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Cattail Control (06/23/16)

Question: We have cattails in some areas in fields that we have not been able to seed the last couple years. The area is dry this year. What can you use to get rid of them?

Cattail Control

Question: We have cattails in some areas in fields that we have not been able to seed the last couple years. The area is dry this year. What can you use to get rid of them?

Answer: With the dry spring many calls have come in concerning cattail control. Page 67 in the weed guide shows a listing for cattail control.

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The glyphosate work was done by Dr. Cal Messersmith, NDSU Weed Scientist before he retired. He found glyphosate at 4.5 pints/A of an unloaded (4 lb. ae/gal) formulation provided excellent control. Why the unloaded formulation? Because partial or full surfactant load formulations of glyphosate (page 73 in the weed guide) cannot be used in bodies of water that contain aquatic life. The surfactants in glyphosate formulations are lethal to aquatic life. A surfactant approved for use in bodies of water must be applied with unloaded glyphosate formulations. A list of approved surfactants for use on bodies of water is on page 126 in the weed guide. Use approved NIS at 0.5 to 1% v/v.

Dr. Messersmith’s research also showed best control occurs when glyphosate is applied in July to mid-August when cattail is in early to full bloom. At this time in mid-June and cattail is not in the bloom stage. What level of control can we expect if sprayed now? The data show when vegetative cattail was sprayed on June 10 the control ranged from 12 to 16%. When sprayed to early flowering cattail on July 22, control was 51 to 91%. When sprayed to 6 foot, full flowering cattail on Aug 1 control was 92 to 100% control.

Cattail is a perennial thus with the same motto as other perennial species: “Perennial species cannot be controlled with one application of any herbicide”. If you can’t wait until July or Aug to spray the cattail then plan your spray activities to provide the best control with the resources you have.

Rich Zollinger

Extension Weed Specialist

 

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