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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 Shoreline Defense®, with 4 oz Treatment Booster™ PLUS, 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.

20 Responses

  1. How about swimming if you use Avocet PLX? Also, we have these weeds that are growing in and around our pond that look like green sticks….no leaves but have a root system that goes on forever and produces more weeds. What can we use to kill those weeds?

    • Avocet has no water use restrictions so it is fine for ponds that you use for swimming. Avocet works well on a wide variety of emergent weeds as long as they are actively growing and you can contact spray at least 6″ of plant. If you are not sure what type of weed you have you can send us pictures at weedid@thepondguy.com and we can help you out with identification.

  2. Can I place salt blocks among the cattails to kill them?

    • There are two main classes of plants with regards to salt; those that can grow in salty conditions and those that cannot.

      1.Halophytes- These plants have evolved so as to tolerate high salt levels.
      2.Glycophytes – These plants cannot tolerate high salt levels.

      Cattails thrive in freshwater and are classified as Glycophytes. They have a low tolerance to salt contents. Therefore, salt could be a slow, yet effective treatment of cattails in ponds that have little or no runoff or water exchange. If your pond has either runoff or water exchange the effectiveness of salt would be unlikely because of the dilution.

      There is no exact dosage of salt treatment in ponds because of their size, but it most likely would not require much treatment. With that in mind, most plants found in your pond will also have a low salt tolerance. So by treating cattails with salt could also cause problems for your other aquatic plants including lily pads.

      Here at the Pond Guy, we’re big fans of Avocet PLX Aquatic Herbicide. When it comes to eradicating cattails and other grassy plants, nothing does a better job. Avocet PLX includes a powerful surfactant that breaks down the waxy cuticle of the plant, allowing the herbicide to penetrate the stalks of cattails. The cattails then do the rest of the work, carrying the chemical treatment throughout the root system to kill the plant at its source.

      Because cattails only use a small portion of their root system at one time, a single application of Avocet PLX should be allowed to work for a week or two before cutting the plants down with our Jenlis WeedRazer® or Jenlis WeedRazer® Pro Aquatic Weed Cutter. Occasionally, some roots will survive and send up new growth. When that happens, simply reapply Avocet PLX, wait an additional week or two, and repeat the process.


  3. Thank you very much.

  4. I need to know were I can get Avocet & Cide-Kick

    • Hi Virginia,

      We have that product available on our website. Avocet is now Avocet PLX which already has surfactant mixed in so there is no need to purchase Cide-Kick seperatly. Here is the link. Avocet PLX

  5. Pond Guy;
    In order to use the Avocet & cide-kick product on my nature preserve, will I have to have DNR approval? I can clearly see that I have an overgrowth of phragmites. Can I hire someone to perform this task?
    Thanks for your response.

    • Thank you for the question. If you are treating a portion of land that is not private property you will need to contact the local environmental organization such as the Department of Environmental Quality for a permit. There are companies that may be able to perform this task for you and possibly help you with the permit process. I would reccomend contacting your local environmental group for recomendations on who to contact in your area for treatments of this type.

  6. I have had great success with a biological control method.

    I let the local muskrat have a free winter home. By the spring he has eaten enough cattail roots to eliminate my need to do anything else.

  7. Since Avocet cannot be shipped to NY, what else is recommended?
    Cattails are rapidly multiplying around the edges of my 1 1/2 A pond.

  8. I was wondering where the best place to purchase the Avocet & Cide Kick items to kill my cattails. Also, does it matter that it is the end of the summer. Will it still be effective? Thanks for much for your help.

  9. My cattails are growing CRAZY insidemy pond.

    My pond is pretty small – only about 4500 gallons and I have quite a few fish residing there – my question is: Will it harm the fish at all??

    I really need help!

  10. Jeffrey,

    If your trying to get rid of cattails, I would highly recommend to use Avocet & Cide-Kick like mentioned above. It is very effective at helping gain control. The aquatic herbicide will actually stick and penetrate through the plant’s foliage. From there the aquatic herbicide will travel downward into the root system. Once the root system is destroy the plant will no longer grow.

    Hope this helps.

  11. how can I poison cattails with a hazardous chemical?

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