of the marshland grasses from the Lower Midwest are sufficiently juglone- and shade-tolerant.

On 10/4/2023 at 10:01 AM, Banana Belt said:

Sounds like a good plan, go for it.  Sorry I am not an expert on Palms for soil stabilization, but your idea sounds promising.

Thanks for your input! Yeah, I was thinking dwarf palmettos specifically because unlike other palms (which tend to have shallow roots), dwarf palmettos have underground trunks, so they'd probably send roots deeper underground too.

I'm just a neurodivergent Middle Tennessean guy that's obsessively interested in native plants (especially evergreen trees/shrubs) from spruces to palms.

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Some native grasses can tolerate a good amount of shade and have a deep root system, those with a bunch of Sabal minors thrown in would be pretty cool and should help stabilize the soil pretty well. You'd probably need quite a bit of Sabal minor seedlings (or small plants) to fill it in densely, Sabal minors grow super slow so go all out with them sooner rather than later. 

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PalmTreeDude

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