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horsetail weed

Scottish Waterways Trust has created a sensory garden in Auchinstarrey Marina next to the town of Kilsyth. The garden creation was funded and the work carried out by volunteers assisted by excellent gardeners who gave up their working time to assist. The planting areas are maintained by volunteers from the local areas and 16 to 24 year olds who are working on getting into the work environment and facilitated by Scottish Waterways Trust. The planting areas have now got a heavy dose of this horsetail weed. We need to devise a plan to get the weed out but after reading the comments already posted it may well be too late for some of the planting areas. I have no idea what to do so here I am looking for advice. At present the worse areas are being targeted for digging out and starting again. BUT if the weed has survived dinosaurs, ice age, volcanic action and probably nuclear rays from the sun I am not confident I will see the back of this problem. Looking for advice



  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,148

    Weedkiller and vigilance John seems to be the only way. image

    Lots of people have had various experience with it - you can use a weed suppressing membrane in 'hard to reach' areas, but it will grow underground and pop up at the edges. I've done this in the past and then kept hoeing it or using strong weedkiller to keep it at bay. In more open areas , plenty of sturdy  evergreen ground cover will help a bit and then pulling it out on a regular basis and applying weedkiller several times during the year to keep on top of it. Any bits left in the ground will regrow, so I'm not convinced digging it out can work and takes a lot of effort, but others may say the opposite.

    As you say - it's been around a very long time so it knows how to get the upper hand.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • thank you very much for the information. Getting worried it will take over and waste an area created for the public to use and learn about the sensory aspect of the planted areas.

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923

    bruise the stems and leaves and then apply weed killer, after two weeks start pulling out everything above the ground once, but pref twice, a week. you might get it under control after a couple of years.


    but in general you can never get rid of it completely, just keep it under control.

  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 4,053

    Would taking all the plants out, covering the ground with landscape fabric and planting through that, then cover the fabric with chipped bark help?


    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 21,250

    I think that is what is known as sweeping it under the carpet....

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    imageimage pansyface.

    But unfortunately it'll find the holes.

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 750


    vigilance is the key as FG says. Think of it this way, no plant, not even Japanese Knotweed can survive without light, so as long as you keep at it, whatever method you're choosing to knock it back, then it will work. Hoe it, regularly, once every two weeks at least is the simplest method. I have a bit of it in my garden but it isn't a problem because I keep on top of, plant densely around it and pull it out every time I see it. If you leave it to recover from whatever method you've chosen though, all the effort you've been in so far has been for naught. That's what you've got to remember. But it is a native plant and part of our ecology, it's not Japanese Knotweed or Spanish Bluebells, or Mink... so, ultimately it's only a problem if you see it as such. image

  • GWRSGWRS Posts: 8,132

    Interesting we have just taken on the other half of our allotment and it had some horsetail 

    having read up about it , it seems a problem and the the 2 bits of advice I have been given 1 - cover  and 2 - repeated weed killer

    best of luck image

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,318

    horsetail / marestail survived being covered in ice during the ice age: roots have been found 3,000m deep , yes 3 thousand, sorry, covering in polythene is just delaying the inevitable, I'd say glyphosate is the only way . Just my opinion.

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