Cattails (Typha latifolia) often grow along the edges of ponds and waterways. Cigar-shaped seed heads sit on top of long stalks surrounded by long, pointed leaves. Cattails reach up to 9 feet tall and propagate by both seed dispersion and root runners. Once established, cattails can easily take over a location. Rodeo herbicide provides a safe management option.
Rodeo controls aquatic weeds and plants, including cattails, bullrushes and water lilies. The active herbicide in Rodeo is glyphosate, a non-selective systemic herbicide. Rodeo requires no waiting period for livestock, human or irrigation usage of the waterway.
Rodeo travels throughout the entire plant, killing both roots and foliage. As a non-selective herbicide, Rodeo kills all plants it touches. According to the Ohio State University Extension, systemic herbicides are preferred for the elimination of perennials such as cattails. One application may eliminate the cattails.
The addition of a non-ionic surfactant allows the herbicide to sheet over the surface of the plant. Cattails feature a thick leaf coating. The addition of a surfactant allows the herbicide to absorb more easily. One ounce of surfactant is recommended for each gallon of spray solution.
Rodeo is for use along waterways. It should be mixed with a non-ionic surfactant and applied to dry plants with a liquid sprayer. The Ohio State University Extension recommends application just after the formation of the cattail seed head. At this time, energy reserves in the roots are low, causing the plant to move food to the roots for next year's growth. When applied at this time, the herbicide quickly moves to the roots of the plant.
Although Rodeo and other glyphosate-based herbicides initially cost more than other herbicides, the product is more effective. For example, contact herbicides like diquat only kill the surface portions of the plant and require reapplication every year. Rodeo allows property owners to enjoy the benefits of cattail stands for wildlife and fish without worrying they will overrun the waterway.
Alternatives to Rodeo and other chemical management options increase the amount of labor but eliminate the usage of herbicides for control. Two options exist for the mechanical management of cattails around a pond. The first is pulling out new green growth by hand, including as much of the root system as possible. This technique works well if the pond owner is vigilant about pulling out new growth.
New green shoots can also be cut off as they first emerge from the water using shears or a gasoline-powered trimmer. This prevents leaves from maturing, resulting in root systems that wither and die. Pond owners must also be vigilant about maintenance using this method.