It’s interesting to watch a pond progress from infancy into pondhood. Ours was dug 13 years ago in sandy soil that had been leased out to neighboring farmers for growing corn and soybeans.
Every year we notice changes, from the arrival of frogs and turtles to the growth of willows, reeds and cattails. After watching for this long, it’s clear that the tendency is for nature to try to fill a pond up with life, much like soil left bare tends to eventually fill up with weeds and grasses.
So far I’ve been successful at lightly managing the cattails. They tend to spread quickly unless they receive some guidance.
But this year there’s been a sudden explosion of another species: ten-foot tall reeds called phragmites in the cattail sanctuary. Phragmites are an extremely invasive species that can quickly get out of control, smothering out native pond plant life and nuking creature habitats.
So I made the tough (and very politically incorrect) decision to use a chemical control containing glyphosate, the newest environmental bogeyman.
In my decades of gardening I’ve never used any form of chemical in my vegetable gardens. It’s a badge of pride with me. So this was a tough but (in my view) necessary decision.
The only effective non-chemical control for phragmites is burning, and the pond is too dangerously close to the woods for that. Pulling them by hand only causes them to spread. It was the only option short of surrendering the pond and its associated life to a foreign invader.
The other, way more fun pond project was dragging the beach with the 4 wheeler. The best excuse ever for a grown man to do wheelies in the sand.