Posted: 20/05/2015 at 01:32
Mark, my garden is only about 30ft x 20ft and 3 years ago I decided to make paths down each side. I dampered down the soil really hard for days until it was solid, put membrane on the top and put a 3" layer of lovely pebbles. Also, I did the same for about 20ft x 4ft rectangular up close to the house. It was just dandy but this year in February I decided to try and lift the membrane and replace it because grass and weeds were growing through in places and also the pebbles were beginning to sink down due to weather - lots of rain and so forth. I had no plants growing in these areas though.
I scraped pebbles away - was a nightmare, took hours - and I shovelled them onto bin bags placed flat on the tiny lawn. I started pulling up the membrane and in places it was so solidly onto the hard soil underneath that it was really difficult to get sections of it up without it tearing. It was good quality black membrane at the time! I hosed the pebbles to get the mud off - but after 3 days I gave up. I just poured the pebbles back where they had been, some on left membrane, some just on top of the rock solid soil under the membrane. It looks really shoddy now. It was such hard work. I couldn't understand why so many of the pebbles had managed to work their way down through the membrane and into the solid soil. I had 28 bags of pebbles for each path - bags the size of large compost bags.
I don't have the heart to do anything about it this year. Just thinking about maybe getting someone in to do it next spring. I don't have horsetail though. Loads of dandelions and grass coming up but I have had to resort just to clipping the dandelions but small clumps of grass come out easily. But, I've neglected it and there are larger clumps of grass taking over.
If you still keep having problems with the horsetail - I'd see if you can get a local gardening person in - the good sort who know what they're doing and don't cost a fortune. I know how dispiriting it can be to keep trying and never quite getting there.
Best of luck.