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How to Kill Cattails in a Pond Using Natural Ways

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Do you have a beautiful pond that is affected by cattails and you are searching the ways of how to kill cattails in a pond? Then this article is an appropriate destination for you. The unwanted growth of cattails is a problem for many people. Although some people like to grow this aquatic plant in their pond as it discourages soil erosion and provides strength to the soil. But most people are not able to maintain their growth correctly, and its rapid growth gives a dirty look to the pond.

Once the roots of the cattails get established, it becomes challenging to remove them as they spread around very quickly. In this article, we will discuss what cattails are, how they affect your pond, and will also mention several ways of how to kill cattails in a pond. So let us move forward and get started with it.


What are cattails?

Typha, or commonly known as cattails are semi-aquatic flowering plants that are usually grown along the edges of ponds and lakes. They tend to proliferate and reproduce by dispersing their seeds through wind and other sources. They can easily cover a large area and dominate themselves in the pond. The cattails also steal vital nutrients from the other life forms present in the pond. It is not that they are only harmful and useless for the pond, they also have some great benefits that we will discuss below.

Did You Know?

Cattails are unisexual and can produce male and female flowers on a single plant.

Benefits of having Cattails in your Pond

Getting rid of cattails in a pond might be the prime concern for most of the readers. But, we would like to list some of the benefits of having cattails you do not know.

  • Cattails provide shelter and food for many organisms in the pond like fish, insects, frogs, etc.
  • They soak up the excessive phosphorus and biological waste, which leads to natural purification of the water.
  • They also provide habitat to multiple aquatic species living in the pond.
  • Cattails have many natural antiseptic properties, and it helps in the prevention of anemia.
  • They are also a good source of vitamin A, B, C, and potassium.

How to kill cattails in a pond

Cattails might have some benefits, but the issue with them is that they have a potency to multiply at a phenomenal speed. By growing everywhere, it gets difficult to manage them, and also it looks quite unappealing to look at. So down below, several methods are mentioned on how to kill cattails in a pond.

1. Pulling the cattails out of the water using hand

This is the most basic method used for getting rid of cattails in a pond. To save the health of the ecosystem of the pond, it is best to try out the natural ways first. It will harm the water and the organisms present inside it the least. It is the most straightforward method, and in it, the cattails are pulled out of the water using hands.

Pull the cattails slowly from the base making sure that white root-like structure also comes out of the water. Do not start pulling the plants with force as you may damage their parent plant and use a gentle force to hand pull them. This is the simplest and safest method when we want to know how to kill cattails in a pond.

2. Clipping the cattails

The other efficient method of getting rid of cattails in a pond is to cut their roots under the surface of the water. For doing this, you will need a tool like an aquatic weed cutter or a trimmer that can be easily operated under the water. By cutting the roots of the plant, they will not be able to perform photosynthesis, and due to lack of oxygen, their growth will simply stun.

The best time to remove the cattails is from July and later months. Cutting them before July is not advised as, during that time, they have allocated most of their energy for the growth and if cut will regrow again. Repeat the cutting process at least two to three times a year, and you will notice that each year, their growth will be significantly low.

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Pro Tip

Use both the above-given methods together if there is a high growth rate of cattails to reduce their spread.

3. Changing the Salinity Levels

This is a simple and effective way of getting rid of cattails in a pond. According to a study conducted by Fish and Wildlife Service, Salinity of ten parts per thousand is good enough to kill cattails. So you can place a block of salt within the mass of cattails so that it starts affecting the cattails immediately and can get rid of it. If you are living near the sea and, if possible, divert seawater in the pond to get quick relief from the problem.

There are pond salt solutions available in the market that can help you do the same. The only con of this method is that some of the fishes living in your pond may not be tolerant of the salt. So as you will increase the salinity, it can harm their health. We recommend not to use this method if you have freshwater fish and plants in your pond. This is the most effective and time-saving technique for how to kill cattails in a pond.

4. Freezing the Cattails

Another practical method of how to kill cattails in a pond is by freezing them to death. It sounds too cold-blooded, but the technique will surely help you get rid of cattails in a pond. To perform this method, you have two options, either completely drain out the pond or let it freeze during the winter. If the winters where you live are not cold enough, then you will have to go with the first option.  

In both methods, firstly, you need to move all the fish to a new destination or a pond. You can either buy a stock tank or rent it as a temporary house for all your aquatic organisms. If you are going with the first method, then start emptying the pond. Then using a cutter or with hands, pull out all the cattails present in the pond.

If you want to freeze the cattails over the winter, then as told above shift all the fish from the pond. Then let the cattails freeze that will lead to the killing of all the rhizomes. Then actively clean the whole pond and check that no seeds of cattails are remaining. Once proper cleaning is done, you can refill the pond with water and several other aquatic plants and animals.

5. Controlling the Growth of Cattails

In case you have changed your mind by reading the multiple benefits of the cattails. Then you can just control their growth and have not to completely get rid of them. For it, you can make use of pots that will help you prevent its undesired growth.

Cattails prefer low levels of water and have the ability to grow in such an environment.  Ceramic and clay pots work very well for this purpose. Make sure that the pots are heavy and do not disperse with the flow of the water. You just need to add the cattails in the pot and make sure to cut their heads regularly, which will prevent them from reproducing. By doing these two simple things, you will be able to control their growth efficiently and will notice a significant decrease in their growth every year.

Did You Know?

Cattails leaves are used in the paper industry and for the making of several furniture items and mats.


How to kill cattails in a pond using chemicals

If all the natural methods of killing the cattails do not work, then there are many chemicals available in the market to do the same. Many aquatic herbicides such as Airmax MuckAway, Catt Plex, and Alligare are available online and in-store that will help you get rid of cattails in a pond. You can buy  Alligare and Airmax MuckAway chemical cleaners from the links mentioned.

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  • Kills the roots of even the most persistent weeds
  • Works great on cattails, phragmites, lilies, purple loosestrife & other emergent weeds

These chemicals will not only kill the cattails but will also remove other weeds present in the pond. They are 100% safe for use and will not have any adverse effect on the health of fish and other aquatic plants. They are also quite effective and will ensure no growth of all the pond weeds for a long time.

Video Introduction


So how to kill cattails in a pond should not remain a question any more in your mind. All the best natural and unnatural methods that will help you get rid of them are described above. To remove them and just control their growth completely, you have enough knowledge to execute that too. So make up your mind and do the most appropriate technique you think will work for your pond. Further, regularly maintain their growth and have a beautiful pond for your home. Thanks.

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