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Horsetail newbie

Moved to my house in August and set about cutting back the 1m+ weeds in the "garden". We have about 1 acre of unkept ground that we wanted to cultivate and another 0.5 acre that is reasonable. I suspect that cutting everything back in August has exacerbated the issue but we currently have about 0.5 acres covered and I mean litterally covered in the asparagus-like female stalks of horsetail.

I understand we can repeatedly mow the sterile stalks when they come but I have never dealt seen or dealth with these early asparagus-like things before. I know we cant dig it out and turning the soil over will make it worse.

I have read that we need to get rid of these stalks before they spore - they are all still relatively young shoots - but what I want to know is do we need to pull these out by hand or can we run a mower over them or I should say, the massive brush-cutter we have for land clearance? Will this work to stop the spores? Do we need to rake up the residue if we cut? Will cutting make it worse?

Any other suggestions welcome.

Please DONT suggest glycophosphate as we like near a river, surrounded by grazing sheep, have 5 dogs and also have our own private water suppy from a well on our land so (even if I agreed with its use) I would never use such a strength of weedkiller.

Thanks in advance

Posts

  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,900
    What do you plan to put there once you've reduced the horsetail?  

    As for now, just keep it mowed down constantly.  If you have a bagger attachment, bag it up and dispose of it appropriately.  I throw mine in the general trash.. but it depends on how much you have and what will work best for you.  

    Do a bit of research on soil solarization.. which might or might not work for your situation.  It will kill off a whole lot more than just horsetail, including beneficial things, so do research before giving it a try.  
    Utah, USA.
  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923
    luckily horsetail is immune to glyphosate, its covered in a wax so it just runs off the leaves, so its use would be pointless

    best bet is either cutting it regularly - basically have massive lawn for two or three years, or cover it with black plastic and gravel for the same amount of time, lawn tends to look better, but with size you've got you'll need a ride on mower,

    however if you can fence off an area and borrow some young pigs they'd do some clearance work for you (as well as manuring it nicely) and you might be able to get some pork out of it in the end.
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 6,424
    Actually glyphosate can be effective against horsetail, to a degree at least, if you trample the area first to bruise the stems.  It wouldn't be effective for the area lifibeagles needs to attack.  When I used the method it got rid of horsetails for a couple of years.  The stems turned black within a week or so.
    Previous suggestions have included adding lime to the soil.
  • luckily horsetail is immune to glyphosate, its covered in a wax so it just runs off the leaves, so its use would be pointless

    best bet is either cutting it regularly - basically have massive lawn for two or three years, or cover it with black plastic and gravel for the same amount of time, lawn tends to look better, but with size you've got you'll need a ride on mower,

    however if you can fence off an area and borrow some young pigs they'd do some clearance work for you (as well as manuring it nicely) and you might be able to get some pork out of it in the end.
    Funnily enough we were just talking about fencing it off and getting some porkers! We have a massive self propelled brush cutter with a 42" lanwmoving attachment so it only takes about 45 minutes to cut the area but a couple of porkers would be much more fun :D
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,605

    Funnily enough we were just talking about fencing it off and getting some porkers! We have a massive self propelled brush cutter with a 42" lanwmoving attachment so it only takes about 45 minutes to cut the area but a couple of porkers would be much more fun :D
    and much tastier when they'd finished.
    Devon.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,403
    But to answer your first question, what you have at the moment is the odd looking fruiting bodies ... I would pull them up and bag and bin them ... before they release their spores and you have even more horsetail growing on your patch.  

    Like the idea of the pigs (farmer's daughter speaking  :D).
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • But to answer your first question, what you have at the moment is the odd looking fruiting bodies ... I would pull them up and bag and bin them ... before they release their spores and you have even more horsetail growing on your patch.  

    Like the idea of the pigs (farmer's daughter speaking  :D).
    So you cant cut them? We have hundreds of them, if not a few thousand...I dont htink we could spread it within that area as there is one every few inches over the 0.5 acres...Im not sure there are enough hours in the year to pull them up...

  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,900
    Mowing them now is better than leaving them to grow.. even if it does spread spore a bit as you go over them.  Evidently they prefer dampish lifeless soil, so the pigs rooting around and fertilizing the soil will both add air and worms to the ground.  

    Or you could just make it a cash crop and sell it as a herbal remedy.
    Natures WayHorsetail Grass
    No joke.  
    Utah, USA.
  • Now there's a cottage industry in the making :D:D:D
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,403
    edited April 2018
    Yes just get rid of them somehow.  :/
    Good luck  :)

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







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