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  • FIRST POST
    • Somerset
    • By Somerset 24th Jun 08, 10:26 AM
    • 3,566Posts
    • 2,863Thanks
    Somerset
    horse-tail - how do you kill it?
    • #1
    • 24th Jun 08, 10:26 AM
    horse-tail - how do you kill it? 24th Jun 08 at 10:26 AM
    We've got a plague of horse-tail which is spreading everywhere. I've tried tumbleweed and roundup, both at their max level, you know 10ml easy weeds 40ml bramble etc so I went 40ml or max. Didn't touch it.

    Someone told me say triple the weedkiller, if you do it strong enough it will kill anything. Someone else said use diesel. Neither option sounds great, not particularly nice to environment or moneysaving.

    Has anyone else got horse-tail, successfully killed it and what did you use ?
Page 1
    • smellymel74
    • By smellymel74 24th Jun 08, 10:54 AM
    • 53 Posts
    • 35 Thanks
    smellymel74
    • #2
    • 24th Jun 08, 10:54 AM
    • #2
    • 24th Jun 08, 10:54 AM
    i have the same problem where i live. if it's endemic in the area there's little you can do to get rid of it unfortunately.

    if you want to try weedkiller, it's important to score/scratch the outside of the horsetail before you apply - they have a waxy surface so the weedkiller can't penetrate unless you do this.

    i also find it helpful to pull up the female horsetail in spring as they appear. they're more spindly and don't have the long side shoots that the male horsetail has and they set off spores so if you can pull them up at least your plague shouldn't get any worse!

    i've heard you can try digging a 2 foot trench along beds and inserting plastic as it can stop horsetail from spreading underground, though i've never tried this.

    unfortunately, if you've got horsetail elsewhere in your neighbourhood, little of this advice will help - it'll simply keep coming back. this is how it is where i live so i've learnt to live with it and just pull up the little beggers as they appear. it's a weekly chore but if i didn't, they'd totally take over!

    good luck and let me know if you find any definative way of eradicating it - i'd love to have a try myself!
    • Larumbelle
    • By Larumbelle 24th Jun 08, 11:36 AM
    • 2,108 Posts
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    Larumbelle
    • #3
    • 24th Jun 08, 11:36 AM
    • #3
    • 24th Jun 08, 11:36 AM
    In the Organic Way magazine someone claims to have eradicated it by planting parsnips where the horsetail is. Apparently they kill horsetail roots :confused: Never tried it myself, though.

    I have severely limited the amount of horsetail by using the good old dig up the roots as much as you can method. But I don't want to eradicate it entirely from my garden, though, as I use it to make fungicide that can help prevent blight, botritis, mildew and rust. My mantra is "it's only a weed if you don't want it there" so as long as it has some potential purpose I don't worry too much about getting rid completely


    • loyalstokie
    • By loyalstokie 24th Jun 08, 5:46 PM
    • 37 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    loyalstokie
    • #4
    • 24th Jun 08, 5:46 PM
    • #4
    • 24th Jun 08, 5:46 PM
    In the Organic Way magazine someone claims to have eradicated it by planting parsnips where the horsetail is.
    Originally posted by silvercharming
    Is the article available online?
  • Twaddell
    • #5
    • 24th Jun 08, 5:50 PM
    • #5
    • 24th Jun 08, 5:50 PM
    The usual advice is to wear thick gloves and "scrunch" it up then rub Roundup or similar into it. It usually gives up after the third treatment.
    • Larumbelle
    • By Larumbelle 24th Jun 08, 6:05 PM
    • 2,108 Posts
    • 10,578 Thanks
    Larumbelle
    • #6
    • 24th Jun 08, 6:05 PM
    • #6
    • 24th Jun 08, 6:05 PM
    Is the article available online?
    Originally posted by loyalstokie
    It's not, I don't think, it's HDRA members only... *scuttles off*

    Okay, found it, I misremembered the details. It wasn't an actual article, it was a letter in the Spring 2008 issue by one Nigel Robinson of Bedfordshire HDRA. and it's turnips not parsnips!!!!
    Obviously I can't repeat it here verbatim, but the gist is that thickly sown turnips planted successively in the bed (regardless of season) three times ridded the bed of horsetail but that it did come back eventually. He also states that horsetail rhizomes can survive dormant for over 100 years!!!!

    Another guy whose letter also appeared had experimented with means of eradication, and this is pretty interesting:

    He treated three beds; one by hoeing then double-digging, one by hoeing then planting with perennial ryegrass which was then regularly mowed, and one by hoeing then mulching with straw and pig manure.
    The double digging made the problem much, much worse.
    The grass and mowing technique eradicated the horsetail within one season
    The manure and straw technique eradicated the horsetail substantially after one season, entirely after two.
    The two beds that were successfully treated were then rotovated and brought back into general use with no recurrance of horsetail.

    Mods, if you think this is too close to the wind copyright-wise, do what you need to do.


    • davethetaller
    • By davethetaller 24th Jun 08, 7:21 PM
    • 388 Posts
    • 136 Thanks
    davethetaller
    • #7
    • 24th Jun 08, 7:21 PM
    • #7
    • 24th Jun 08, 7:21 PM
    It's not, I don't think, it's HDRA members only... *scuttles off*

    Okay, found it, I misremembered the details. It wasn't an actual article, it was a letter in the Spring 2008 issue by one Nigel Robinson of Bedfordshire HDRA. and it's turnips not parsnips!!!!
    Obviously I can't repeat it here verbatim, but the gist is that thickly sown turnips planted successively in the bed (regardless of season) three times ridded the bed of horsetail but that it did come back eventually. He also states that horsetail rhizomes can survive dormant for over 100 years!!!!

    Another guy whose letter also appeared had experimented with means of eradication, and this is pretty interesting:

    He treated three beds; one by hoeing then double-digging, one by hoeing then planting with perennial ryegrass which was then regularly mowed, and one by hoeing then mulching with straw and pig manure.
    The double digging made the problem much, much worse.
    The grass and mowing technique eradicated the horsetail within one season
    The manure and straw technique eradicated the horsetail substantially after one season, entirely after two.
    The two beds that were successfully treated were then rotovated and brought back into general use with no recurrance of horsetail.

    Mods, if you think this is too close to the wind copyright-wise, do what you need to do.
    Originally posted by silvercharming

    Sounds like the old connundrum "what do horsetail and slugs have in common?

    Answer...you cant get rid of either!

    But of course you knew that.
    • Somerset
    • By Somerset 24th Jun 08, 10:30 PM
    • 3,566 Posts
    • 2,863 Thanks
    Somerset
    • #8
    • 24th Jun 08, 10:30 PM
    • #8
    • 24th Jun 08, 10:30 PM
    Thanks for the replies.

    I'll try the scrunching & roundup this time. We're got a mess of it on a big stretch of gravel drive. It's spread from there to the lawn, which at least gets mowed so though it's there you can't see it. It's also travelled to inside the greenhouse. Over the last two years, I've pulled it up - but it takes time and it's spreading/getting worse. There must be something I can spray on eg gravel stretches ??? mustn't there ??
  • Joolzr68
    • #9
    • 25th Jun 08, 11:44 AM
    • #9
    • 25th Jun 08, 11:44 AM
    Good luck, your gonna need it!

    Our garden has the darn stuff all over it and like the other posters I've tried all sorts to get rid of it , with no luck what so ever.

    I too have learned to live with it.

    The ones that come up between our patio paving slabs we pour boiling water from the kettle over them and that kills them for a while, but they always come back.

    You can certainly see how they have survived since the age of the dinosuaurs.

    I'm definately going to try the turnips though!
    A penny saved is a penny earned
    - Benjamin Franklin
    • Jnelhams
    • By Jnelhams 28th Jun 08, 9:16 PM
    • 1,345 Posts
    • 868 Thanks
    Jnelhams
    Remember if you dispose of it, you must burn it. If you put the plant in recycling or skips for landfill you are liable to be prosecuted as it is a Noxious Weed as listed by the Minisitry of Agriculture.
    My Mind wanders, if found please return.
  • A_Clock
    In one of my RHS books its says a good way is to lawn the area for a couple of years and mow regularly (sp). Same as anything really, chop the tops off as it comes up and it starves the root
  • Ephemera
    If you can't beat it...
    Eat it!

    Some varieties of horsetail are edible and are also useful in other ways.

    See www.pfaf.org for more details, or more specifically, here: http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Equisetum+arvense but in brief -

    Some varieties can be eaten like asparagus
    The roots are edible
    You can use the mature plants as an eco-friendly scourer for pots and pans
    They make an excellent plant food steeped in water for a few weeks

    So all in all a useful if invasive plant!
    If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got.



    • Seakay
    • By Seakay 28th Jun 08, 10:46 PM
    • 4,154 Posts
    • 9,991 Thanks
    Seakay
    With the scrunching and rubbing on glyphosate method - Bob Flowerdew advises wearing rubber gloves with (old and unwanted) woolly gloves on top. You soak the gloves in weedkiller and it's easier to rub it onto the crushed horsetail.
  • mech
    Remember if you dispose of it, you must burn it. If you put the plant in recycling or skips for landfill you are liable to be prosecuted as it is a Noxious Weed as listed by the Minisitry of Agriculture.
    Originally posted by Jnelhams
    Can you provide a reference? The only mention I could find applied to Australia where it's non-native. I couldn't find anything that applies to the UK. I've put lots of it on my compost heap (both foliage and roots) without any problems.

    I had horsetail in my garden when I moved in 9 years ago. It was everywhere, the garden had been abandoned for years. I just went over the lot with a mower a couple of times the first year and just kept removing any foliage I could see for the next 3 summers. It's pretty much all gone now. I don't bother pulling it up any more as the last few bits don't seem to be a threat. If I remove paving slabs which it used to grow between as thickly as a yardbrush all I now find are dead, disintegrating roots. It needs lots of light. It can't survive if you keep removing any green parts that come up.

    I found all of the following harder to eradicate: ragwort, dandelions, willowherb (several types), creeping buttercup, but the biggest nightmare is bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) which refuses to die. I stillI have examples of all of the above in my garden, but horsetail is the only one I have stopped attacking.
    • JWF
    • By JWF 29th Jun 08, 8:55 AM
    • 346 Posts
    • 443 Thanks
    JWF
    For the horsetail on your drive I would try sodium chlorate. This should prevent anything growing back for a number of years and it is pretty cheap too.

    Do follow the instructions regarding application and be very careful not to transfer it to other areas on your clothing/shoes etc, as it is pretty powerful as a weedkiller.

    Sodium chlorate will not be any good for your lawn though, so you'll need to use some of the other recommendations in the posts above.
    All I seem to hear is blah blah blah!
    • Somerset
    • By Somerset 1st Jul 08, 12:17 AM
    • 3,566 Posts
    • 2,863 Thanks
    Somerset
    For the horsetail on your drive I would try sodium chlorate. This should prevent anything growing back for a number of years and it is pretty cheap too.

    Do follow the instructions regarding application and be very careful not to transfer it to other areas on your clothing/shoes etc, as it is pretty powerful as a weedkiller.

    Sodium chlorate will not be any good for your lawn though, so you'll need to use some of the other recommendations in the posts above.
    Originally posted by JWF
    Great !!! What type of place would sell sodium chlorate e.g. B&Q, Homebase ? or hardware stores ? Is it sold under that name or is it an ingredient in a 'named' product ?. Basically where do I go to and say ''I want to buy some sodium chlorate ?''. Many thanks.
    • JWF
    • By JWF 1st Jul 08, 6:55 AM
    • 346 Posts
    • 443 Thanks
    JWF
    I think that the big stores probably sell it, though possibly you'd have to ask for it.

    Garden centres should sell it, and yes, if you just ask for Sodium Chlorate weedkiller they will know what you're on about, it doesn't have a fancy tradename.
    All I seem to hear is blah blah blah!
    • Larumbelle
    • By Larumbelle 1st Jul 08, 10:07 AM
    • 2,108 Posts
    • 10,578 Thanks
    Larumbelle
    Wilkinsons sell it cheaply, it might even go into their sale soon

    http://www.wilkinsonplus.com/bin/venda?ex=co_wizr-locayta&template=wz_locayta&pageno=1&perpage=10&co llate=pdxttype%3Apdxtcolourn%3Apdxtbrandn%3Apdxtsi zen&fieldrtype=type&termtextrtype=invt&typertype=e xact&typekeywordsearch=keyword&termtextkeywordsear ch=sodium+chlorate


    • Somerset
    • By Somerset 1st Jul 08, 4:08 PM
    • 3,566 Posts
    • 2,863 Thanks
    Somerset
    Well I've bought a tub of it at B&Q for £9.99. I've mixed it very strong - label said 850 to 5-10 litres of water depending on strength required, I've gone 1000 to 4 litres !! I've now sprayed the gravel - we'll see. Label said will take up to 10 days to see results. I'll let you all know if its worked or not.

    P.S. I've cleaned sprayer, shoes, me etc afterwards as it sounded lethal.
  • kandyfloss
    What a shame I hadn't read this post earlier because I read somewhere years ago that if you use Sodium Chlorate as a weedkiller,you have to be careful where it is sprayed because it can seep across the soil and will kill off any plant material that it comes into contact with.

    The information said that nothing can be grown in the soil for at least six months afterwards such is the potency of the stuff.

    I hope I am wrong as the information I read was when we first got our allotment plots 28 years ago.

    Horsetail roots can go down to a great depth over 40ft in some places and it is murder to erradicate.One of the old boys on our allotments had it all over his land so he grass seeded it and when it was long enough he put a load of lambs on the land.Within a few years of then nibbling the horsetail had all gone.

    Good Luck and I do hope that you suceed in eradicating it...
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