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Advice needed dreaded horsetail weed.

(24 Posts)
Sally97 Mon 05-Jun-23 08:01:52

Hi everyone, just moved house and have this dreaded weed.
Has anyone had any success in dealing with it.

TillyTrotter Mon 05-Jun-23 08:07:46

Sorry to say we have not been able to eradicate it after 15 years in this house Sally .
By pulling them out as far down the root as I can get hold of,
I have been able to reduce the number of the blighters.
I guess I must have got the whole root out of some (but they spread underground if left).

Grammaretto Mon 05-Jun-23 08:22:37

Can you learn to admire it?
It is an ancient pre-plant which has survived for millennia and will survive the human race.
In the meantime, if you dislike it pull it up remembering you are larger and it has no weapon to fight back not even thorns.

Jaxjacky Mon 05-Jun-23 08:24:35

I did eradicate it after about three years on my old allotment, but had to be vigilant. I used SBK brushwood killer painted on the new shoots, repeatedly, it’s time consuming and repetitive, but worked.

Redhead56 Mon 05-Jun-23 08:28:09

I have tried every gardening trick in the book but cannot get rid of it. Everyday I pick at new shoots on my raised veg patch I too have had to learn to live with it.

BlueBelle Mon 05-Jun-23 08:44:56

I think there are some things you do have to learn to live with My bane is bindweed which I thought was awful although the flowers are very pretty but I recently read up on it and it seems to have some brilliant properties and because the roots are so long they break up the soil but I still try to irradiate most but I wouldn’t use any commercial killers just pull them up
I m also overrun with hawks weed again a pretty flower but so prolific

25Avalon Mon 05-Jun-23 10:05:54

It’s an awful pest. It puts down very deep roots (up to 7ft) so is difficult to eradicate. All you can do is just keep cutting it back whenever and wherever it appears and eventually you may, just may, get rid of it. Be careful about trying to dig it up as any bits of root not picked up will grow. You can try a strong weed killer but even that may take several applications and several years.

Esmay Mon 05-Jun-23 10:44:55

Horsetail has replaced wild garlic and is the number one nuisance weed in the garden .

This has crept under the fence from the untended wilderness next door .

They've been on the earth for about 350 millions years .
Horsetail has a medicinal use .Holland and Barrett sell it as a tea , but if you have cardiac problems or are on diuretics Horsetail is not advised .

I only know that it brushes against my skin it burns and itches .

If I can't dig them up cleanly - I cut them off at ground level to prevent spread though their roots are highly invasive .

There was no sign of them two years ago .

Ideally , I dig deep to clear them .
I did so last summer and they are back again .

I've been slowly replanting a huge bed , which is too back breaking to weed .
I'm replacing the perennials except on the easily weedable edge with hardy shrubs and lots of pebbles .

I think that I'll have to cut sections of black plastic and weigh them down on sections of the bed .

If it fails , I'm wondering whether to take the bed out completely .

If you haven't planted anything yet you could use weedkillers and cover vast sections of your garden with thick black plastic and think about a replanting next year .
But if you have a lazy neighbour like mine weeds will creep under the fence again .
Good luck .

Sally97 Mon 05-Jun-23 13:36:47

Thank you for all your replies. Sounds like Ive not got much chance of getting rid of the stuff.
I dont like the look of it so while Im still fit enough will just try to deal with it each year.
Love my new home but the garden isnt going to be as easy manage as Id hoped [

3dognight Mon 05-Jun-23 13:47:34

It was all over my allotment like a forest fifteen years ago when I took it on, it’s still there now but much reduced in number. However much a nuisance it is it doesn’t crowd out my crops, nor shade them. So I’ve stopped worrying about it.

As others have said above it’s millions of years old, and goes very very deep.

pinkquartz Mon 05-Jun-23 13:55:09

It may not help to know that horsetail, Equisetum arvense, is a helpful herb.
Good for inflammation and oedema.
sorry i have just let it bein my garden. There isn't a great deal of it and I think it has not invaded further into the garden and seems to be held back by other plantings.

bikergran Mon 05-Jun-23 18:11:12

A big problem on my dads allotment, too big to tackle.

I also have some down a side path to my house, about a month ago I was putting some white vinegar on some dandelions and thought I would try it on the horse/mares tail.

Next time I looked it had all gone brown and as yet has not grown back.

BlueBelle Mon 05-Jun-23 18:17:07

I believe you can smother it by putting a tarpaulin or plastic sheet over it for a period of time (not sure how long have you googled it ;

Patsy70 Mon 05-Jun-23 18:53:27

I’m not familiar with this weed, but do have bindweed and ground elder to contend with. I’ve put cardboard over the elder to eliminate the light, and covered with mulch. I snip the bindweed when it pops up, then smother it with mulch. It’s a never ending dilemma! Good luck! 😊

Katie59 Mon 05-Jun-23 19:45:39

The RHS recommend glyphosate in late summer repeated applications will kill the roots as well, selected applications in flowerbeds beds also kills bindweed.
I’ve no idea why so many don’t like glyphosate, it’s been in use for 60 yrs and never been proved to harm anyone

swampy1961 Mon 05-Jun-23 19:54:31


The RHS recommend glyphosate in late summer repeated applications will kill the roots as well, selected applications in flowerbeds beds also kills bindweed.
I’ve no idea why so many don’t like glyphosate, it’s been in use for 60 yrs and never been proved to harm anyone

We have used this too. It's not killed the horsetail off totally but over the years there is less and less to pull up. But it needs pulling as soon as we spot it.

Grammaretto Mon 05-Jun-23 20:10:40

Why would you want to add poison to your soil to remove a plant which produces oxygen?
Pull it out if you dislike it but don't use herbicides.

Saxifrage Mon 05-Jun-23 20:15:54

We fought it for a few years but then it just gradually disappeared, no idea why!!

Sally97 Tue 06-Jun-23 19:46:47

Thanks everyone for the advice.
Sounds like Im going to br kept busy fot the next few years. smile

midgey Tue 06-Jun-23 19:53:37

My garden is full of the beastly stuff. It’s a massive garden and a previous tenant put down plastic and covered a large area with gravel. I had a look under the plastic and the blooming stuff is still there! According to my neighbour the plastic has been down about fifteen years!

Nanatoone Tue 06-Jun-23 19:55:47

My poor mum in law had it everywhere in her garden, it was a nightmare but had to be lived with. We had it down a side path but constant vigilance seems to have got rid of it. I haven’t seen any in years but keep my eye out for it.

bikergran Fri 16-Jun-23 22:18:35

The trouble with this horsetail/mares tail if, you look closely at it, there are 100s of tiny segments on the bristles, once you break it off/up that segment will produce another plant, we made BIG mistake when my dh had an allotment we rotovated it all, not knowing that it would chop up all the tail into tiny pieces and root. We never ever got rid of it, it just multiplied. If you can manage to get the root out without disturbing any oof the tiny segments you may! stand a chance.

TillyTrotter Sat 17-Jun-23 06:02:17

Exactly right bikergran and we have it coming between flagstones so I just cut the single ‘tail’ as low as possible so as not to start it off multiplying.

NanTheWiser Sat 17-Jun-23 21:57:53

I’ve been in my house for 30 years, and horsetail has been a constant problem, it’s pretty much everywhere. I pull as much as I can, but there are areas I can’t get at, so it is always present. And while garden plants suffer in drought conditions, the horsetail huts keeps on growing!