Forum home Problem solving

Help Identifying Lawn Invader!

Hi, I have recently moved house & have my first garden! There seems to be some kind of Mushroom?? growing throughout the lawn. Can somebody please help me to identify what it is & if possible how to treat it? Also, does anybody know if this is toxic or not, before I release the kids & pets to play? As a total gardening novice, any help or advice would be gratefully received. Many thanks, Emma.



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,980

    It's the 'fruiting body' of Marestail also known as Horsetail - a real nuisance in flower beds etc, but you can just keep mowing it in a lawn.  It's not dangerous to the children or pets. 

    See this post 

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

  • Rowan78Rowan78 Posts: 3
    Phew, that's a relief!

    I'd like to get rid of it ideally as its quite unsightly, how can I do this?

    Thank you for your help.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,980

    At that stage you can just pull them up - they usually come up quite easily.  Then regular (weekly) mowing will keep it under control in your lawn.  However, you'll need to take more rigorous steps if and when it invades your borders.  

    Bruising the fresh growth and application of a glyphosate weedkiller according to pack instructions is the best way I know but you'll need to keep repeating this.  It really is a b..... to get rid of and you have to keep on top of it or it'll spread like wildfire. image

    Good luck and please don't hesitate to ask more questions image

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

  • Autumn dhAutumn dh Posts: 51

    We have this all over our lawn and garden. I've dug out the lawn as it was full of moss and horsetails. I guess this indicates how poor the soil is. The roots go far deeper than any herbicide will be able to reach. Glyphosate won't work. There are other threads on here where people have said they have used it to no avail.  Glyphosate actually encourages field horsetail by eliminating competing plants. Horsetails (and they are called horsetails, not marestails...which are a different plant that grows in water) love poor drainage, low oxygen, and acidic soil.

    You need to improve your soil by applying lime. After AT LEAST two weeks, apply horse manure. Then some nice compost. I've tried killing them with industrial grade vinegar (20%) but, like anything applied to them, it will only kill the tops and do nothing for the roots (which can go as far down as 7 meters...or over to Japan). Also, it acidifies the soil.

    Covering any parts of your garden with membrane or plastic will just make the roots really happy without the oxygen and horsetails will pop out everywhere along the sides. Don't do it. That's what the previous owner did here. You lift up the sheet of plastic and it is nothing but horsetail roots under there. They don't like shade so you can crowd some of them out with taller plants.

    From March to May you must be very vigilant and pull out any female (the one in the photo is a female) horsetails as soon as possible as they spread thousands of spores everywhere. If you can, pick them up in a plastic baggie to contain the spores and landfill those suckers. Do not till as it will make things worse. Every bit of root will regenerate into a new plant.

    We need to realise that they may never, ever fully go away. They take a lot of silicone from your soil so you can compost them after drying them out in order the replace the silicone. Try to improve your drainage by sloping the land away from your property and adding some ditches for the water to flow down. Some simply say it is best to pull out what you can and then just deal with them.

    The roots go so far down that they don't compete too much with plants for nutrients (allegedly) and the best thing to do is encourage them to move along by improving the soil. Very hard to do if your neighbour has them.


  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800

    I was just about to say I bet Autumn has replied........oh I must be psychic!!!!

    I have this on my veg patch, although nowhere near as bad as it used to be and have also posted a thread a couple of days ago.  I just keep pulling it up now as best I can, just to keep on top of it.  It is a pain in the rear but keep on top of it and it's drama needed really image

    Agree with Mike, if you are new to the forum you won't know many of us but Dove is always great with advice image

  • Autumn dhAutumn dh Posts: 51

    Orchid Lady, have you visited the "Code of Conduct?"

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,359

    Orchid Lady, remember not to get wound upimage

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800


  • Autumn dhAutumn dh Posts: 51

    You do know I can see your posts on "Hello Forkers" right?

  • I've just found this horsetail in my front border, and it forced its way through the weed suppressant and bark chips I covered the ground with. There are also lots of smaller beige-y coloured mushrooms nearby, and when I lifted the membrane there were lots more underneath. The mole has tried to come up here, as there were mounds of soil in places, but it didn't manage to break through the membrane.

    This front border is shady, and so far I haven't found any horsetail in the left border, which also has the membrane and bark chips and is sunnier.

    The right border I can now plant up, also a sunny one, and I was going to just put bark chips on that, but the mole is now coming through that side, (as well as the lawn), so I was going to put membrane and bark chips there, to try and stop him breaking through that border.

    Should I put membrane on the right side and remove it from the front, and just have bark chips on the front?

    Any advice gratefully received.
Sign In or Register to comment.