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how to preserve cattail leaves

It is much easier to pull cattails out of the pond when they are young, rather than at full height. Because the imported bulrush is so expensive, and the American bulrush is not quite as tall as we would like or accessible, most American seatweavers substitute cattail leaves for the bulrush. Store in a dry area in an upright position with the butt ends down, and don’t expose the leaves to sunlight. It is important to note that flowers are generally very fragile and may need to be dyed before drying, especially if they are to be placed in a desiccant. I’ve also heard that you can use hairspray but I haven’t tried that myself. Once cooked, eating a cattail root is similar to eating the leaves of an artichoke – strip the starch away from the fibers with your teeth. Remember too, that you are gathering only the leaves here, not the stalk with the cattail or catkins (the fluffy brown things). You’ll likely need to do 2-3 coats to fully preserve them. Lay the towel out on the tarp. Add weavers until the bottom of the basket is the desired size. I cut the approximately 7 cattails by simply snapping the stem and then twisting the stem in a circle to get a clean break. You can also use it as kindling to start a fire. Natural color may be intensified or artificial color introduced to dried plant materials by dyeing or coloring. Keep all the butt ends together and the tip ends together, don’t mix them up or you will have a mess trying to sort them out later. That way they can be dusted. The uses of the cattail hardly stop here. Dilute 1 ounce of surfactant in 1 gallon of either of the prepared solutions. Then, let the hairspray dry for about 10 minutes. Kept under optimum conditions, processed cattail leaves can be used up to a year or more after harvest. Cut the leaves at the base or butt end, where they meet the water, then lay them flat for transport home. A basket woven of cattail leaves may be used as a container for gift cookies and candies. Typhus-latifolia L. (broad leaf) cattail leaves. I prefer to select the tallest and widest leaves for my purposes of seatweaving with cattails. Cattails have waxy leaves, and without the surfactant, herbicides bead and roll off. Be careful how you treat these dry leaves because they are susceptible to breakage and bend easily. Leaves to be used in weaving projects are gathered from the vegetative part that does not have the cattail catkin on it. Have you ever wondered about using cattail leaves for your seat weaving or basket making projects? To learn how to choose the right flowers for preserving, read on! Cut off the leaf tips and the thick ends while still bundled. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. The roots can be dried and turned into flour. The leaves of the cattail plant are flat, not pithy (accept at the base) and have sharp, well-defined edges. The weaving pattern is started on the outer edges of the seat, then through a series of wraps around all four rungs and through the large center hole, it ends in the center. Your email address will not be published. How to Weave & Preserve Cattails Step 1. Cut the leaves and/or stalks near the base of the plant, where leaves and stalk meet to form a juncture. Reply Was this helpful? Cattails (Typha) are one of the best survival foods. Start weaving as one would weave strips of paper into a flat mat. Oct 31, 2019 - Explore Nancy G Gouliquer's board "Cattail Projects" on Pinterest. Harvest cattail leaves in late summer or early autumn. Two types of cattail grow in the U.S.: a broad-leaf cattail and a narrow-leaf cattail. They not only … You can utilize the leaves of the plant to weave into baskets. They twist together more evenly and takes fewer of them to make the twisted rope-like strands than do cattail leaves. Diquat can be applied in the late spring or summer, but glyphosate should be used just after the seed pod … Since hand-twisted natural rush seatweaving is a labor-intensive and skilled weaving process, not too many seatweavers are proficient enough or willing to perfect this technique. Step 3. Glycerine Bath Leaves – soak in a water & gylcerine solution for 3-5 days. Proceed onto the next plant until you have cleared out the area as completely as … However, whether or not they fall out depends on when you pick them: in the gardening zone I live in (East Tennessee) they must be picked before the end of July or they will ripen and the seeds will burst out. You could also use them to make ponchos or hats. There is a pre-twisted seagrass product (also called reel rush) available from cane & basket suppliers that somewhat resembles a hand-twisted natural cattail or bulrush seat. Step 2. This little rhyme might help you to tell the two apart, ‘Sedges have edges, rushes are round, and grasses have knees that bend to the ground.’ The cattails have tri-angular leaves with edges and the bulrush is round, both having a solid core. Since cattails grow in swampy wet areas, wear boots to stay dry and long pants and long-sleeve shirts while gathering to keep from getting scratched during the gathering process. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. The Wicker Woman® is a Registered Trademark, All Rights Reserved © WickerWoman.com 1999-2020, https://pinterest.com/thewickerwoman/Pinterest, https://www.facebook.com/thewickerwoman/Facebook, https://www.linkedin.com/in/wickerwomanLinkedIn. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Take along a good, sharp pair of basket scissors (the red or white soft handle basketweaving ones are best), a sharp knife, or small machete and have a place to lay the leaves down flat for transport home. The three to 10-foot tall cattail plant stem grows up from below the surface of the water, producing a sturdy upright stem and slender leaves. You can grill, bake or boil the root until it’s tender. The Good Side of Cattail Plants From a naturalist’s point of view, cattail plants are a wonder of nature where every part of the plant can be used to benefit a variety of species, including humans. They typically grow in marshes, road ditches, ponds, swampy areas and even in neighboring yards and around fish ponds all across the United States. These cookies do not store any personal information. When the weather starts to cool off in the fall, you’ll want to spend more time indoors, in front of a roaring fire, perhaps reading a good book with a … Since the leaves of the stalk are inferior to the vegetative part, they are rarely used in seatweaving or basketry. When the cattail explodes to scatter its seeds, there is a mass of fluffy white “down” that blows around in the wind. Enjoy! It is, however, prized by florists that use them in floral arrangements. Finally, the ash from burned cattail leaves has an antiseptic and styptic (stops bleeding) quality. Bulrush is soft, pithy and round with no sharp edges. Yes. Turn the leaves up and with another strip weave under … Branches will take a month or longer to soak up the glycerin, but the finished product will keep indefinitely. For the untrained eye, cattail leaves and bulrush stalks or strands are hard to distinguish from each other when woven on chair seats. Other leaves, like yucca, will result in sturdier baskets, but if this is what you have, then why not use it? Place each cattail in a vase or tall glass to hold it upright. I left the leaf blades on cattail for that added natural look. Prepare and dry the cattail leaves at home. Then take a towel and wet it completely with hot water. Medicinal Uses. But I also like the larger ones for weaving baskets, coasters and placemats. Welcome! Depending on where you live in the country, gathering cattail leaves usually begins in late July, August or early September, just when they have grown to their greatest height and the tips of the leaves have begun to turn brown. They should be dry in about 2-3 weeks. I have used a flat laquer for years to preserve the cattails and the leaves. Grasp a cattail at the base of the plant, trying to wrap your fingers around the roots. You can opt-out if you wish. Leaves surround the center seed-pod stalk of the cattail and are not as strong, durable, or as hearty as the leaves from the vegetative only part of the cattail plant. Cattail leaves and stalks are ripe for harvest in late summer or fall. The Native Americans and early settlers used the cattail fluff as stuffing for pillows and sleeping mats. The brown, fluffy spike at the end of a long center stalk is what’s known as the “cattail” because it looks somewhat similar to the tail of a cat. Let's weave up some magic together! Preparation of Cattails for Weaving You will want to cut, dry, and resoak the leaves in order to make them into baskets. The “flower” is the well-known hot dog shaped part near the top of the stalk. Apr 5, 2012 - Cattails are possibly the most common wetland plant in North America, recognizable by their long, flat leaves and distinctive flowering stalk reaching 3 to 10 feet high. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Then it’s off to using your haul in weaving rush seats and baskets! Slowly pull the plant and the white root out of the soil and cast it onto the shore of the pond. To seal the cattails in diluted Elmer’s glue, dip or slowly spin each cattail in the container for a few seconds. Be sure to harvest some of the thinner leaves too, just in case you need to make a more narrow weaving strand. It’s very desirous to have 6-10 foot long rushes, which makes for fewer joins. Imported English, Portuguese, or Dutch bulrushes are preferred over their American bulrush counterpart for chair seat weaving because they grow taller than ours for the most part. The stalk of the cattail, which holds the furry spike that contains the flowers and pollen is not used for seatweaving. The points of the envelope meet in the center, forming a very large “X” design. The new spring shoots of the cattail plant can also be consumed and are considered a delicacy in some circles. Be sure to harvest before the first hard frost though, because the cold temperatures compromise the quality of the leaves. It is fairly easy for the inexperienced or novice weaver, but pales in comparison to the expertly crafted and woven “real thing,” and should not be used on museum-quality furniture or antique pieces if at all possible. To prepare a cattail root, clean it and trim away the smaller branching roots, leaving the large rhizome. Bulrush has small florets at the tips and the shafts or stalk has no leaves. Bulrush plants typically grow in slow-moving rivers and are not as prolific as the cattails. Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. The Pilgrims used the dry leaves as a floor covering to keep out the cold. The brown seed down of the cattail can be used to treat diaper rash or provide padding for a splint. The leaves can be used for salads, the stems can be boiled and the flowers can be roasted. Cattails are truly a survival plant in the truest sense of the word. Selecting the longest leaves (not the catkins, the puffy seed pods used in flower arrangements), makes for fewer “joins” during either weaving process. Spray your cattails evenly and allow to dry between coats. I have some vintage metal milk containers on my porch that I put my cattails in. Pros and Cons of Cattail The rhizomes and lower leaf portions of cattails are consumed by nutria, muskrats, and geese. The green leaves of cattail can be used to make shelter, Roofs made of these leaves are so strong that they can protect you from rain, wind or snow without losing any of their strength. There are two main and separate parts to the cattail plant; the stalk with its seed-bearing flowering “cattail” at the end of the stalk, and the vegetative part that’s made up of leaves alone. Cattails for the pond can be both a headache and a delight, but learning how to control cattails can tip the scales dramatically in your favor. By Keeper [58 Posts, 1,047 Comments] September 17, 2009 0 found this helpful. My van has an eight-foot interior box, so that works well for me. I cut them a little long to be able to have room to adjust the cattails to size once I choose the container I’d put them in. If you cannot harvest your own supply of either cattail leaves or bulrush, they are seasonally available for purchase from a couple of cane and basket supply companies listed on the Cane & Basket Weaving Supplies page on WickerWoman.com. Otherwise, if I’m gathering on my home property, I take a king-size bed sheet and lay the leaves diagonally in it and wrap well to pull home. Waxed tipped leaves – melt down wax and dip the leaves, hang to dry or place on baking paper. Cattails are easy to recognize with their long, slender, flat leaves with their puffy brown seed spike or “cattail” at the end of a center stalk.

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