Transplanting Cat Tails

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Not really building a great track record here as I’m winging it. Seem to have lost 4 of 8 cat tails in the transplant. Planted in pea gravel in larger baskets. When I pulled them (which was not easy) I tried to be careful and dig beneath them. Any tricks or advice?
 
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Don't plant them in your pond? How's that for advice? Haha!

What kind of cattails are these? Purchased or locally "sourced"?
 
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Make sure they have good tubers, no rot, and do t let them dry out
 
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Don't plant them in your pond? How's that for advice? Haha!

What kind of cattails are these? Purchased or locally "sourced"?
Local swamp variety. This year I’m trying to go with native plants. I’ve not seen much chatter about them here so I’ll assume folks don’t really care for them?
 
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I would never ever ever plant them in a liner pond. They'll take over. And once they get a hold on your pond, you will have a devil of a time getting rid of them. If you want cattails, look for the dwarf, mini, super tiny variety that you can buy. They will still try to take over, but they won't weigh 10,000 pounds when you try to thin them out. We ran into a guy at a pool store who had planted them outside of his pool, thinking it would look cool. The roots had grown right through his cement pool and he was having to have the whole thing ripped out and re-done. I don't THINK they would go through EPDM, but they could give you lots of trouble if they jump the pond and start pushing the edge of the liner down. Cattails will only grow in shallow water, so when they need more space they will head out of the pond.

Here's a video I saw just the other day about a pond that got overrun with cattails. Granted, this pond appears to have been neglected for years, but those cattails...

 

mrsclem

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I am actually trying to get some native cattails growing as well. I have heard that the roots are sharp and can puncture a liner. I bought some last year online and only 2 survived the winter. The area i put them in dries out so they didn't survive. This year I planted more in a heavy duty preform. It gets the water from my filters when I flush them out. Hoping to attract Red wing blackbirds. Now if I can just get the deer to leave them alone! I would not plant them in the pond.
 
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Transplanting to baskets in a small above ground seasonal pond. I didn’t make that clear.
 
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They get big and bulky fast, and are often full of things you may not want in your pond, like dragonfly nymph, and potentially other parasites. If you are determined to give it a try, fill a big tote with either a 10% bleach solution or appropriate potassium permaganate solution, and clean those plants top to bottom, especially if you have fish, or want fish someday. Then rinse, rinse, and rinse some more. Instead of a flimsy basket, go for a heavy duty tote with holes drilled in the side for water movement. And due to weight, I’ll suggest instead of pea gravel, try loose quilt batting with a topping of hand sized rock to keep it in place, the rocks are easy to remove, and the batting isn’t very heavy.
 
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I can tell you, putting it in my pond was a mistake! I bought some locally grown that were in a basket, and ignorantly didn't know (and wasn't told) that each year they would spread beyond the basket. Now I have at least 20 of them all over, and I'm nervous about pulling them up and damaging the liner!

Worse, my pond is 3' deep and the first year the cat tails were about 4 1/2' tall, so they looked natural above the surface. But this year, they're at least 8' tall! They can't stand up, so they're all just laying down and covering the surface.

@mrsclem, I'm in western NC, about 6 hours from you. If by chance you'll be in the area, you're welcome to my excess. PM me and I'll send pics.
 
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Sparky,
I have had cattails in my pond for over 7 years. They look great and really add authenticity to the look of the pond especially when you get the candlewicks (the brown cigar shaped top) but definitely need to be managed. I originally bought a small plant or two from an aquatics center but they multiply quickly as another poster suggested.
I originally had them in a bag with gravel but the root tubers grew out and under the large flat stone I have lining the bottom of my shallow end of the pond where the grasses are. These are incredibly hardy plants and can literally be ripped out and replanted to other areas or thinned out easily at will. When they get too overgrown they do tend to fall over so keep them at bay....
if you want a pic, let me know.
 
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@Anthonykoiboy, you said that you can rip them out and replant them...

I tried pulling on my excess and they're really in there. Other posts made me nervous about ripping my liner, so I backed off. Any suggestions on pulling them out? Or can I cut them off really low and them not come back?
 
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If you can spot the growing point of a cattail, the new plant forming, ripping those out will end the cattail.

Graceful cattail, Typha laxmanii is a modest size, sedate growing cattail, something like half the proportion of the native brutes

Rather easier to control, better behaved

122095
 
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@Anthonykoiboy, you said that you can rip them out and replant them...

I tried pulling on my excess and they're really in there. Other posts made me nervous about ripping my liner, so I backed off. Any suggestions on pulling them out? Or can I cut them off really low and them not come back?
csdude-it is really quite amazing how these plants seem to adhere to the liner. But in my experience, as long as your liner is in good condition there should be no way the roots can grow into the rubber. They may adhere but I found that a steady pulling pressure and sliding my fingers along the root bases freeing them from the rubber works like a charm. I attached 2 pictures, note that the beauty of these is that at the end of the year or after a few years when you cut them down to water level in the fall, you can rip them up and try them somewhere else in your pond! Also note the rocks I put under water img_0179_resized.jpgimg_0007_resized.jpgalong the base of the cattails to help support the roots. VERY important.
Hope this helps
 
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Yours look great, man, but mine are a mess. You can see here, the section of the pond they're in is 3' deep, but they stand WAY above the surface and just droop down.

Can I just trim them to a foot above water level and them be OK? I've read that a common tactic is to cut them off at least 8" under the surface 3-4 times a year if you want to kill them, but I don't really want that; I just want them to be at a nice height.

I love how you did the rocks on the bottom, too. Next time I have money to buy more rocks, I'm gonna have to do that.
 

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cas

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@csdude55 you can try what I do with my garden flowers that tend to fall over. Put a stake in the center of the roots (being sure not to puncture the liner) and then bring all the stalks up and loosely tie fishing line around them. Sometimes I don't even use a stake, just tieing all the stems together support each other.
 
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I had tied mine together last year, but after looking at @Anthonykoiboy 's pics I've realized that I just have the wrong plant for my pond. I should have gotten dwarfs.

I pulled them completely out yesterday. It wasn't as bad as I thought, I just grabbed the stalks and used steady, low pressure to dislodge the roots. After I got them out I measured, they're easily 9' long! In my poor 3' deep pond!

Pulling them out really clouded up my water so that's a work in progress, but I think it will look a lot better to split my irises in to several pots and fill in the back area, then pull the lilies to the front... and that's it. No more cattails.
 
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It's a constant process of moving, thinning, shifting, replanting... a pond is never done!
 
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Just wish I had local friends with ponds that liked to trade plants around... I trade garden perennials all the time, but my only friends with a pond have those little 1' deep black plastic ones for ambiance. I hate to just throw these cattails in the woods, but I have no clue what else to do with them.
 
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csdude, your cattails are probably dropping as the plants are growing out of the pot and the roots are bare root with nothing to stop them from keeling over
 
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