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 relatively labor intensive.
When the cattails begin to grow early season, and the cattails are still below the water surface, the best control option is 2,4-D (Aquacide Pellets). The best method for mid to late season cattail 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 Narrow Leaf Cattails when applied mid to late season to actively growing cattails. See the photo below for the difference between Narrow Leaf cattails and Broadleaf (Common) Cattails. See picture below to identify narrow leaf cattail from broadleaf cattails. (Broadleaf Cattails are on the left, Narrow Leaf Cattails are on the right.)
Pond & Lake muck removal is also key. By reducing the amount of lake muck, nutrients that feed Common cattails (and Narrow Leaf cattails) will be reduced. Lowering the nutrient level should significantly reduce the amount of new cattail growth the following season.
For any questions regarding cattail control or any water weed growth, feel free to email or call for more details on treatment or answers to other questions we may not have discussed. Email Tom@KillLakeWeeds.com or Call 1-800-328-9350
(Southern Ponds & Wildlife Spring 2006 Vol 5 pg 18)