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As a result of water-level regulation, cattails have invaded sedge/grass meadow in all wetlands on Lake Ontario. Even with a change in water-level-regulation to a more natural hydrologic regime, restoration requires methods for active cattail management without the ability to manipulate water depths and without imperiling other vegetation. We conducted replicated studies at a wetland site with an active invasion front in zones of nearly mono-dominant cattail and transitional invasion. We tested various combinations of cutting cattail ramets when carbohydrate reserves were minimized, spraying cut stems with herbicide, slicing rhizomes to mimic tilling, and hand-wicking resprouted ramets with herbicide.We also collected companion environmental data. The most effective treatment in both zones was cutting during the period with reduced rhizome carbohydrates followed by handwicking resprouted ramets with herbicide in late summer, which allows the herbicide to be absorbed by the rhizomes. Two years of treatment provide the best results, reducing cattail stem counts and cover by more than 50%, but follow-up applications in ensuing years may be warranted to treat surviving cattails. Given the widespread problem of cattail invasion, these treatments may have broad application in wetlands where water levels cannot be manipulated.

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Wetlands (2018) 38:337–347