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Do I need to cut the cattails before I spray them? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: Do I need to cut the cattails before I spray them?

Q: Do I need to cut the cattails before I spray them?

Charlene- Brandon, VT

A: Slashing through cattails would certainly be cathartic, wouldn’t it? Well, we don’t recommend it – at least not yet. The best way to rid your pond or lake of those nuisance plants is to use a systemic herbicide with a surfactant, like Shoreline Defense® and Treatment Booster™ PLUS. Apply the mixture on the plant’s leaves with a sprayer. The herbicide then kills the entire plant, rhizome and all.

Destroying that rhizome is critical to controlling cattails. Along with cottony seeds that explode from their brown, conical flowers, cattails propagate via their rhizomes, or root systems, which produce shoots in the fall that sprout in the spring. When you stop their underground spread, you can manage their footprint in your pond or lake.

If you’re new at removing cattails from your pond, here are some tips to make it hassle free.

  1. Treat the cattails between late July and first frost, when the plant is actively growing.
  2. Use a tank sprayer, like the Specialty Pond Sprayer, to apply the herbicide to the leaves that are growing above the pond or lake’s surface. Make sure they’re at least 12 to 18 inches out of the water.
  3. Completely wet the foliage for maximum results when rain is not in the forecast for 24 hours.
  4. Once the plants have completely died and turned brown, you can get out your Weed Cutter and slash through those dead stalks. Aim for the base of the plants, which will allow for easier removal with your Pond & Beach Rake.

Cattails aren’t all bad. Besides adding to the aesthetic value of your landscape, they also make a good home for a variety of birds, insects, amphibians and underwater inhabitants. Consider leaving a few of the cattails around for those critters – but keep the plant carefully controlled with Shoreline Defense®.

Pond Talk: Various parts of the cattail are edible, including its rhizome, young shoots and green flower spike. Would you ever consider harvesting and eating your cattails?

Treats Shoreline Weeds & Cattails - Pond Logic(r) Shoreline Defense (r)

Keeping Cattails At Bay in and Around Your Pond – Pond & Lake Q & A

Cattails

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: The cattails in my pond are out of control. How do I control them without disturbing the wildlife? - Richard of Minnesota

A: One of the most common of all aquatic plants, cattails can proliferate if left unchecked. Growing from 3 to 10 feet tall in dense colonies around the margins of ponds and lakes, the plants’ strap-like foliage emerges from large, creeping rhizomes in the muddy bottom in the spring. Soon, the cattail’s foliage and spikes, or the plant’s brown cylindrical flower, grow, eventually spreading its seeds and propagating new plants throughout the lake.

Though they can be a pest, a small controlled area of cattails will provide an ideal habitat for amphibians, insects, birds and fish, as well as helping to prevent erosion. But too many of these plants can create an unappealing look and begin to transform a healthy lake or pond into marshland, and eventually dry land.

Controlling cattails is a simple three-step process: You’ll need to spray a herbicide, cut the cattails down and remove them.

1. Spray: The most common way to control cattails is to apply an EPA-registered herbicide and surfactant product, like the Avocet & Cide-Kick Combo. Read the product labels for proper dosage rates, but to treat a 2,500-square-foot area of cattails, mix 8 ounces of Avocet and 4 ounces of Cide-Kick with 2 gallon of water, pour into pond sprayer (like the Airmax Pond Sprayer) and apply onto the water surface where the cattails are growing. Allow the mixture to absorb into the plant and the root system, the most difficult part of the plant to kill, for one to two weeks.

2. Cut: Once the herbicide has had a chance to soak into the cattail’s root system, the plant will turn brown and become limp. At this point, use an aquatic weed cutter to cut at the base of the plants, allowing for easier removal. If you can control your pond’s or lake’s water line, you can also cut the cattails 2 to 3 inches below the water surface to cut off the plant’s supply of oxygen and drown the plant.

3. Remove: Use a pond and beach rake to remove the cut cattails. You can compost them, burn them or dispose of them at your local green waste disposal site.

To completely eradicate cattails in a pond, this process may need to be repeated several times. Once you have the plants under control, they can make a nice addition to your landscape and encourage wildlife to call your pond or lake home.

POND TALK: How do you control cattails in your pond?

Controlling Cattails & Phragmites – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of Cattails & Phragmites

Q: How do you control emergent cattails & phragmites around my pond? -Several Customers from across the US

A: At first site, cattails and phragmites seem to add a natural look to your farm pond. But before you know it, they grow out of control and wrap around the pond causing a very unappealing look. Here are 3 Easy Steps to killing cattails, phragmites or other emergents: Spray … Cut … Remove.

1.) Spray - The best products to use to get rid of emergent weeds is the Shoreline Defense® & Treatment Booster™ PLUS Combo. It it always best to read the product labels for dosage rates, but a great suggestion is to mix 8 oz Avocet, with 4 oz Cide-Kick, with 2 gallons of water into a pond sprayer. This recommendation will treat approximately 2,500 sq. ft. of emergent weeds. It is best to spray when cattails or phragmites are around 12″ high or taller. Before cutting and removing, it is recommended to wait a week and a half to allow the chemical to get into the root system. By not allowing this time to pass or cutting too early will allow the root system to stay alive.

2.) Cut – Use a Weed Cutter to cut at the base of the cattails/phragmites. This will allow for easier removal.

3.) Remove – Use a Pond & Beach Rake to assist in removing the of the cut cattails/phragmites.

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