How to Get Rid of Field Horsetail

Written by marlene affeld
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Field horsetail, also known as mare's tail, is an aggressive noxious weed found in many parts of Europe, Canada and the United States. Horsetail weed is found in ditches, along side stream beds, and can be seen invading pastures and alpine meadows.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Shovel
  • Lawn Mower
  • Herbicide
  • Vinegar
  • Rake
  • Mulch
  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard

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    Rid Your Lawn and Garden of Horsetail Weed

  1. 1

    Horsetail spreads rapidly by root stocks and frequently invades cropland from infested stream banks and waterways. In small areas, digging up the entire plant will eradicate the plant. Be sure to remove all roots. The plant will grow back if any portion of the root remains. Repeated removal may be required to completely eliminate Horsetail.

  2. 2

    Spray larger areas with an eco-friendly herbicide. Horsetail or mare's tail weed is hardy and tough. The thick, waxy leaves are resistant to absorbing herbicides. Prior to treatment, mow, crush, bend or break the leaves to allow penetration of spray material.

  3. 3

    In small areas, saturating the crushed or broken plant with a concentrate spray of household vinegar will kill new growth.

  4. 4

    Larger areas are best treated with layers of sheet mulching. First mow or cut back the noxious weed and spray with a high nitrogen spray. Cover the area with layers of newspaper or cardboard, then with equal parts of weed-free top soil, organic compost and leaf mulch. Mulching will kill off the Horsetail and enrich the soil. Add a new layer of sheet mulch each season to eliminate any resistant plants that persist.

  5. 5

    Horsetail flourishes in nutrient poor soil. Enriching the soil repeatedly with organic fertiliser will, over time, halt the spread and growth of Horsetail weed.

Tips and warnings

  • Remove spore pods in the spring. A single pod can put out over a million spores. These will grow into Horsetail.

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