Drink Magazine

Horsetail

By Alip @alisonpikeGD

Why is it you move away from one problem only to land yourself a new one!  In my last garden it was Bindweed now in this garden it is Horsetail.  I haven’t decided which is worse but I’m beginning to think this one is.

For all of my readers out there who are battling with this weed.  I thought I would tell you a little bit about it and what the methods are to get rid of it… perseverance is key!

Horsetail, sometimes known as Mare’s tail (Equisetum arvense) is a deep-rooted perennial weed that spreads quickly via underground rhizomes.  The main problem with trying to eradicate this weed is the fact that these rhizomes can go down into the soil by as much as 2 metres!  Above ground the green shoots look rather like a miniature fir trees and if left undisturbed can reach 60cm tall and form a dense carpet of foliage.

So what is the answer….

Organic

With rhizomes that can grow as deep as 2m underground it is pretty much impossible to dig this weed out, not helped by the fact that any small piece of rhizome left in the ground will shoot again.  Your best bet is to pull out the shoots as soon as you see them, eventually this will weaken the plants.  this method will take vigilance and perseverance as it may take several years.

Chemical

I am not a fan of using chemicals in my garden but I’m afraid I have taken to using Roundup on the horsetail.  As soon as I see a new shoot I pop my rubber gloves on, hold the shoot in my hand, spray and run it through my fingers so it gets into contact with every bit of it and nothing else. Also by running it through my fingers it helps to bruise the plant and results in better penetration by the Roundup. You can use any weedkill that contains glyphosate, this is a systemic herbicide which means it will be taken down into the roots of the plant and weaken it far more than just removing the shoots.

Horsetail

Here is one I zapped a couple of days ago, you can see it is already turning brown..Yay!  Good luck and I’ll let you know in a few years if I’ve managed to eradicate it, finger crossed it is not growing in my neighbours garden!


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