Q What is horsetail/marestail?
A There are two species of horsetail/marestial, field (Equisetum arvense) and giant horsetail (E. telmateia), whose tendency to take over patches of ground with their impenetrable, jointed, whorled stems presents a real challenge to gardeners.
Caption: Horsetail is very deep rooted which makes it hard to kill
Q Why is horsetail a problem weed?
A Horsetails are very deep-rooted, with wiry rhizomes that penetrate to two metres or more and can regenerate from deep down to form new plants. They can persist for years, even if the top growth is suppressed.
Q What is the best method for controlling horsetail?
A When Which? Gardening magazine trialled different methods for controlling horsetail, we found that spraying with Vitax SBK after trampling plants had the most immediate impact, rapidly reducing the number of weeds.
Q What is the best organic control for horsetail?
A The best chemical-free method for organic gardeners is digging up by the root. You might not be able to get it all, but it will weaken the plant over time. Take care not to leave bits of root behind as they will resprout and could make things worse.
Q Can glyphosate kill horsetail?
A Glyphosate is effective at killing off the top growth, but takes longer than Vitax SBK and digging to have a significant impact on the number of stems, depending on the application method. The Hozelock Wonderweeder is an easy way to apply glyphosate when the weeds were small, but became harder as they grew. Glyphosate gel is tricky to apply to the narrow stems and left us with
a horsetail-infested plot all summer in our trial.
Q Can a weed burner control horsetail?
A Burning has a limited effect and becomes trickier as the weeds grow taller through the growing season.