Aquatic Weed Control: Three Ways To Get Rid of Common Cattails
It is generally not a good rule of thumb to place any type of aquatic vegetation into a private lake or pond. However, Common Cattails are one of the species that can be utilized, carefully, to add dimension to the water body. Because of the thick root system and dense growth of Cattails in general, they are a great type of erosion-control. Cattails also provide great habitat for waterfowl, especially wood ducks. Several species of birds also use Cattails as a perch, and Cattails provide habitat for other aquatic animal life as well as cover for small fish.
Although there are some benefits associated with Cattails, there are also several problems. The benefit of Cattails providing erosion control is also one of the biggest problems. Because of the thick root system and dense strands that Cattails create, they trap sediment and cause extension of shallow water, and eventually marshy shoreline. The natural progression of a water body is back to dry land and help with that progress is undesirable. Thick areas of sediment that Cattails create also provide habitat for undesirable insects, like mosquitoes, and can be quite putrid.
Not only is the management time consuming, but controlling Cattails can also be expensive. If Cattails are allowed to grow unchecked, they may eventually cover most of the shoreline, impeding bank access. A lot of time and money will be required to control the vegetation.
Getting rid of Common Cattails can be accomplished with a variety of methods. Herbicides work best because of the three stages of growth at which Common Cattails can be treated. Another method is physical Cattail removal, like cutting, which is extremely difficult and nearly impossible to attain a high rate of success.
When the vegetation begins to grow early season, and still below the water surface, the best control option is 2,4-D (Aquacide Pellets). Mid to late season active growth, the best method of control is glyphosate (Aqua Neat Liquid & Shore-Klear Liquid) mixed with a non-ionic surfactant (Cygnet Plus Liquid). As with any herbicide, please read the label to be certain of the appropriate rate to use.
Glyphosate is also a good option for Narrowleaf Cattails when applied mid to late season to actively growing weeds.
Pond & Lake muck removal is also key. By reducing the amount of lake muck, nutrients that feed Common Cattails will be reduced. Lowering the nutrient level should significantly reduce the amount of new growth the following season.
(Southern Ponds & Wildlife Spring 2006 Vol 5 pg 18)