Cattail

Typha spp.

Management Options

Mechanical/Physical Control Options

Cattails can be mechanically removed by digging up the rhizomes and removing them from the pond. Cutting off the tops of the plant will not kill them. The rhizomes are under the soil and care must be taken to remove all of it . This option usually only works when cattails first invade an area. Once established they are difficult to control mechanically. Although frequent mowing has been effective in some cases.

Biological Control Options

There are no available methods for biological control of cattails at this time.

Chemical Control Options

The active ingredients that have been successful in treating cattails include diquat (G), glyphosate (E), imazamox (E), and imazapyr (E). E = excellent, G = good

Reward is a liquid diquat formulation that has been effective on cattails. It is a contact herbicide. Contact herbicides act quickly and kill all [plant cells that they contact. A non-ionic aquatically registered surfactant (see the label) will have to be added to the Reward solution for good results.

Rodeo, Aquamaster, Eraser AQ, Touchdown Pro, and AquaNeat are liquid glyphosate formulations and have been effective on cattails. These are broad spectrum, systemic herbicides. Systemic herbicides are absorbed and move within the plant to the site of action. Systemic herbicides tend to act more slowly than contact herbicides. An aquatically registered surfactant (see the label) will have to be added to the glyphosate solution for good results.

Clearcast is a liquid imazamox formulation. It is a broad spectrum, systemic herbicide. Systemic herbicides are absorbed and move within the plant to the site of action. Systemic herbicides tend to act more slowly than contact herbicides. An aquatically registered surfactant (see the label) is needed for application.

Habitat contains the active ingredient, imazapyr, which inhibits the plant enzyme AHAS (acetohydroxyaced synthase). Habitat is a systemic herbicide that is effective on post-emergent floating and emergent aquatic vegetation. Imazapyr is effective at low-volume rates and does not contain heavy metals, organochlorides or phosphates, making it safe to humans and livestock. Habitat requires the use of a spray adjuvant when applying on post-emergent vegetation.

One danger with any chemical control method is the chance of an oxygen depletion after the treatment caused by the decomposition of the dead plant material. Oxygen depletions can kill fish in the pond. If the pond is heavily infested with weeds it may be possible (depending on the herbicide chosen) to treat the pond in sections and let each section decompose for about two weeks before treating another section. Aeration, particularly at night, for several days after treatment may help control the oxygen depletion.

One common problem in using aquatic herbicides is determining area and/or volume of the pond or area to be treated. To assist you with these determinations see SRAC #103 Calculating Area and Volume of Ponds and Tanks.

Many aquatically registered herbicides have water use restrictions (See General Water Use Restrictions).

To see the labels for these products click on the name. Always read and follow all label directions. Check label for specific water use restrictions.

Cultivation Options

Cattails can be propagated by transplanting the rhizomes to areas of moist soils next to permanent water. They are best transplanted in the winter before new growth starts. However, cattails can be an aggressive invader of ponds.