How to Get Rid of Cattails in a Pond or Lake

You may have noticed that toward the end of the summer the cattails you’ve been ignoring are reaching maturity and taking over your lake or pond. Perhaps your attempt to cut them back earlier in the year has backfired and now you’ve actually got more of them than if you had just left them alone. Either way, we at Lake Restoration are here to tell you how to get rid of cattails in your pond or lake.

Identifying the cattail is the first step. Thankfully they are pretty hard to miss — once mature they have the unique quality of a cigar-shaped top called a “catkin” that separates them in appearance from any other mature plant. Cattails — a.k.a. Cat O’ Nine Tails — can grow up to 9 feet tall, and will easily dominate the shoreline of your lake, pond, stream or river. They are considered “emergent weeds” as this sizable plant’s growth can reach far above the water’s surface. Though some people like the appearance of these North American natives, their ability to take over and ruin a body of water for any recreational purpose is what drives many folks to remove them from a shoreline.

As mentioned previously, some people cut these plants back in an attempt at cattail control. We at Lake Restoration do not recommend this, especially in May, as this may ultimately stimulate the growth of the plants if cut below the surface of the water. Pulling them out is an option, though labor intensive, and since cattails largely reproduce through their creeping root system, leaving any portion of the root behind means you are almost guaranteed to be doing this exact same task next year.

If you want to know how to get rid of cattails long-term, we recommend the use of our Open Water Kit. Spray the part of the plant you have access to and our herbicide will do the rest! It has a surfactant that breaks through the tough exterior of the Cattail and delivers the herbicide directly to the roots where it works to unsettle the root system and kill the plants at their source.

Don’t lose your water-related activities at the best part of summer — take control. There are no swimming restrictions after use and the product is safe for fish and wildlife. Use the Open Water Kit to eliminate your cattail problem now and your body of water can be useful again within a week!