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horse-tail - how do you kill it?

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horse-tail - how do you kill it?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
54 replies 133.9K views
SomersetSomerset Forumite
3.6K posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
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 ?
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Replies

  • 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!
  • LarumbelleLarumbelle Forumite
    2.1K posts
    ✭✭✭✭
    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 :rotfl:


  • In the Organic Way magazine someone claims to have eradicated it by planting parsnips where the horsetail is.

    Is the article available online?
  • TwaddellTwaddell Forumite
    5 posts
    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.
  • LarumbelleLarumbelle Forumite
    2.1K posts
    ✭✭✭✭
    Is the article available online?

    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!!!! :o
    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.


  • 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!!!! :o
    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.


    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.
  • SomersetSomerset Forumite
    3.6K posts
    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 ??
  • Joolzr68Joolzr68 Forumite
    101 posts
    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
  • JnelhamsJnelhams Forumite
    1.4K posts
    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_ClockA_Clock Forumite
    317 posts
    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
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