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Paul, ants don't eat plants but do feed off a sticky liquid that aphids exude when feeding off of the sap. Get rid of the aphids and the ants will have no reason to climb your plant.
Paul, if you tag your query onto the end of someone else's, people with expertise in ants will not know it's there.
Start your own thread by clicking on the "Create New Thread" near the top right of the page, title it appropriately and someone helpful will be more likely to see it and answer.
Oh Danny, it sounds like your garden shares the same joyful weeds as mine, with the exception that I (thankfully) don't have any horsetail, but it is a menace so I sympathise. Weird as it might sound, I find weeding ground elder extremely satisfying particularly in late spring when the ground is still open enough to pull the fibrous roots through. At least nettles can be useful for the pollinators!! Sadly I can't bring myself to feel the same about ivy which drives me nuts.
We have the same problem brought into our garden in 2011/12 in compost purchased from a garden centre. It is choking all the seedlings we plant. As if there wasn't enough weeding to do already!! Really annoying.