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Is it true that cattails will clear up a pond?

July 8, 2004

We have approximately a 2-3 acre pond that is taken over with moss. I was told to plant cattails and it would clear it up. Is this true?

This is the first year that is really looks bad. Any other suggestions in clearing it up as soon as possible would be most helpful.

It is stocked with fish so we are not wanting to do anything that would harm the fish.

Comments (9)

  • webfeeet

    It's being taken over by algae and YES cattails will help. What will help even more is to put sod all the way down to the water's edge and about an inch into the water. OR just sowing a thick mixture of all kinds of different grass and fodder type seeds mixed with wildflower seeds so the entire edge of the pond has plants.

    There is probably one spot where water washes into your pond more than other spots. That spot should be planted heavily with plants like watercress, pennywort, water celery cattails etc. Any kind of prolific marginal/ water plants. All the plants I mentioned will grow in the water and on the banks.

    The algae bloom is from nutrients washing into the pond and the use of heavy feeding plants will deprive the algae of it's nutrients.

    Also an old farmers trick is to throw a few bales of OLD (dried not green) hay into the pond. Just let them float. Straw works just as well.

  • fredsbog

    cattails may clear the water but you'll likely never be rid of them.

    Be patient, Your pond will even out, nothing good comes in a short time. webfeeet is correct on the other points. Planting lillies or other plants that block the sunlight will also help. again, be patient!

  • webfeeet

    Forget about these people who say blocking the sunlight will get rid of algae. That's bogus. My folks were snookered by the pond "Experts" and bought ten gallons of dark blue water dye which the experts said would rid them of algae forever by blocking the sunlight. It's a lie.

    Algae is a plant and it requires nutrients to grow.
    Farm ponds, stock ponds REAL ponds are plagued with excessive run-off and that run-off SUPER-SIZES the nutrient level and cause horrendous algae blooms and the only way to stop the algae bloom is to limit the amount of nutrients that reach the water.

    That's the reason you need to have good vegetation (grass, flowers, trees) surrounding the pond so that run-off is trapped by the vegetation instead of washing directly into the pond.

    That's why the part of the pond where you get the most water running into the pond must be the place most heavily planted with the nutrient eaters.

    It will take awhile for them to start gobbling the nutrients but they will do it.

    There are chemical methods but there you run the risk of killing your fish. My folks killed all of theirs before they tried the wonder dye. Unfortunately they are 2000 miles away and even though I am almost 60 I'm still a kid to them and should not be listened to.
    Fortunately my sister understands that I know what I'm talking about and is using the methods I recommended to take care of their problem.

    The heavy nutrient/fertilizer run-off can also contaminate the fish but proper planting for filtration and absorption will also remedy that problem.

    And don't forget the bales of hay!!

  • kverzani

    Don't know if this will help a large pond, but our small garden pond had "string" algae and the local nursery had us to put "barley straw" in a pillow ( our pond is only 150 gallons)...It still has a green tinge to it but the string stuff is gone... perhaps a bale of barley straw might help.

  • webfeeet

    You don't need barley straw. The old farmers with ponds have been using plain old ordinary hay and straw to take care of it for many decades.

  • Jansdream

    Thank you everyone for responding so quickly to my question.
    We do have some plants at the edge of the water and there is sod to the waters edge. We had some dirt work done and the dirt that was delivered was not pure. Funny because after I posted this I noticed 4 plants of cattails and some plant that grows along the waters edge. It holds tons of water in its stem. Perhaps something webfeet had mentioned. I always just called them pond weeds. But they are pretty and have yellowish tint to them. Good news is it was an accident with the soil not being pure, but it may work to our benefit. We will be careful not to let the cattails take over. Thanks again,

  • dendy

    If you have string algae get yourself a toilet brush and swirl all that stuff up....Im sure you can make some sort of concoction with an extended pole of some sorts if your pond is bigger than you can reach with your arm.

    There are various wildlife species that also eat algae ie; snails, tadpoles, shrimp (though keep in mind your fishies will eat these critters!), fish, plecostomus

    Here is a link for some good info: http://www.fishpondinfo.com/algae2.htm

  • Gina Pierce-Holmes

    You can purchase sterile algae eater fish that will clean your pond in one season. I live in Oklahoma but the guys that I bought mine from are from Arkansas.

  • Mike

    You will regret putting Cattails in your pond. They will overtake all the shallow parts of your pond and are VERY difficult to remove. They can get so bad they will deny access to the water. I have 12 ponds I dug with a bulldozer and experience of over 40 years. Limiting nutrients and planting lily's or other plants that block the sunlight will also help as Fredsbog says. Patience and understanding is the key.

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