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Pond Habitat Suggestions? (Cattail Alternatives)

1970 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  srr5008
I bought a property last year with a small 1/2 acre pond. I'm hoping that I can draw on other people's pond experience. The pond gets up to 12' deep on one end, but on average it is probably 5-6' deep. It currently provides great habitat for bass, sunfish, dragonflies, ducks, redwing blackbirds... and mosquitoes!

The pond is not swampy - it is spring fed (although the spring usually dries up in the late summer and the water level fluctuates up to a foot). I've got some lily pads, pickerell weeds and a lot of cattails. I think the cattails are my problem - they create a stagnant section of water around the pond that is beneficial to mosquito breeding and I've also read that some mosquitoes lay their eggs in the cattails themselves.

I am slowly working on the battle to remove the cattails. I am keeping my removal on one side for now, because I don't want to eliminate all of my wildlife and fish habitat at once. I was wondering if anyone had suggestions for alternative plants to put in the water that would provide cover for fish and other critters? I am looking to avoid planting too straight up weeds as I would also like to use the pond for swimming. I'm also looking for something that can be planted in a decent water depth (12"+). Seems that most of the plants I see online are decorative and meant for 1-3" water depths. My cattails are as deep as 4 feet, and as much as I dislike them, I am hesitant to remove all of that fish habitat until I have some type of replacement in place. Any ideas?
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I've got a LOT of hemlock on my property. Haven't had one in the pond for a few years since it started to get overrun with cattails and I knew I had to clean it out, but very easy to cut a medium size hemlock (30') and roll it into the pond with some of the branches well up out of the water. They are fantastic cover for fish, frogs lay their eggs in them, and a resting place for things above the water (snakes, turtles, heron, kingfisher, red wings). Every couple years before it deteriorates I pull out the old one with the tractor and put in a new one.

My pond is not deep and was getting overrun with cattails. A few years ago I went in by hand and removed almost all of them, actually went quicker and easier than I thought except for a sore back from being bent over a few hours a day. Pull them out in an area maybe 15' around me, they float like a big heavy mat, drift them over to the side and toss them out. I left some for cover and aesthetics and so far they really haven't re-propagated. If/when they do I'll do the same thing.

Actually been thinking about putting one in the last few weeks as the water is warm, a new tree blocks a lot of sun.
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