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The dreaded marestail- how do I get rid?

I have had it for the last 3 years in a large bed- luckliy contained by a wall.  Tried digging out the root as the soil is an easy open structure, have removed a couple of wheelie bins full- but still it comes back, as I can never get the deep roots which are down 3 foot or so, plus new fine strands are growing into new marestails.  Tried the Hungarian Rye grass but that is just growing through it.  It is like a low growing forest currently.  Has anybody had any success?


  • You have to remember that this plant was around at the time of the Dinosaurs so is about 600 million years old so if they couldn't eat it to death us humans don't stand any chance of killing it off,  on the Beeb boards there was in idea that maybe Glyphosate on the roots would kill it but it's a long job,  you certainly have a fight on your hands

  • granmagranma Posts: 1,929

    Sorry to tell you if  this is the plant I'm thinking of it has survived the stone age era. I was told that  also a handful of this stuff is great for cleaning pans but not the enamel pans.

    You know if it is the same plant you could be onto a gold mine ! Why not put  handfulls in  linen bags and sell it as an organic pan scrubber?!

    Next time I get a burnt pan I will try it out !

  • Alina WAlina W Posts: 1,445

    You can treat it by bruising the fronds and then watering with a glyphosate-based weedkiller. You will need to do this more than once, and thereafter pull up any fronds the instant that you see them.

    This will reduce it to manageable proportions, although you will never eradicate it completely.

  • DaintinessDaintiness Posts: 988

    THere was another thread on this subject recently. I shall ping it to the top for you to read. Hope it is useful.

  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    Don't think you can get rid of them completely - I'm still battling after 8 years. All you can do is control the infestion.

  • AliPAliP Posts: 64

    I share your frustration!  I've blogged about this if you want to check out the link.  Good luck!

  • Chris9Chris9 Posts: 92


    We have this pesky weed and tried weed killer but desided that we would just go and check and pick the little devils out as soon as they pop up for light and it seems to work on the surface but not sure what is happening underground.  We have had them grow out of a tarmac path.   Our garden has recently been landscaped and drainaged put in a great deal of earth moved and replaced but they are still coming up in the borders never mind we will be waiting for them!  It does seem to weaken them, they have got less and less over the 3 years we have been living here. Good luck.

  • dizzylizzydizzylizzy Posts: 91

    Thank you all for replying, I can see I am not alone, will try the various methods.  Will use a weedkiller, plant up with annuals for this season and see what comes up next year. Will pull each one up when I see it!  Will let you know next year if I can see a difference.
    Also have ground elder in another area so will be doing a similar method with that it would same.  I am just dying to plant my 20 Eremurus (desert candles bulbs) - hope they don't die whilst a am waiting for the maretails to disappear!  I believe they are quite difficult to grow.

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