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Vegetation for backwash control

I would appreciate any suggestions on any plants or aquatic grasses that can be planted in edge of ski lake to help with slight backwash issues in a couple of sections. More sloping isn’t an option at these particular sections. Thanks!


  • skimtbskimtb Posts: 439 Solid Baller
    I would think maybe cat tails?
    There is an invasive species, I think called phragmites, here in Michigan that looks like it would be beyond awesome for that. But, it’s an invasive species and seems to take over areas if left on its own.
  • skimtbskimtb Posts: 439 Solid Baller
    Other option, can you put some crushed stone or 4-8” boulders there at a slope? That may eat up the waves some too.
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,963 Mega Baller
    We are in the midst of removing phragmites from our lake. They are a great backwash dissipation feature and also provided excellent wind block, too (they can exceed 10 feet in height). However, as mentioned, they are invasive.

    I wouldn’t recommend planting cat tails, unless you want more people telling you what you can do with your own lake.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 29,408 Administrator
    edited September 2019
    I wish my fellow lake owners would let The Cattails take over. It would look awesome because we would have green around the lake instead of dirt and they would solve all backwash issues. But no...

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  • igkyaigkya Posts: 726 Crazy Baller
    Cat tails work great. I planted several last fall to fix a backwash area and within 1 season, it's almost completely gone. Planning to plant several more this fall. As for being invasive, I don't believe they will grow in more than 3-4' ft of water and they haven't invaded other areas of the shoreline in 10+ years as the need to plant to more.
  • walleyewalleye Posts: 197 Baller
    water lilies. justicia americana the scientific name, they are a rhizome. Used by housing development and kansaswildlife and parks for erosion. They spread 2-3 foot depth. Easily planted and will grow on rock and mud. Very tough can handle drought and extremely high water
  • LoopSkiLoopSki Posts: 728 Mega Baller
    edited September 2019
    are cat tails the ones that grow corn dogs?
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,262 Mega Baller
    @LoopSki yes. Phragmites are a curse. They take over everything and nearly impossible to kill off without using a ton of chemicals. They have very razor sharp edges that will cut you as you walk through them and they have a plume at the top instead of the brown corn dogs.

    If possible I would opt for putting in some rip rap rocks of good size #1-#2 range as the waves are broken up by the rocks. Small rocks or gravel does not work.

  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,417 Mega Baller
    how deep of water are the phragamites growing in?
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,963 Mega Baller
    We had the phragmites growing out as far as 15 feet from shore into 3+ feet of water and were expecting them to continue toward the middle of the lake. We contracted a company last fall to cut them down and, when they began to resprout as short juvenile plants, we had some chemical treatments. I think we've had 3 so far and I believe there might be one more included.

    If I recall correctly, they are not individual plants in small numbers/clusters, but continue to spread and push up shoots from an integrated root system.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 5,713 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    Lake owners spend countless hours fighting cattails
    Shut up and ski
  • olddogolddog Posts: 4 Baller
    One side of our lake is a dam- muskrats love cattails for food and that wasn't happy for the integrity of the dam. Depending on where the cattails are they can also block views of the slalom course from shore, and grow out to where its a hassle for the skier to walk out of the lake after a tournament fall. We have gone with 4-6 inch river rock in areas that are too steep for other options.
  • LOTWLOTW Posts: 193 Baller
    From what I understand, phragmites is becoming a serious problem in the Great Lakes especially Michigan. Terrible stuff!
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,417 Mega Baller
    @jeffmitchell the local at extensions can sometimes help. Plants like swamp loosestrife which have some roots and tangle up or if you are OK with it Mint can go crazy.
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,262 Mega Baller
    edited September 2019
    You really don't want to start a Phragmite patch, trust those who have been fighting this evil....

  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,963 Mega Baller
    @A_B, like I said, great windblock if you can keep them from continuing all the way across the lake.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,262 Mega Baller
    edited September 2019
    As a young boy I grew up on the Maumee River. We fished, speared carp, and explored the various islands and coves as all kids will do. I went back to those areas of Lili Pads and cat tails after 30+ years of lake ownership and was shocked to only see a wall of phragmites in front of the little islands.
    They have completely taken over the cat tails and Lily Pads.

    These phragmites are a curse wherever they are. Keep them out at all cost.
  • jjackkrashjjackkrash Posts: 760 Crazy Baller
    Lilly pads keep the backwash down.
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