Burning cattails

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by fishhead, Apr 4, 2008.

  1. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,009
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    northcentral MN
    I've been waiting all winter and now all spring to burn off some cattails in my ponds. I tried tonight and it was a waste of time. The grass on the slopes burned well but the cattails hardly burned.

    I waited until after sundown so it would be cool but that might have been a mistake. Also the snow is almost gone from the cattail stand but that's only happened recently. The stand isn't very thick either. I don't have a lot of time to wait before I have to start filling the ponds. The cattails I lit would burn and burn hot enough to make me move back but the fire just didn't go anywhere and would go out. I put some paper feed bags in for fuel but that wasn't enough.

    The leaves break when you bend them and give off a lot of heat so they are sort of dry. This spring has been hot cold wet dry like a pogo stick. It's supposed to rain and snow this weekend again.

    I'm thinking that I need to start the fire earlier in the day when it's warmer and maybe try to get a hot core fire going so it will be self sustaining. It was in the mid-fifties today and sunny but there was a breeze so I couldn't light it then and the permit says after 6 pm.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. Ernie

    Ernie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    13,422
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Location:
    In the Exodus

  3. Lindafisk

    Lindafisk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    878
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    Texas
    They could make you a little extra cash too- look on ebay, people are selling them! LOL I saw auctions for 2 for $1.29 with over $10 shipping. :D
     
  4. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,009
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    northcentral MN
    These are in commercial fish ponds and are hurting production. They need to go.
     
  5. tomjones

    tomjones Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    224
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Location:
    Britton SD
    This time of year you will have a lot of trouble burning late. If that is what your permit says, light it AT 6 pm, but I would do it earlier You also will likely need a bit of a breeze to do it. One mistake many people make is burning with no wind. A fire is much more predictible and controllable with a steady wind than a fickle breeze or nothing.

    Best bet to wait until after the snow tonight and wait for next week. Might get a shot this afternoon, but depends on your firebreak and willingness to go outside your permit.

    Tom
     
  6. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,009
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    northcentral MN
    Thanks Tom.

    The MN DNR is openly hostile towards law abiding fish farmers so I never give them a legitimate reason to swing their stick. The permit says 6 pm so I'll light at 6 pm not 5:59.

    I've wondered if maybe a wind might help keep the heat down in the stand and make it burn hotter. Firebreak is not an issue because this is a narrow pond dike with hundreds of feet to any other fuel in most directions.

    What about spraying some fuel oil on the leaves first?

    The cattails are on the interior dike of the largest ponds in this photo.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

    Messages:
    7,220
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    don't you really need to dig them out?
     
  8. ceresone

    ceresone Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    My SIL tried to help me burn ours off, used a propane torch, used oil, used everything we could think of--Cattails-1 Me-0
    Blasted red-winged blackbirds nest in ours--ever try to have a garden and fruit trees with these pests around?
     
  9. Sand Flat Bob

    Sand Flat Bob north central Texas

    Messages:
    300
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    Just a thought. I would look into using chemicals applied by a weed wiper. Would be slow doing it with a hand held weed wiper but should be able to apply with out getting any chemical on the ground or in the water. There are some people around that make hand held wipers.

    Like I said just a thought,

    Bob
     
  10. Sully

    Sully Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    129
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    Location:
    Idaho
    Folks around here burn ditches in the spring to clean them up for irrigation season. Cattails usually burn right along with the grass, then come up greaner and thicker than before.
    You might look at grubbing them out. Manually or a backhoe. I believe the lateral tuber needs to be removed for them to go away. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
    Spraying fuel onto the side of a fish producing pond seems like a good to poison the pond with run-off.
    Good luck.
     
  11. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,009
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    northcentral MN
    I already hit them with systemic herb last fall so they are dead. Now I'm trying to get rid of last years leaves. My minnows spawn on the surface of the leaves and I can't prevent them from spawning too much and stunting.

    You are correct about having to grub up every last bit of root. I've done that by hand with small stands if I catch them in time. I have to run the farm in the evenings and on weekends so the cattails got ahead of me when I was busy doing something else. Now I'm trying to reclaim the ponds.
     
  12. Sand Flat Bob

    Sand Flat Bob north central Texas

    Messages:
    300
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    Since they are dead, I would use a propane torch. I have one that sprays liquid propane and burns at several thousand degrees. That will burn weeds when solid green and growing. Should take care of your dead plants.

    Bob
     
  13. tomjones

    tomjones Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    224
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Location:
    Britton SD
    If you already have them dead with rodeo, wait until you get a good wind from one way or the other on the dike and light them off. Make sure you ahve a good break at the end and let er buck. You will end up with the bases left, but if you already have them dead you will be fine.

    Tom
     
  14. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,009
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    northcentral MN
    I tried again tonight. There was a wind from the safest of the safe directions. I put 1 1/2 gallons of diesel on about 150' of them. It didn't work. I would lit the thickest groups but it wouldn't spread. I'm pretty sure the stand is too thin.

    As an experiment I knocked a bunch down by using my grain scoop as a bat. Then I lit up the thicker piles. They went up like crazy and only left the stumps in about a minute. I don't have any equipment or I would put an axle through a 55 gallon drum and pull it behind to knock them down. There's just way more than I want to knock down by hand and leaving 10% is like not doing it at all as far as spawning. Oh well I'll just have to live with them another year.
     
  15. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    12,323
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2003
    Location:
    Carthage, Texas
    Which herbicide?

    Is anything else greening up thereabouts... ...it's sorta hard to know if they're really dead, till it starts warming up.... and the green sprouts push up. And it only takes a tiny little section of the rhizome to not get poisoned or killed, to respread amazingly quick. I cleaned out a section around my pier and 'reflection rock'... got all the rhizomes out. Runners from thirty feet away recolonized the entire area in less than two months...

    Sounds like you've got a worthy nemesis on your hands...
     
  16. Tadpole

    Tadpole Tadpole

    Messages:
    326
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Location:
    Mississippi
    I was wondering what to spray to kill these things. I guess birds brought these things to our pond. Got to watch what you spray for the fish in pomd. HELP! they are gettting green again. Can't pull them up cause they seam to go to China with the roots. I'd try Roundup but,,that will kill my fish and I can't do that. Bought things from Co Op and just didn't work for 2 years. Anyone got and ideas? Other than a machine to dig the out.
     
  17. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,009
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    northcentral MN
    Tadpole it's likely the wind brought the cattails to your pond. Rodeo is approved for cattails. Just spray on a calm day from the pond side rather than from the bank and your fish should be fine.

    I'll be watching for any sprouts to poke up this spring. I expect to see some that survived so I'll have the spray in hand when I inspect.
     
  18. Karenrbw

    Karenrbw Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,350
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    Missouri
    Goats love cattails - will even venture to stand in the water to eat them and we all know how goats are made of spun sugar and will melt with contact with water.
     
  19. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,009
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    northcentral MN
    My goats who would run screaming for the shelter at the first drops of rain would stand out in the ponds up to their belly in water to eat cattails. They would snip off a clump and stand their with 4' long "swords" hanging from their mouth.
     
  20. Tadpole

    Tadpole Tadpole

    Messages:
    326
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Fishhead, where do you get Rodeo? Is that what it is called?