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horse-tail - how do you kill it?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
54 replies 135.7K views
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  • EphemeraEphemera Forumite
    1.6K posts
    Eat it!

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

    See https://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.



  • SeakaySeakay Forumite
    4.2K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker Xmas Saver!
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    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_2mech_2 Forumite
    620 posts
    Jnelhams wrote: »
    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.

    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.

  • JWFJWF Forumite
    363 posts
    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!
  • SomersetSomerset Forumite
    3.6K posts
    JWF wrote: »
    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.

    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.
  • JWFJWF Forumite
    363 posts
    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!
  • SomersetSomerset Forumite
    3.6K posts
    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.
  • kandyflosskandyfloss Forumite
    166 posts
    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...
  • hotcookie101hotcookie101 Forumite
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    I have given up all hope of getting rid of this :( It is EVERYWHERE in the neighbourhood, so I round up it sometimes but generally just pull it out when i see it. especially in the spring when the plain spikes come up(did someone say that was the female?)
    Have had good results with concentrated round up and a garden sprayer to get rid of the HUGE amount that likes to grow under the decking..
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