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Orchid Lady

Hi, I have had problems the last few years with this was everywhere on the veg patch when we moved in and although is now a lot less it has reappeared this year.  The roots are quite deep and I do try to dig them all out, it is perennial as dies down in the winter but has come back this week now it is warm, but inky between the paving and dividers at the moment.

Pic below if someone could help please 


It's a horsetail, Equisetum arvense. Keep on pulling it out!


I was going to say, also known as Horsetail - there's a recent thread on it 


I saw a remedy for this on a gardening prog this eeek, Garden Hopping.  She said as its stalks are very shiny, weed killer doesnt touch it, but beat it about with a strong stick so that you break the coating on the stems then spray on glysophate. Digging it up doesnt work very well.  Every tiny bit of root left in will grow again.  I dont have it so cant speak from experience.


Orchid Lady

It is a nightmare, I have been digging some up this morning, I lied when I said it wasn't actually in the veg patch, it is on the bit prepared for my brassicas!!!  It sort of camouflages itself.  Anyway, I've got my weeding tool on it and dug up some deep roots.  Can't really do the bashing thing when it grows between my veg,mi will just have to keep on too if it and try to get as much root as possible.


Glyphosate won't work. Weedkillers are absolutely useless on this thing. 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.

I've been out in my garden screaming "Nightmare!" for days because of these. Beyond nightmare.


I think you've made your point now Autumn

Orchid Lady

Thanks Autumn, as I've already said. I won't use weed killers as it is my veg patch, I haven't time now to follow all your advice but as I have said previously, I am pulling up ALL shoots that I see using one of those tools where you can go quite deep into the soil to pull up roots.

The problem is a lot better than it was.



Eight posts all the same on one day Tracey. I bet nobody else has done that

Orchid Lady

Is there a reason why you have just joined the forum, found every thread re horsetail and ONLY commented on those, exactly the same post?  Just seems a little strange????

Orchid Lady

Our posts crossed Nut 

 What's the betting there is a link to weed removers or something tomorrow 

Yes, I have horsetails. Did you notice that not all of my posts were exactly the same? I modified a lot of them to answer the questions. Go through and check again.

There seems to be a LOT of advertising on the horsetail threads, mostly done by Mabel and others that are trying to sell their weedkillers. The weedkillers won't work. Every horsetail thread had "Try Glysophate" on it several times. This is a gardening forum and people are asking for help. I'm trying to help. People don't read every horsetail post, so I'm just trying to help those that have posted recently.

At the end of one of them I asked for advice on my own lawn. I need help too. I've just dug out my entire lawn and am trying to figure out what to do drainage-wise and which layers of gravel/manure/lime/soil/turf should go in which order. Why would I go and post on any other threads when all I have is an entire garden full of soil and horsetail roots?

Why is that so strange? You guys are rather rude.

EDIT: I see Orchid Lady has started to make fun of me on other threads involving horsetails. I also see that she has posted to other threads involving horsetails. Pot calling kettle black?

You are all really nice and welcoming to noobs! Oooh, I mean "muppets".

First, nutcutlet calls me a "WUM" for posting to recent threads about horsetails...then...

This is Orchid Lady talking about me:

HELLO FORKERS! Posted: Yesterday at 23:02

Gosh there are some proper muppets about 

Posted: Yesterday at 23:46

I don't know Lily, only posted on threads about horsetail, but a couple going back a while, obviously done a search and then commented on relevant threads  To be honest, I can't be a****, there are worse things happening in life than bloody weeds  I'll mail in the morning by the way, off to bed in a min, now I've had my Daniel Craig fix LOL   Night all xx

HELLO FORKERS! Posted: Yesterday at 23:31

I'm posting this on here because I can't be bothered posting on the thread I put on and encouraging muppets.......

The dreaded horsetail has today appeared in my new side border, I noticed it whilst digging a hole for my rose!!!  Blasted stuff 



omg, have the loonies arrived?

pull marestail to your heart's content, but evidence has shown roots down to 300m , yes, three hundred metres. good luck.

Orchid Lady

I read that Hosta, but can't dig down 300m so pulling it up as much as I can is all I can do, it does seem to have reduced it.  And yes I am a looney at heart 


some of my best friends are regarded as loonies Orchid lady: welcome.


Maybe it could be tackled best by starting in australia

star gaze lily

OL def think the WUM is the same one as before, pressing the button now. Hopefully they will get the message.