Cattails are one of the most prominent plants that grow in lakes and ponds, and you might find that many people consider them to be desirable. These plants can grow as tall as 10-feet, which makes them a major focal point. They can also serve as a shoreline buffer that helps to prevent erosion. When properly controlled, cattails can prevent unwanted algae growth by absorbing nutrients before they reach the water. However, these same majestic plants can also become a nuisance if their growth spirals out of control. Managing cattails in your Florida lake or pond is essential for maintaining its health, and you can choose from several options to eliminate them completely or deter their overgrowth.
Start With a Professional Assessment
The first thing that you’ll want to do is have a professional take a look at the cattail growth to determine if it is causing a problem. Cattails often serve as a habitat for desirable wildlife such as birds, which is why you typically don’t want to eliminate them completely. If the cattails overgrow, then they can start to prevent wildlife from being able to access the pond. They can also restrict water flow and lead to stagnant areas that attract mosquitoes. Once a professional determines that the cattails are creating a problem, they can recommend the best methods for their removal.
Consider Using Aquatic Herbicides
Professional pond management technicians can use special herbicides to control cattails. Aquatic herbicides must meet U.S. EPA and Florida’s state standards before a licensed professional is allowed to apply it to naturally growing plants near bodies of water. During the application process, the lake management technician applies the herbicide to the cattails that need to be controlled. Since it is species-specific, you don’t have to worry about it harming other desirable plants. While this control method is effective, it does come with the potential issue of having the plants remain in or near the water after they die off. Eventually, they’ll decompose, but this can create an issue for water health if the cattails are extensive.
Explore the Option of Using Mechanical Removal
Hydro-raking is one method that lake and pond management companies in Florida use to remove unwanted cattails. This method uses special equipment to pull the cattails up and out of the water, and it provides the benefit of disrupting their underground root system so that they are less likely to keep coming back. Although mechanical removal does come with the risk of potentially harming desirable plants, it has the benefit of also completely removing the cattails from the water so that they don’t lead to poor oxygen levels or an overabundance of nutrients that feed algae.
Whether you like the look of a few cattails lining the shore of your pond or you want them out of there, you’ll want to include them in your water management plan. Controlling cattails is a year-round concern in Florida, and being proactive is the best way to avoid having them affect the health of your lake or pond.
At Crosscreek Environmental, we believe in providing a comprehensive, environmentally friendly approach in creating solutions to maintain the beauty and health of Florida's ponds, lakes, wetlands, and shorelines. We use the B.E.S.T.™ geo-tube solution and are one of the best geo-tube solution providers in the state of Florida.