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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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Thanks for the rake suggestion. I've seen them used successfully, but I am pulling them manually to try to remove as much of the roots as I can (and it's been so stinking hot, I don't mind spending time in the water lol). Cutting requires several cuts over time to "drown" the roots, if I'm not mistaken.

While cattails do help filter the water, like all vegetation they release the nutrients back into the water when they die and decay (nitrogen and phosphorus mainly). When they die off, they can actually cause some level of oxygen depletion. Obviously that is an extreme case, as cattails don't negatively impact all the water where they are occurring naturally, but it can happen.

I don't mind how they look, but it is "swampy" in the cattail areas due to the vegetation decay and old stalks that are poking up from the pond bottom. That combined with my mosquito problem is why I am looking for alternatives. I'm just having trouble finding something that isn't a shoreline plant - I want something that grows in a decent water depth to provide cover for minnows, frogs, etc.
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Swamped said:
just build brush pile in water
Old Christmas trees weighted with a cinderblock work well for this too.
Supposedly the previous owner (I bought the property last summer) put several carp in there. I don't really have a weed issue, just a cattail issue.
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