• Gus Hetcher

Managing Cattails and Phragmites on Your Property

In an ever-changing world, new invasive plant species continue to be introduced throughout the landscape. These plants take advantage of disturbed areas and quickly crowd out native plant species. With over 60 different invasive plant species in Wisconsin, there are two that can be seen the most, whether you are driving on the interstate, or enjoying your pond in your backyard: cattails and phragmites.

Hybrid cattails and phragmites create dense, monotypic stands by utilizing their quick growth capabilities. The ability to grow taller and create thick biomass allows cattails and phragmites to alter the habitat they inhabit and shield out desirable native plants. With the aggressive characteristics they possess, wetlands can be altered. Wetlands and ponds serve as our natural “sink” or “sponge”. During heavy rain events, runoff water flows into wetlands and ponds, carrying any contaminant (nutrients, sediment, biofuels, etc) it may come across. The disturbances wetlands face from contaminates can create great opportunities for cattails and/or phragmites to dominate the area. Even though cattails and phragmites can create some habitat for fish, amphibians and birds, it is very limited and not ideal. Native plants, such as common bur-reed and bulrushes, provide ideal nesting and spawning habitat for birds and fishes.

Despite the aggressive nature hybrid cattails and phragmites possess, they can be managed. Cason & Associates has helped numerous of land and pond owners control the spread of these two invasive plant species. By using aquatic safe herbicides, removal of dead plant matter, and continued management practices, we have transformed ponds and wetlands inundated by cattails and phragmites to restored natural landscapes. Our cattail/phragmites management services include:

Herbicide Application 

Cutting/Burning 

Mulching 

Continued Monitoring & Management

Since we treat your property like it was ours, we want your property looking the best it can throughout the entire season. To prevent you from looking at dead plant matter during the summer, we typically treat at the end of summer, or beginning of fall before the plants die off for the year. Dead plant matter is then either cut and burned during the winter months when the pond has frozen over or mulched utilizing the rotary cutter on our mini excavator. To enhance breakdown of dead plant matter, applications of beneficial bacteria and enzymes can be conducted. This not only will aid in plant matter decomposition; it will also aid in nutrient management within the pond. In large infestations, treatment of re-growth with herbicides in spring may be warranted.

If your pond or property is being over-run with cattails or phragmites, call the professionals at Cason & Associates to see how we can help you restore your natural landscape.

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