Savannah Valley District

We’re All Upstream

Becky Davis, Savannah Valley Water Resources Agent

Spring is just around the corner and pond owners may find that weeds are already starting to emerge. If not managed early they can become a bigger problem as the temperatures rise. One question that an owner may have is, “why do the weeds keep coming back year after year?”. There are many reasons that this can occur such as nutrients and sediments accumulating in the pond which stimulates the growth of unwanted weeds. Sometimes the owner has followed the best management practices that Clemson Extension suggests but if the upland neighbors have not, the problems persist. Therefore, not only pond owners but all stakeholders need to be aware of the practices that will protect ponds and all waterways. We must all remember that we all live upstream of a body of water!

Photo credit: Katie Anne Callahan, Clemson







Some best management practices to reduce negative impacts on water bodies downstream include the following:

  • Fertilize properly – the first rule of thumb is to test the soil before you fertilize, and apply the correct rates of each nutrient in the specific area of need. Do not fertilize before heavy rain or during a drought
  • Irrigate properly – test the irrigation system for distribution of water, irrigate only the areas where it is needed and schedule the time and amount of water applied
  • Keep land covered – vegetation will mitigate run-off by slowing the water and allowing it to infiltrate the soil. The plant’s use of water will also reduce the leaching of nutrients
  • Minimize run-off – create rain gardens or terraces with plants to slow water flow. Use native plants or have a no-mow zone on property borderlines to reduce erosion, and your topsoil, from leaving your property
  • Properly dispose of animal waste, chemicals, cooking fats, and oils
  • Maintain your septic tank

If everyone takes part in conserving and protecting our waterways, we can improve the quality and secure the quantity of our water supply.

For more information, please visit Clemson Extension’s Land Grant Press Pond Weeds article and Carolina Yard’s Actions You Can Take article.

Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status, and is an equal opportunity employer.