Cattails taking over my waterfront

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Old 07-10-05, 08:33 PM
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Location: Island Lake, IL
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Cattails taking over my waterfront

My property has lake frontage that is 150 feet long. I have cat tails, or reeds, or whatever you want to call them that go approximately 60 feet on one side, and about 25 feet on the other. Inbetween these are a clear area where I have a burn pit, and also where my pier is located.

Every spring, the cat tails grow closer together, and I have to cut them back, so I can keep my clear area, and enjoy the lake. The more I cut them, the more they want to grow. They also have to be cut every couple of days, or they will be a foot tall in a week or so.

I don't want to remove all of them, just the area I want to keep clear. What can I use to kill them, or at least keep them from spreading so much, and not be harmful to the lake water at the same time?

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
 
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Old 07-11-05, 11:22 AM
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Location: Indiana
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I used "rodeo" in my pond two years ago to kill all the cattails and it worked very good. It takes a little while and some the dead stubs still remain, apparently cattails take a long time to degrade. You should be able to get it locally at a hardware, I think I got it at Ace. There's also a place on the web called "killlakeweeds.com" that you can get herbicides to kill the cattails. I've ordered other chemicals from them with no problem, a little on the expensive side though.
 
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Old 07-11-05, 07:20 PM
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The fluffy seed heads of cattails blow across ponds in autumn breezes to become established on shallow shorelines. They also spread through their rhizome root system near the edge of ponds. Roots get sunshine and water along the water's edge and can grow very fast in ideal conditions.

Cattail control requires disruption of the root system through cutting, hand-pulling, dredging, flooding, freezing, or chemical herbicides. Repeated treatments tend to be required. Some use one or a combination of methods.

Younger cattails are easier to pull. If mowing cattails, do not do so in spring as it will stimulate growth. Cut two or three times below water line in late summer. This deprives roots of nourishment and few cattails will return in the spring. Winter cutting will have no effect because roots have already stored up for the winter. You can use sharp knife, shears, or gasoline-powered weedeater to cut below waterline.

Dredging along shore when water level is low to increase water depth to about two feet will make for deeper water where cattails will not grow. The downside of dredging is that it disturbs the pond and makes for deeper water along the edge which can be a hazard to children.

Some pond owners have the ability to adjust water level. They lower water level to aid in hand pulling, cutting, or mowing. Lower water level in winter can result in freezing of roots. Most prefer not to drop water level in late fall because lower water levels may reduce oxygen levels for fish in winter and result in pond animals burying in mud and dying of winter exposure. Some with large stable dikes raise water level above cattail roots to a level where they can't get oxygen.

If aquatic herbicide is used, it must be labeled as such and directions followed very carefully. Depending on where you live, this may require a special permit. Contact your local Dept. of Agriculture Extension Agent about pond management, cattail control, and information about recommended chemicals and permits in your area.
 
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