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horse-tail - how do you kill it?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
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  • ihardingiharding Forumite
    66 posts
    Eighth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Seeing as this thread has come back to life after a long sleep...

    The site I used to have an allotment on was full of marestail, but most people found that regular hoeing kept it under control.

    Interesting to hear about the effect of growing turnips though. One year I planted a dense patch of agricultural mustard green manure (a brassica, like turnips). No marestail grew in that patch for a couple of years afterwards, and then returned only sparsely, even though adjoining areas had plenty.
  • It is rife in our neighbourhood, I always thought pull it out when I see it, as least it keeps it out of sight.

    I will definitely give the turnips a go, might be nice extra veggies to boot.

    I know this thread has been dozing for a while but somewhere some said that horsetail made a good plant feed.........could some one please advise what to do and what /when to use it as a plant food
    many thanks
  • Somerset - how did you get on with tackling the horsetail, I am at war with it in my garden at the moment.
  • evilgooseevilgoose Forumite
    532 posts
    I have terrible trouble with it in the garden.

    Here's a couple of things I've found with it - hopefully it will be of use to others!

    I've not found any weedkiller that kills it (even after bruising the stems) + I dont really want to use weedkiller.

    This time of year the 'flower heads' start to appear, dig or pull them up and put in bin. If you miss any, and they grow through, cup your hand over them and gently pull them off. You'll see your hand covered in the green spores. Again bin it, and give your hands a wash.

    Regularly cut the lawns where it is growing through the grass.

    Veg beds, dig thoroughly - with a garden fork, NOT spade. Remove the roots and throw in bin, not compost.

    Flower beds - dig out where possible. Pull the plant regularly, where digging not possible. (I think the green parts can be composted, but as I'm not sure, I leave on the path for several days to make sure it's good and dead before putting it in the compost)

    I've certainly not defeated it, and with it in both next doors gardens, I doubt I will. But I've certainly reduced it quite drastically. Its taken a few years. but i'm getting there!
  • sassybluesassyblue Forumite
    3.7K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    We used to have a fair bit of it, all l've been doing is constantly pulling it out when weeding and it does seem to be getting better....

    Happy moneysaving all.
  • fworfwor Forumite
    6.6K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    As I've said before, my Gran's advice on marestail was "never let it see the light of day", and it works.

    It's labour-intensive to start with, but all you need to do is to find each shoot, press down as far as you can below ground level, grip the shoot and pull it. It will come out with a length of (usually black) root attached.

    The remaining underground root now needs to grow much further to reach light before it can get sustenance to continue growing.

    If you do this every few days you ~will~ kill it - no chemicals required.
  • jicmsjicms Forumite
    421 posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Any updates on eradicating horse (or is it mares) tail?

    My block patio is being taken over. Will be able to mow it soon!! It's next to a pond so spraying weedklller's not an option.

    It's the only good thing about winter is that it dies off!
  • noimadnoimad Forumite
    9 posts
    Interesting article on organic control of Horsetail on PushingUpDandelions (can't post link as I'm a newbie but search for 'PushingUpDandelions Horsetail') - sounds involved but argues that weedkillers only kill off top growth, not the immensely deep roots.
    Creator of the free Allotmentor vegetable garden/allotment plot planner
  • noimadnoimad Forumite
    9 posts
    That same article suggests that eating a lot of this can be toxic so, as with so many 'wild' foods (was just hearing about someone who had eaten hemlock by mistake, thinking it was wild parsnip, last week), take care.
    Ephemera wrote: »
    Eat it!

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


    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!
    Creator of the free Allotmentor vegetable garden/allotment plot planner
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