Southlands Village Lake



Sep 15, 2014

Cattails are one of the most common and easily identifiable shoreline vegetation plants.   With their long green leaves and hot-dog shaped brown flower spikes, cattails belong to the typha species.   Cattails are commonly found growing in dense stands in areas with shallow water or along storm water retention basins (SRB), like Southlands Creek.

Cattails are sometimes thought of as a nuisance, but they along with other shoreline vegetation plants perform important functions.  They filter runoff water as it flows into the SRB.  The excess nutrients absorbed by the cattails help cattails grow and reduce the amount of excess nutrients entering the SRB keeping it clean and healthy.  They help provide food and shelter for many species of waterfowl, fish, mammals birds, for instance, redwing blackbirds and many ducks nest in them.

Some areas of the shore are bare of vegetation because cattails and other vegetation are still in the process of being established.  Cattails in particular require a relatively flat shelf to grow; if it’s too steep they aren’t able to establish themselves. 

The shoreline vegetation along SRB’s is diverse and full of attractive wetland plants.  Routine inspection takes place that includes the control of cattails among other plant species like bulrushes, bur reed, and coontail.

So, before lamenting the growth of cattails along Southlands Creek, remember what this simple, tall, attractive plant is doing while it’s slender leaves dance in the breeze.