Help cattails are taking over my pond! : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I had built a pond about ten years ago. It's about 600 to 800 cubic ft. logical guess. Anyways it is spring fed so it stays full It has a natural clay bottom fish can live in it My horses drink from it in the summer time and there is a water pump on one side for the local fire department to fill there water trucks in the case of a fire. My neighbor went and planted a few minnows and then put in a few cattails for the minnows would have vegetation to eat and now..... there is so many cattails that in the summer time you can't find the pond. The roots of the cattails are plugging up the water pump for the fireman and I hate to use poisons because of the horses drinking the water. Any suggestions? Michelle

-- Michelle Halverson (, March 25, 2002


Take a shovel over to your "good" neighbor and point him in the direction of your pond.

-- Joe (, March 25, 2002.

Harvest the cat tail tubers and eat 'em. Use the green parts for weaving, and the heads for flour and the worms in the heads for fish bait. If you let the heads ripen, they are great for insulation (house or clothing). Whatever you don't use...compost.

-- Susan in Northern Mitten Michigan (, March 25, 2002.

Well, Susan gave you all my suggestions, so all I can say is try some of them. Cattail fluff has great insulating value...the tubers are really good etc.....

-- Harmony (, March 25, 2002.

In Minnesota cattails are a semi-protected vegetation, and you are really screwed if they are on your property. While a lot of people get away with it, you aren't supposed to do anything to harm the cattails - so you just have to live with them. Unless you are somehow improving the natural enviornment, and then you need permits and such.


-- paul (, March 25, 2002.

Sounds like our pond. The wife and neighbor put cats in our pond and they started taking over. The only long term solution is to pull them, which can be difficult. Three things you'll need to do the job is time, a boat and strong arms. (maybe a wet suit too)

-- Stoney (, March 25, 2002.

We use the heads when they get all fuzzy for fire starters, they will ignite with just a spark. Don't think I would ever use as insulation because of the way they burn unless treated with a fire retardant.

-- David in North Al. (, March 25, 2002.

Michelle, Sounds like you need some muskrats! They love the cattails and make houses and feeding platforms in turn the geese and ducks will nest on. We had a cattail problem in our new pond area, we we're hoping the muskrats would come. They took ALL the cattails down,and there were ALOT. But more will come up which they will control. Maybe your local Dept. of natural resources would help...Its the most natural control going....

-- Suzanne (, March 25, 2002.

Hi Michelle, I had a pond full of cattails and weeds. I brought here 7 geese and now it is clean, no chemicals. I just give them a hand full of corn for each in the morning and a little for evening. They all day working, now on the marsh. They have powerful jaws and graze on the banks. They pulled up all the cattails with their beak. Also, they like to play in the water. A goose can live for 10-15 years. Irene M.

-- Irene M. (, March 25, 2002.

We have a pond about 11/2 acres and at least 10' deep. Right away, from blown in seeds I suppose, the cattails started. At first I thought it was nice but they soon took over and we couldn't even see the pond. Everybody had a different solution on how to get rid of them. In the end I tried my own idea and it worked. Got rid of them. That was 10 years ago. All I've done since is keep my eye out for little ones starting and pull them up. I must add that there are lot of cattails around here for more seeds to come from.

This is what I did: I sent away to Lehmans Hardware in the Amish country in Ohio and bought an old fashioned scythe. Then I put on hip boots and went in that pond as far as I could and cut those cattails off AS LOW AS I COULD UNDER WATER. I had a big young man rake the stuff out of the pond and make a HUGE compost pile of it all. Big job but it worked!

-- Merle Palmiter (, March 25, 2002.

Make the water level deeper. Cattails have a fairly narrow range of depth for growth. If they didn't then every lake or pond with cattails around the edge would not have open water in the center...

-- Oscar H. Will III (, March 25, 2002.

Catails won't grow in water deeper than 3-4'. Dig them out with a backhoe.

-- hendo (, March 26, 2002.

Michelle, I don't know where you live but in the past my job made it necessary to interface with the EPA, what a nightmare, and at least in Colorado,where I am from, if you had cattails on your property they could be classified as WETLANDS as as such came under the jurisidication of the EPA. I would get rid of them as soon as possible. In theory the government could confiscate your property. I don't want to test this theory and do not allow cattails on my property.

-- Mike Nelson (, March 27, 2002.

Sounds like it's time to have your pond cleaned out. See if you can find a local backhoe operator that knows how to do this.

Once done, maintenance is easy. If they're not illegal in your state, drop in a grass carp or two. Get the triploid ones (non breeding) so they don't get out of hand. They'll eat every waterweed that tries to grow. I've even seen them flopping up on the bank to nibble grass. If you're willing to wait a bit, you can skip the backhoe and just use the fish. It will take a while, but you'll start noticing things opening up as the lil guys start growing and eating more. Eventually, they'll have it clear for you. For cover for the other types of fish, you can sink a few cut christmas trees in the shallows.

-- Connie (, March 30, 2002.

Cattails! Oh brother, have you got a problem.......

Cattails will completely take over any area of water. They literally will eventually cause a body of water to die. In other words, all you'll have is a cattail stand, no water, no nothing.

Get rid of 'em fast, before they go to seed again. Don't tell anyone, just do it! Then you'll have to keep a sharp eye, and pull out new ones by the roots - probably take a few years.

-- V (, April 03, 2002.

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