Rid of cattails

Trudy - 5January 9, 2000

Help! We have a large low area, that gets a lot of run off water, and I think has some springs running through it. It is just full of cattails. We would like to make part of it a bog or marsh or wetland. There are so many cattails there now you could not begin to plant other plants in there it is approx 40'x40'. It does have some standing water. Would anyone have any ideas how to get rid of the cattails or at least control them. Or any other ideas on bog or marsh. Would love any input you have. We did try to dig 3' 4'x4' pond, but won't hold more than 18 inches of water! And it got a little pricey filling with city water.

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Fred - 5/6


Don't know how this will go over, but, I am a state licensed pesticide applicator in the State of Ohio, and I would recommend using a product called RODEO to control you cattail problem. RODEO is licensed for aquatic application and is basically ROUND-UP, but for your situation. Once they have been treated and killed they can be removed more easily. This product has no residual in the soil so you can plant as soon as the cattails have been removed.

I may be licensed by the state but I do try to avoid chemical whenever possible, however, in the case of cattails or other terribly invasive plants RODEO IS the answer!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2000 at 8:32PM
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Trudy - 5

Thanks for information. Yes the cattails are very invasive, when we first moved here we thought they were beautiful. Until they started spreading so much, since we did have a few wet years. Do you buy this at a garden store, or is it sold just to state licensed places? I would love to have a bog instead of a wetland setting. It would definetly have more color. Thanks! Trudy

    Bookmark   January 14, 2000 at 6:41PM
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Fred - 5/6


Rodeo is NOT restricted use, therefore it should be available to anyone, however you may need to go to a specialty store to get it. If you have a LESCO in your area,they will have it, or contact your local Co-operative extension agency. They should be able to direct you to where you might find it. Because of the nutrients in your wet area, it will probably never be a true bog but wetland gardens can also be wonderful once you control the nuisance plants!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2000 at 8:50PM
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What is wrong with cattails? They are native plants and seem ideally suited to your location. Personnaly I like them and think a wetland is nice. Cattails are evasive and will probably be able to survive whatever you throw at them. If you want a bog, the best thing would be to just make a separate bog garden, using a liner and put in the plants you want. Like I said, I think you will have only limited success with getting rid of the cattails. Perhaps you should just learn to live with them. They are attractive in their own way. Of course, you could turn the whole thing over to purple loosestrife. It is suppose to be more aggressive than cattails.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2000 at 1:25PM
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Steve - 4

Cattails are all but imposible to get rid of, I have a wetland in which I had a pond dug in the cattails. Three years later I was digging in the dirt pile and found cattail roots still sprouting even after three years! The one thing I have found is that they will not tolerate shade and will die back from the shade. You may wish to plant some willow or maybe cinnamon birch in the cattails they will grow fast and shade out the cattails. You must of course plant a tree big enough to get light ( 4'-6' feet). This would work if your future plantings could tolerate the shade. On the other hand cattails are nice plants and actually filter toxins out of the water they stand in.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2000 at 8:20PM
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Mya - 5a

I would like to plant cattails in a drainage ditch that frequently collects soapy water. Thick grass grows there in abundance. Do you think that you could supply me with some plants? I am in a bind because I just started gardening and have nothing to trade. Where are you located? I would pay postage or collect them. I live NW of Chicago.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2000 at 12:02PM
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joann - zones 8 and or 9

Would cattails grow around my 75' pond in hot Texas? Where can I get them? I do not see them growing anywhere around here.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2000 at 3:42PM
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Edd - 5-Colorado

One of the easiest ways to start cattails is to just gather some of the catkins which contain the seeds. Just push the cotton into wet soil and they will come up easily.

joann, cattails are native to about everywhere in the world. They may have too much competition in your area from some other plant, but would probably do fine in shallow water in your pond.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2000 at 10:14AM
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Seville - 8

I wonder what you did about your cattails.

Around here the new developments have to put in 'bog' type areas when they build new shopping malls and housing. When these areas get too over run with cattails, they just bring in a backhoe and clean about half to three quarters of it out. It's devastasting to the frogs and other creatures but I have to admit it's effective. Within just a few weeks it seems all you see is a very nice natural pond with all of natures critters back enjoying it.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2000 at 12:02PM
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Vicki - MA - 5

I live in Massachusetts. It is my understanding that in this state - cattails are protected. Are we a minority?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2000 at 1:21AM
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David - 8-WA

I dont know, but we used to have a nice pond, but know its half covered in cattails, and they are thick! We haven't tried yet to get rid of them because I dont think we can without a bulldozer. Maybe we'll get one this summer.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2000 at 10:33PM
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Trudy - zone 5

Hi~just a short report on our cattails, we have decided to live with them...this summer anyway (I do cut down the ones that are in my way, which you have to do every week because they just keep growing! But I think this fall we are going to try the Rodeo. I am sure we wont be rid of them, but it would be nice to use at least part of the land for a small pond. I dont think a backhoe could do the job because the area does stay wet. Thank you all for you input.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2000 at 11:25PM
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Danny Barron - 7a-OK

I can suggest something that's organic (however isn't probably desirable if you want to put other plants there). Mallard ducks (at least) (the wild ones) are very happy to eat young cattails (well actually up till about 4 ft tall) both the tender white stalks and the roots also. With my 3 mallards, I cleaned out a pond some years back. It did take about 2-3 years to get all the cattails killed out to the point where they didn't reoccur next spring.
Just an little note.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2000 at 10:26PM
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suza - 6

Edd: NO LOOSESTRIFE!!! Gads. I hope you were kidding!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2000 at 6:04PM
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Molly A Varboncoeur

Import some muskrats. if you can.
We had a pair that actually cleared a large portion of our, maybe three-acre marsh. Unfortunately, some kind of disease wiped them out and now the cattails are back full-force.
Maybe your local DNR would know of someone who would like to locate some 'rats.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2001 at 10:27PM
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Myra Hardy

Don't know about getting rid of cattails, but we brought in cattails for a bog garden several years ago. We heard about how invasive they were so we contained them in a large plastic container and they have stayed there with no problem. Personally, I like them and they make a nice background for our pond. So, if anyone is introducing them keep this in mind, it may save you a headache.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2001 at 8:34AM
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Wanda 5, Mid-Michigan

Cattails are a very important part of the earths natural 'water cleaning cycle'. They grow so thickly naturally so that they can slow the flow of runoff water to prevent erosion and allow silt to drop out of the flow, which enriches the bog. They can take up immense amounts of nutrients from water (generally there because people overfertilize) before they can get into lakes and cause algal blooms. Their roots are able to take up heavy metals that have 'somehow' entered our water systems and protect our water supply by removing those metals.

They are an excellent foodsource...the native americans in the Great Lakes area relied on them as the pollen can be used as a flour substitute, the tuber-like roots are an excellent source of starch and fiber and the fluff was used for 'baby diapers'. Plus, the dried leaves are wonderful to weave with.

Instead of fighting so hard against nature, why not follow its lead? Make your bog garden around the edges where the cattails aren't growing? It will be easier on you and the environment.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2001 at 5:40PM
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dozdl z5ks.

Hi, I too have a problem with cat tails. I have tried everything there is to get rid of them. I have even tried to burn them out! I have a 5 acre pond and they have completly surrounded it. I have not used any type of pesticide because of the fish but I get very frutrated. I would like to know more about this rodeo. If anyone knows where I can buy it please let me know. I live in Kansas.......thanks alot,,,feel better for venting!!!!!!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2001 at 9:51PM
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Sharon(8 SE AL)

We all want perfection, dont we? For those of you who want
to be rid of the 'tails, find out if fast moving water will
discourage the spread. Your local DNR or Agricultural agent
will know. Then think about a pump to churn and aerate the
water. Ive lived on water for the past 30 years, and have
never seen cattails growning in deep or moving water. Just
all around the edges, where they filter and clean and support toads, frogs, ducks, loons and all kinds of 'fry'.
(baby fish). No lake or pond should be without 'tails.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wisconsin Natural resources

    Bookmark   March 17, 2001 at 3:45PM
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shanintia 8b

I think our disagreement over "get rid of 'em!" or "keep them they are natural" is tied to what part of the country we live in. I live in Florida and the Southern Cattail has taken over in areas. They are GREAT in filtering pollutants out of our waterways and ditches. In many cases where there are lots of cattails is where you have an excess of nutrients, which would be a bad situation without the cattails doing their job. (Of course, cattails do add to the pollution problem eventually in the form of suspended solids and leaf litter because they regenterate and die more often that most.)

The problem down here is that cattails spread so quickly, taking over other native species (such as bullrushes and spartinas) and creating monocultures. These other natives are so important to our wildlife and ecosystem that this is a huge loss. Besides, most monocultures do not support the biodiversity of a normal healthy ecosystem. But I really only speak for my region. In other regions a healthy monoculture of cattails may not pose any real problem to the natural ecosystem. And everyone, even the experts, have differing opinions.

Oh, and by the way, shouldn't we be cleaning up the pollution before it gets into our waterways so we don't have to rely on aggressive species such as cattails to clean up our mess!? Just a thought.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2001 at 10:53PM
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Sharon 5-wis

Shanintia has the right idea of course. Monocultures are
NOT good. Ive seen shallow ponds totally overrun by 'tails
or redtwig dogwood, swamp willow and purple loosestrive in
my state of Wis. I can only repeat, None of the above will
survive in deep or fast moving water,--at least not that
I've ever seen. Many shallow lakes in this area harvest
lake weeds with a 'weed cutter', sort of a combine on pontoons. Some use a so-called harmless pesticide. When
we lived on a big lake, we raked for two years, then got
a permit from the DNR for a peagravel blanket. That was
very effective. And works these 10 yrs later, with only
minimal raking and replenishing of gravel. I am using
pea gravel on my shoreline here on my subdivision pond to
great effect.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2001 at 1:02PM
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Maybe this is a dumb question, but if the cattails are taking up the heavy metals, aren't they just like little heavy metal sponges? So, if something eats the cattails, or if they fall over and rot, the metals are back in circulation? Or, is anyone alleging that they somehow bind up the metals? Just wondering.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2001 at 8:20PM
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Definitely_Me z4/3MN

Cattails-uff da!! Yes, they can really take over--I read
the seed can live in soil for at least a century!! Here's
one goofy thing I did. We have a spring-fed pond on our lawn
that's about 100x150'. Well, I didn't know at the time about
cattails. Anyhow, I transplanted some into one end of my
pond! Yes, they grew along with several other kinds of
cattails (short tails, skinny tails, fat tails,etc.).But we
are lucky enough to have an abundance of muskrats that keep
them under control. The muskrats do tunnel into our lawn,
the lawn mower breaks through into their tunnels and my
honey has to fill them in constantly. So there's always
another side to every story. Good luck in whatever you decide.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2001 at 8:46PM
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Eric in W Seattle 8seattle

I just dropped in for a visit. Fascinating discussion. I have a 3 x 6 bog and am jealous of all these larger natural bogs.

My vote: If the cattails are native then don't kill them off. What would you rather plant in this space anyway? What will Mother Nature put there once the cattails are gone? Maybe something else you don't like and not as pretty.

Make an adjacent bog for your cultivated plants. Connect it to the existing bog with a small canal, so that it is naturally water fed. Create a berm (reverse of a moat) to keep the cattails from spreading into your new bog. Bamboo barrier? Hand weed as needed.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2001 at 12:23AM
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(a lokk of openmouthed surprise) Get RID of cattails? The others here who are posting the "natural" arguments are right about their many uses. I can understand wanting some land for your bog garden of course, but cattails are wonderful! I'm having to look all ober the place just to find large enough stands to harvest pollen from - I'd love to have hundreds of them.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2001 at 11:14PM
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andrew davis 7/8

Theres several cat tail forms that are more graceful, less invasive than scirpus lacustris or typha latifolia.

Try typha angustifolia 4' high, typha laxmanii about 3' high, or the typha minima, rarely 2' high, all are readily stocked by aquatic places

Plant the big ones, they will fill a pond in eventually, is that what you want?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2001 at 10:29PM
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You could try growing bog plants in containers sunk in your wet area. Five-gallon buckets with the bottoms removed should work. Cattails spread by underground rhizomes and seeds. Cattail seeds only germinate on mud, not underwater, so make sure there is water over the tops of the containers.
No cattails should be able to get in.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2001 at 11:08AM
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Dave 5

Rodeo is available by mail order from lake doctors in florida. They have a website you can find easily with a search engine. I have used Rodeo in my 100'by 75' pond and it is fairly effective in killing cattails, similar to Roundup on terrestrial plants. GOOD LUCK!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2001 at 4:48PM
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Kathy 4 Maine

Here is a link for Rodeo so those who prefer can buy it.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.veatchchemical.com/itm00199.htm

    Bookmark   August 3, 2001 at 8:41PM
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Tern(z4 MN)

Those of you who have tried cattails in a container: do you have any trouble with the cattails seeding into your pond/bog? I planted mine in a container to keep them from spreading and am now worried that they will spread by seed.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2002 at 6:41PM
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I cant believe this thread has been going since Jan 9, 00.
We still have the cattails. Not as many because we did mow some of them down during a dry season. Have been putting left over sod from flower beds into the area, so it doesnt stay as wet in that area. The cattails cant grow out as far when it stays drier.
We just wish we could burn during the spring to get rid of the ugly tops, they seem to stay around until the middle of summer, and are a little digusting to look at, for me anyway.
We havent been able to burn because of the very dry springs.

Thanks for all your input.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2002 at 8:29PM
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I am not even going here.
except, Round up is so toxic that in 20 years nothing will ever grow there and as far as the dude in Florida
Hello, Look at Wakulla Springs State Park.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2002 at 1:29AM
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You're receiving some serious misinformation. Roundup is not "so toxic that in 20 years nothing will ever grow". Nothing could be further from the truth. It is not active upon plants after it hits soil, it is not persistent over long periods of time as stated above, and it is not bioaccumulative.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2002 at 1:21AM
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jsrwu(Z6 NJ)

In the middle of my yard, I have a 40X50 (1 to 4 ft. deep) mud pond that is taken over by cat tails, water lillies, and alges. I'd like to try Rodeo to remove cat tails. But I do not want to kill the frogs that keep the pond mosquito-free. Last year I pull all of them out by hand except a small 4x4 area. The roots were still there. Cat tails already took over 2/3 by now and that is very unsightly. Advices needed.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2002 at 5:30PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Can the cattails take a little shade? I am going to do cattails in some type of sunken container next year but have been trying to decide on the best spot. I used to have them in a plastic pond I used as a bog at my old house and miss them here where I like now. I read this and find it difficult to immagine not wanting them in the yard!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2002 at 1:29PM
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Cattails won't take shade. One of the best ways to keep open access points to a large pond is to plant appropriate trees along the edges to shade out the cattails.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2002 at 4:11PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Too bad the racoons and possums that love to destroy all the water plants in peoples small ponds don't get after the cattails in larger ponds. You would think they'd like to eat them!!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2003 at 2:54PM
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Hey there! You've got the answser already! You said you moved some soil to make the area dryer where you don't want the tails. That's all you gotta do. Either move wheelbarrows full of soil to the places you don't want the tails to grow, or here's another way to stop growth. Take an old carpet, and put it jute-side down over the area where you do not want tails to grow. Cover old carpet with leaves if you want to hide color of carpet. After two years your tails should be gone and there will be a perfect place for you to begin growing other things with minimal or no backbreaking work. The Lazy Gardener--the ONLY way to go.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2003 at 2:00PM
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I would have a broken back trying to get a wheel barrow into that large of an area. We are trying to plant more trees in the area to help and dry the land.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2003 at 5:38PM
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weedlady(Central OH 6)

Must add to Wanda's post of March 16 regarding cattails as food. Euell Gibbons referred to them as the "supermarket of the swamp"! Wanda omitted mention of my favorite part: the green "tail" itself. When harvested before the pollen develops, these may be plunged into boiling water for 8-10 minutes, drained, then eaten with a bit of butter, salt, & pepper as you would eat corn on the cob (discard the wiry center stem). Very mild-flavored, quite tasty! I also have scraped the flowers off the cob and, mixed with cheese and eggs and seasonings, made a very nice (and quite nutritious!) casserole. CK

    Bookmark   April 22, 2003 at 12:43PM
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I'm looking out my window right now at a 40 foot strip of cattails that need to come down (last years crop). I have them in a pond and in a swale leading to the pond. All I've been able to do is cut them down each year and add them to the compost pile.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2003 at 10:14AM
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jsrwu(Z6 NJ)

I posted last year (July 8) on my cattail crisis in my pond. They are all gone now! The reason - a muskrat family of 4 moved in. They ate all the cattails. Unfortunately they also ate most of the water lillies.
The pond is very muddy in the bottom and water is extremely murky. Anyone has suggestions for non-invasive plants?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2003 at 9:14AM
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wichywmn(z7 VA)

While doing some reading for my upcoming new pond and bogs, I came across people complaining about an overabundance of cattails. Also, included were various methods for controlling and riding an area of them:

 Cut them off a couple of inches below the water line. They will die from lack of oxygen (much easier than digging them up and dragging them whole onto shore. Probably need a truck and a dumpsite for this method.
 Burn them down where they stand in the water (fire ordinance problem?  but then with the kind of summer weÂve had, the next thunderstorm should keep the fire under control)
 Get yourself some mallards  they love them (of course, thereÂs all the mallard cacaÂ. But think how much fun it will be watching the baby mallards  more caca, though)
 Get the pond some muskrats  they love them, too (of course, muskrats will tunnel under your lawn)
 Rodeo  thatÂs probably what youÂre using now (put out by the Roundup people)
 Pea gravel blanket on the pond bottom  usually lasts for years with minimal replenishing
 My personal favorite: drain the pond and let the old plants die off, then, put in a pea gravel blanket, refill, get muskrats, mallards, a blow torch and a large chemical sprayer. Oh, yeahÂ. And some giant hedge clippers along with a snorkel.

Just remember, whatever method you chose (other than moving), cattail seeds can live for over 100 yearsÂ.. Guess you need to find that Fountain of Youth so you can finish the jobÂÂ

    Bookmark   August 18, 2003 at 12:21PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

I think Cattails are very pretty. I actually bought some mini Cattails at a Local Nursery last year and planted them in a wet area of my yard. Can you belive they did not make it thru the Winter and never came up this Spring! It certainly was not because they were too dry.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2004 at 5:28PM
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As an update to anyone finding this discussion thread here is some up-to-date information reagarding Rodeo.

The product 'Rodeo' has changed names and is now sold as 'Shore-Klear'.

Shore-Klear is a systemic postemergence herbicide used in controlling undesirable vegetation growing in and adjacent to aquatic sites. It kills the roots for multi year control. This product will work best when used along with a non-ionic surfactant like Cide-kick II. Cide-kick is an additive mixed with herbicides to break down the waxy coating on the leaf surface. This process allows the active ingredient to effectively penetrate the cell wall of the plant. The mixed product is applied with a sprayer to mature plants.

Both these products are available at most aquatic equipment or pond supply shops.
A good one online is Aquatic Eco-Systems at http://www.aquaticeco.com

Currently (July 2006) Shore-Klear cannot legally be sold to the following states: CA, CT, IA, ME, MT, NE, NH, NJ, VT and WA.

Happy weed kiling!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 10:27AM
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maineflowergirl(z4 Maine)

I went to http://www.state.me.us/agriculture/pesticides/dealer/aquaticherb_list.htm and I see that Maine will allow Rodeo (Shore-Klear) to be used but only by pesticide professionals.

I have a frog pond on my property that is about 40 feet by 20 feet maybe and though I like cattails, I don't want the pond to get totally filled in with them. So my husband asked me to research how to limit them. Looks like I may just pull some to keep them down (or cut just a few inches below the water the way someone here suggested). That carpet idea sounds like a good one too. I haven't tried eating them yet, but some of the ideas mentioned above sound interesting. When you talk about pollen, you are talking about something other than the fluff right? Or is it the stuff BEFORE it turns into the fluff? Thanks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Maine's aquatic pesticide list

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 7:51AM
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Interesting discussion...

I'm not really sure about how I feel regarding the application of a herbacide into water like that. Even if it doesn't accumulate, I'd bet the amphibians don't take to it so well.

The solution with the ducks sounds best to me. Also, just to clarify, the presence of cattails in large numbers definitively makes it not a bog. This is important because Cattails are indicators of very high levels of nutrients. They won't grow in area that are too clean (Thus not in areas with lots of water flow which removes nutrients). True bogs, on the other hand, have so little disolved nutrients that many plants have to catch insects to get their nitrogen (and thus carnivorous plants are not catching bugs for food, but rather for fertilizer).

So... whatever you decide to do (or not) with the cattails, keep in mind that they are a symptom, not the disease. Start thinking about how fertilizer and other polution is getting into your marsh. If you have been fertilizing your yard, then this is probably contributing. Planting a buffer around the area can reduce polution and contamination by nitrogen. I'd also suggest not to fill the area or alter it too much. As others have pointed out, wetlands are filters which remove toxins and bind them into organic compounds. What you do to your wetland untimately affects the drinking water of future generations.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 3:48PM
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Our pond level is really low right now and we started to work around the periphery of the pond and pull them out. The long runners full of next year's shoots had no toehold in the ooze and came out easily, along the ones that were ready to ripen, explode and reseed the damn things all over again. We have a claw tool with a long handle that gets the ones too deep to step and grab. Round up will be used in a few select spots where the mud is too hard up the sides. If we were not on a well and didn't have fish I would dose the whole mess with it. They were planted long ago before I moved in.
I am a professional gardener who doesn't really like chemicals but they are effective and appropriate at times,with judicious use of course. To truly clean up the problem requires manual intervention at some level, and for one to be more persisitent than the pesky plant you are trying to outdo.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 4:08AM
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Brian Kliesen

Cat Tails are indeed a good thing to have. Given time, the plants will have slowed the water and run off sufficiently to force themselves out, that's what cat tails do. They are natures way to slow the loss of topsoil, ease nutrient loss and rebuild areas where a stream bed may have moved, areas around ponds, and along the edge of marshy areas. They do provide habitat and cover for a number of animals. Over time, the cat tails can become decadent and thick and should probably be burned and when dry can pose a fire hazard. In the spring, they will come back again. In areas where burning is not allowed or practical, mechanical or chemical means may be necessary. Be careful with the application of Rodeo, though it is designed for aquatic areas. Clear in the winter or fall to prevent harm to aquatic creatures or birds. Raising or lowering the water level is also a means to control Cat Tails though not always practical.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 3:25AM
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It is with great interest I have read all of the theories on how to control Cattails. We dug a 5 acre pond 20 years ago and have been controlling cattails along with allege and other weeds almost since we dug the pond. We have tried almost every chemical including Rodeo and diquat to control weeds. After consulting with a number of people who sell herbicides including a friend who was a salesman for Monsanto (Roundup, Rodeo) I control cattails as follows. A mixture of a 41%glyphosate (Roundup) 2, 4, D, and Crossbow along with surfactant and dish soap. By mixing a solution of 4% glyphosate and 2% 2, 4, D and sometimes ½ % Crossbow with soap and a surfactant and spraying small areas at a time you will kill of your cattails. Do not buy these chemicals at the local hardware store as they are a very weak form of these products, but get them at a farm store or a grain elevator. This mixture used judiciously controls the cattails on our pond and has not hurt the fish.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2007 at 12:06PM
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Ok, I've heard a lot of good stuff here about cat tails but it looks like each one of these solutions has a down side.
Does Rodeo kill birds, frogs etc?
I'd love to get some Mallard ducks and so would the Coyotes and fox.
Muskrats we have but apparently they cannot keep up with the abundance of cat tails...probably about 1 acre here.
The problem I have is that because the cat tails back up the slow water flow the pond tends to overflow and really flood the yard when it rains. I don't care if I get rid of them all, just enough to keep the water moving would be fine. I cant get the tractor in there because it keeps getting stuck in the mud. What would you all think is the best solution... please no ducks I cant stand to think about what would happen to them.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 11:09AM
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I found this thread while looking for some suggestions for something with color to add to my cattail stand and was shocked to see such a wild variety of opinions on keeping versus getting rid of cattails. Interesting!

When our landscaper put our lawn in---brand new house 4-5 years ago---he put a traditional lawn in but there is one place on the lot line that kept too wet to mow and cattails kept coming up. After looking at the mess for two years I decided if the spot wanted to be a marsh-like place it had earned that right. So I pulled all the grass out by the roots and let the cattail win the war. It's now a nice, nature fence about 30 foot long and 5 to 8 foot wide. They tower over my head. The birds and little animals love it and the stand is interesting to watch year-around.

Does anyone have an idea for what I could add to bring some color around the outside? I tried dropping bog baskets of water iris in 3 years ago but they got too crowded in the baskets and they died out this year.

I'm in Michigan and we're right in a big city sub-division.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 11:11PM
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Purple loosestrife is pretty and would do well in your area.

Try to get one of the sterile varieties that don't make seeds though.

It will compete well with the cattails.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 11:34AM
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I've so enjoyed this thread! I stumbled upon it while trying to learn about cattails because this year we have put in a 'dry creek' because of erosion with heavy rains and being unable to grow grass over lots of our lawn. The creek remains wet under the river rock at the retention basin most of the time, so far (May - July in NJ). I have tall grasses along the sides of the creek and thought it would be nice to have cattails in the center. The question: is having a wet area with mud and standing water under a couple of inches of river rock conducive to growing cattails? I found a few stalks growing on the side of the road at a public area and stuck them into my wettest area, then put back the gravel/river rocks around them. They are standing, but have been there only three days. What do you think?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 10:35PM
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the people in my local garden club who have ponds (and therefor cat trails running amok) have used the "cut them off a few inches below the water line" method and found it to be very effective!
the good part of it is you can collect the greenery for composting, and use the pod stems for decorating (our local farmers market sells them for $1.00 each!!!).
Good Luck all!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 10:14PM
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I know to late for a helpfull post but a tip for surfers who are bored. cattail shoots about the size of your thumb boiled 5 min. and a little butter is better than aspargus. think of it as a garden you don't have to till, fertilize weed just harvest. If a few shoots get by they have a nutty taste when pods are ripe but before they come apart. Bull frogs love them to hide in and malards do to. I happen to like frog legs and an few ducks are good to. I dont plant fruit trees for the deer but what is thanksgiving without mince meat pie. Pests are only that if you are out of the natural food chain.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 2:55PM
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I have a seasonal wet area in my backyard that I have been considering cattails for. It is a low spot that holds water in the spring (and when the neighbor cleans his pool), but does get dry periodically. Can cattails survive the dry periods?


    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 1:18PM
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Cattails will grow in areas that do not have standing water year round. At least they do in Ohio..

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 10:09PM
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