I've been put in charge at our subdivision to look into reducing the
cattail growth of the three ponds we have.
We don't want to eliminate them completely as the ponds are meant to
look natural, but we want to reduce a good 75% of what we have now.
I plan to do some research, and if anyone has some links or guidance to
get me started I'd appreciate it.
Thanks in advance.
Some of the answers will depend on your location. In Florida cattails are
indicative of a degraded environment. They leave a lot of debris and
contribute to a build-up of muck on the bottom as the plants multiply and
older plants rot away. They can be replaced by more beneficial plants if
the climate and water depth are compatible. In this area, (Florida) bulrush
and spike rush are beneficial alternatives.
It's a multi-faceted problem, because in a homeowners' association you have
a basic problem of runoff of fertilizers and pesticides from individual
properties into the retention ponds. With warm weather, fertilizer,
sunlight and moisture, something is going to grow, and you have to actively
manage the process in order to keep the right plants in place.
It would be good policy to have a regulation that homeowners should not
fertilize within 10-20 feet of the retention ponds, to help avoid runoff --
all of the lawn will be adequately fertilized without putting fertilizer
right up to the water's edge, where it would encourage algae and cattail
growth. You can also plant helpful plants at the water margin, such as blue
flag iris, pickerelweed (needs control) or sagittaria ("duck potato").
These plants will do a good job of restricting the flow of fertilizers into
the body of water. Regardless, you're going to need regular maintenance to
control undesireable plants such as torpedo grass.
You may also have a basic problem in education homeowners as to the ecology
of the retention ponds. Some will want to spray any emergent plant in the
ponds, preferring the pond look like a lifeless, empty aquarium similar to a
low-nutrient northern lake. Others will want to have the lake fill up
completely with hydrilla because it may in the short term improve the
fishing. Both extremes are to be avoided.
To remove cattails the best solution is to first cut the cattails down
(preferably during a period of low water) and haul away the stems, then
spray the stumps with Rodeo or other aquatic herbicide to kill the remainder
of the plant. If you just spray the plants the dying stems leave a soggy
mess that pollutes the water and is very hard to remove. Regards --
Our ponds are in Southeastern Wisconsin. We have three ponds, one is
1.3 acres, the other is 1.75 acres, and the last a very small .9 acres.
They are clay bottom (man-made), and only 6' deep at the max.
I will look into the methods you mention.
Thanks for the information!
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