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Horsetails run wild!!!

How do I get rid of Horsetails...Had a new septic put in 6 years ago.  They brought in outside dirt...must have been infected with them...after designing and putting in plants and different shrubs, Mounded area level area my drain field is covered in beauty bark and different plants and shrubs, have been getting horsetails more and more over the last 4 years.  Pull them out, black plastic over a large area to kill them etc. Please help.  Live on the Long Beach peninsula, State of Washington, USA.  Please help.


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,732
    In short, you're stuck with it. 
  • AstroAstro Posts: 425
    It's a very common question on here and in gardening circles.

     The general consensus is it's difficult to complete eradicate , this owing to very deep roots , I've heard metres mentioned rather than cm. It can also grow from bits of broken roots so tilling it makes it worse.

    I've encountered a lot of it, I have found just hoeing and pulling them helps keep them down. I don't use weed killers and somewhat just accept them being there, they are easy to pull and don't take up much space.

  • Watch out for the fruiting bodies that appear in the spring and spread the powdery spores ... pull, bag and bin them before the spores spread. 

    This is the RHS advice

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • If you are willing to lose all growth in the area for now, then ammonium sulphamate is the best chemical to use. 5kg in 5 litres of soapy water using a pressure sprayer.

    You will need to repeat the application when it is in ‘growing phase’ as some shoots will still be below the surface, but it will work.

    Cannot plant in the area for 8 weeks after application, but this is best as a 2 year approach.  The ammonium sulphamate breaks down into ammonium sulphate, so becomes a fertilizer...
  • DinahDinah Posts: 294
    If you find - and I really hope not - that you can't get rid of them, try these. First, try growing things in big pots, either sunken or on top of paving etc. The horse tails will grow through the paving cracks, but it can look quite nice with the plant pots in between. If the pots are sunken, you can lift them out and empty them if a horse tail appears and re-plant.
    Secondly, they can be reduced in numbers by smothering areas with a thick layer of old carpet, weed fabric, or lots of layers of cardboard, followed by a thick layer of wood/bark chips. It will need to be there for two years - the longer the better, so think up temporary uses for the area.
    Lastly, try harvesting any stragglers that appear around the area, drying them partly in a cool, dark place. Scrunch them up into hand fullls, wearing gardening gloves, and use them for cleaning instead of plastic or metal scourers etc. You might even find that people want them from you as gifts if you bag them up, as an environmental cleaning alternative. It is their high silicon content that made then so popular for cleaning purposes before plastics came into being. Best of luck with the project what ever you try.

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