Latest posts by Realstokebloke

1 to 10 of 12

Mare's Tail

Posted: 24/07/2013 at 13:19



Help needed As per above.

Mare's Tail

Posted: 21/07/2013 at 10:22

Shameless bump but also...

Has anyone ever successfully treated the roots of this nightmare(s tail)?

in that I have dug out the rockery where it was prevalent only to to find long runner roots disappearing off into the lawn at the top and under the flags on the patio at the bottom (how it lives in the solid sand cevent base I don't know).

Digging either out successfully won't be practical but I haven't snapped the exposed roots off yet in case there was something (deadly) you could do to the roots.

i sat one in a bottle of Tumbleweed but as it goes off, under the lawn, it's hard to tell what effect it has has had as there are no obvious shoots to see close to it.


(small) Retaining wall or other options

Posted: 11/07/2013 at 12:59

Hello, I am renovating a rockery (see other thread about "Mare's Tale" under the problems area).

i have 12 / 14" drop( approx) from the lawn edge to where I want the level of the soil to be in the rockery.

i have had largish (I think they are) 'York' stone blocks, bedded into the soil butting up to the lawn edge previously.

They were 'OK' at best (lawn edge difficult to maintain and their irregularity meant the trapped soil / weeds at the edge between the lawn and the stones.

what options are there on a plan B realistically? Sleepers? Can you get them deep enough (I.e. to include depth for them to be bedded in to the soil below? Or am I looking at some kind of retaining wall With bricks / stone?

And, if so, do I need a trench / foundation of concrete and build on that?

if I do replace the stones as they were, have I to bed them in into just the soil or will they need a dry mix onto some hardcore below to stop it all shifting? (It is level ground, so no slope / subsidence).

Thanks in advance.

Mare's Tail

Posted: 11/07/2013 at 10:42
waterbutts wrote (see)

sodium chlorate used to be a bit different in the old days. It used to say in big letters on the pack "DO NOT MIX WITH SUGAR" (as if that idea would ever have crossed your mind normally) This was because it became highly explosive if mixed in said way. Unfortunately I think the IRA worked out the possibilities because it was suddenly taken off the shelves. When it next appeared the message about sugar had gone so I think it has been modified in some way. Plus the packs are now small not catering size as in the old days.

Bit like 'old' and 'new' creosote then Butts? I am always told the new stuff isn't as good as it used to be.

so is the new sodium chlorate not as effective Either?

Mare's Tail

Posted: 11/07/2013 at 10:40

My goodness, must check posts first (& damn you, auto correct)

So this one:

Equally, at the top, roots shoot off under the lawn, I have not cut these yet and wondered if I could treat the roots as opposed to the foliage? Maybe sit hem in a weed emailer suction a lot solution? 

 Was actually:

Equally, at the top, roots shoot off under the lawn, I have not cut these yet and wondered if I could treat the roots as opposed to the foliage? Maybe sit them in a weed killer solution?  


Mare's Tail

Posted: 11/07/2013 at 10:31

As i have dug & removed the heavy stones at the bottom, i can see some roots go through the pea gravel trench and immediatly under the patio flags. These flags have been (well) laid on dry sand cement that has gone off, so ideally I don't want to lift or move these if at all possible. 

How they can grow / spread through this I don't know but they do. Obviously I can cut the roots off as they go under at the edge but by doing that, will they actually survive under there as, the roots have come from the soil beds, where I assume they took the required nutrients, water? Or will they just re- root under there (as I say, there is a good depth of sand & cement).

Equally, at the top, roots shoot off under the lawn, I have not cut these yet and wondered if I could treat the roots as opposed to the foliage? Maybe sit hem in a weed emailer suction a lot solution? 

Also, I have seen elsewhere that some people have used vinegar to spray the foliage, anyone confirm if that works?


Mare's Tail

Posted: 09/07/2013 at 18:51

Oops, messed that reply up but the question still applies.

Mare's Tail

Posted: 09/07/2013 at 18:50
waterbutts wrote (see)

When I was young and still full of optimism about life in general and gardening in particular I bought a house with mare's tail in the garden. In those days you could buy sodium chlorate by the bucketful and it was used to keep drives permanently clear of any form of plant life. It killed everything stone dead except the mare's tail. Someone suggested concreting the drive and paving the garden. After months of cutting it, poisoning it and cursing it I did that. Five years later I thought "it must be dead by now" and took up one of the paving slabs. There it was, coiled round like miles of electricity cable, waiting for its chance to grow again.

An old coal miner neighbour told me that they sometimes found the roots 50 feet or more below ground.

You'll control it but you'll never beat it!


Actually Waterbutts, are you saying you can't get sodium chlorate as a weedkiller any more? I think I still have some of that.


Mare's Tail

Posted: 09/07/2013 at 14:13

You old cynic Butts : ) !

But you are probably right sadly. I have heard that too about the mines. 

Mine even has the temerity to pop up through the cracks in the flags, so at least yours was tame !

As i say the "sure fire" (yeah, right) ones are an absolute fortune, so i think i'm into "management" of it if i can't have all out "extermination" !

Mare's Tail

Posted: 09/07/2013 at 14:07
BobTheGardener wrote (see)

Visqueen make a number of plastic membranes usually used in the building trade (eg for damp proof courses.)  I think you would be better off using landscaping fabric (not weed membrane) which is strong and designed to prevent weed roots penetrating but will still let water through.  Good advice from FB regarding how to use glyphosate on mares tail - just spraying without roughing the tails up a bit won't work.  The good thing about glyphosate is it is absorbed into all of the weed tissue including the roots (which is the bit you need to kill of course.)  Once done, leave it until the tails die down completely and come away easily.  You will have to repeat if new growth appears later (which it probably will) but you will eventually be rid of it.

Edit: Just saw your reply which appeared as I was typing.  Glyphosate is the active ingredient - the most common brand is "Roundup".



Thanks also Bob. I was right fter all - it is the active ingreient but there is also one called Glyphosate (by Bayer i think) just to confuse people like me.

When googling, i have also found plenty of peolple swearing that Glyphosate doesn;'t work on MT but they don't say if they have roughed up the shoots first.

The ones they recommend (Kibosh / Timbrel?) are an absolute fortune so I would like a more cost effective approach if possible. 

So deos that definitely work then doing that (roughing up the shoots)?



Oh and ref the visqueen, this is an agri one (as i say used by farmers for silage clamps that i have already got. And as the barrier i need will essentially be vertical (down along the fence) it just needs to be impermeable and not required to pass water?

1 to 10 of 12

Discussions started by Realstokebloke

(small) Retaining wall or other options

Renovating a rockery - options 
Replies: 0    Views: 1069
Last Post: 11/07/2013 at 12:59

Mare's Tail

Help with a plan to be rid of it please. 
Replies: 32    Views: 12813
Last Post: 27/05/2017 at 15:53
2 threads returned