horse tail

Discussion in 'Plants with Spores (Ferns, Mosses, et al.)' started by pet, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. pet

    pet Member

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    what do we have today to get rid of horse tail.my garden is full of them. thanks pet
     
  2. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Move house :-(
     
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  3. David Payne Terra Nova

    David Payne Terra Nova Active Member

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    Probably a soil type, drainage and pH problem. I have read that the horsetails don't like lime. Pull them out and drop a handful of lime where they were.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Shade out with taller, thicker plants.
     
  5. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Er they grow here in Texas where my soil pH is 8.0 and there's ~500ft of
    lime under my house. My soil might be fairly considered limestone rubble.
     
  6. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    My experience with horsetails is that they will grow in any kind of soil, once they are established. However, they seem to persist only in places with poor soil and few competing plants. I never find them in my lawn or garden. I think Ron B is right about shading them out. Since their natural habitat is wet soil, they might be more of a problem in such locations.
     
  7. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    Yes Vitog. I have seen them growing in piles of crushed rock.
    I have no scientific proof of this solution but it worked for me. I have a 3/4 of a football field sized pond on Lopez Island. The birds or some other generous beastie shared their poop near the swampy end of the pond. Ergo Horsetail!. My Daughter brought home some orphaned ducks one day and over the next few months the horsetail began to disappear. I noticed the ducks eating the new shoots. After a period of time (I really don't remember how many months - maybe up to a year) there was no more horsetail sprouting. Since most of us can't have ducks running around the yard. I have several people trying an experiment. On a small patch try cutting the stems off at ground level. Don't pull the plants as that seems to stimulate root growth. If you have a large area try a weed whacker. I have no idea about what chemicals can be used in Canada. Here, if desparate, I use Bayer's Finale and paint it on with a small paint brush. Just a few ideas. ;)) barb
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2011
  8. David Payne Terra Nova

    David Payne Terra Nova Active Member

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    Richmond has a full pesticide ban. Up here, we can still purchase Round-up (at C.T.) This is a glyphosate. I've never seen Finale up here, but it probably is a glyphosate too.

    Did you know that the Bayer scientists invented Heroin before they invented Asperin?
     
  9. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    My experience complements Barbara Lloyds'. I had Horsetail growing when my garden was new. It dwindled over a period of years as I cultivated the beds by repeated hoeing, hand-weeding, mulching & a bit of fertilizer, planting perennials & shrubs. Mowing the lawn was the grazing equivalent & it couldn't take that either. I see this pattern repeated in the new housing around the Fraser Valley.

    I can only speak for my observation in the Lower Mainland to say that Equisetums seem to be plants of "waste land", that is uncultivated, unshaded land, thinly vegetated. They seem to be early colonizers of newly opened ground, particularly ground that is poorly drained. So - reverse those conditions. As with many gardening issues, I find few magic bullets & mainly have to use a lot of patience, time, trying things out & work - that's the enjoyment of it all, for me.

    Saltcedar may have a different experience - but he's in Texas. Gardening in Saltcedar's Texas sounds like an otherworldy experience to me.
     
  10. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Been gardening here around 30 years and it still amazes me!
    7 inches of rain this year, average is closer to 32 inches.
     
  11. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    Lysichiton,
    Thank you for the encouragement. Maybe if we all put together our experiences with this stuff we can come up with a viable way to eventually control it if not get rid of it.

    BTW every time I see you pen name I'm reminded of my little sister showing off one day and taking a big bite out of the pistil from a skunk cabbage. She only did that once! ;))) barb
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  12. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Hmm? Well, I admire Lysichiton americanum but I don't advocate eating the darn thing -unless you are a duck or a bear. Do the deer graze on it when it's young?
     
  13. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    No, I've not seen deer eat it but I'm rabid about keeping it off the pond and property. I'm not particularly fond of nettles either but found myself telling a neighbor today that they like acid soil and bring coffee grounds home from the restaurant and throw them in her nettle patch. She cultivates them as food. Just goes to prove grandma's saying, "a weed is just a plant out of place" ;))) barb
     
  14. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Two things. Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) is a nitrophilic plant. If you have a favourite place where animals like to pee & poop, or where you have stored manure in the past for example, that is where is will pop up. If you want to encourage it, just remember that. In fact it is an indicator species for me of human & animal activity. Coffee grounds? Dunno about that.
    Keeping Lysichiton off your property in an obsessive manner? There are people in Europe & the UK who plant special bog gardens at great expense to grow this wonderful, aromatic, colourfoul plant that we take for granted! Several species of ducks really do graze on the young growth in the Spring on their Northward migration, having it growing may improve the birding on your property.
     
  15. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    I didn't know that. I use coffee grounds all the time on rhodies etc.

    Farm girl as a kid but don't remember nettles around the manuer pile. Do remember them ten feet high with leaves the size of small saucers in the woods where Dad would releave himself. I'll tell the neighbor what you said. She's right next to a horse field so should have plenty of great fertilizer. I really appreciate your and others shared knowledge on this forum. Too soon old - to late wise, but I'm still not finished learning! barb
     
  16. viking46

    viking46 Member

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    I get rid of horsetail by pouring vinegar & dish soap on it when it is not near another plant. Kills it dead! As for the bits that are near another plant - I cut it at soil level and keep doing that every week for about a year. It gives up and quits. Had a whole garden area (2 ft x 40 ft) full of horsetail and nothing else - the vinegar trick did it for me.
     
  17. SalishSeaSam

    SalishSeaSam Member

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    I have the highest regard for horsetail. I know that it has no regard for me. It is definitely a survivor.
    In the early days of battling the plant in my veggie gardens, walkways... everywhere, I tried to dig it up. Hah! Do not even attempt this unless you have a need for endless exercise.
    Next I tried covering my raised beds with black plastic. Hah! again.
    Then I tried killing it with vinegar. It worked. For about a week and then came back prolifically. Turned out I was 'feeding' the plant with acetic acid.
    Lime didn't work, unless I only grew lime-loving (really loving!) veggies.
    My solution? I gave in and bought a small cordless weedeater. It keeps horsetail low around walkways (what a lush green groundcover!). And I use scissors, pruners and other cutting tools to keep it low around the veggies. I think of it now as a 'companion plant' :•}
     
  18. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    Sam, I think you may be right. Yrs. ago the birds planted some Horsetail at the edge of my pond. We took in some orphaned ducks that evidently loved the new soots from the HT. I have no proof other than there is no horsetail now. New shoot - munch! The weed eater may be the answer. Keep it trimed as tight to the ground as you can. With no upper folage to feed the roots, hopefully it will die off. My thoughts are with you. ;-))
     
  19. SalishSeaSam

    SalishSeaSam Member

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    Ducks... hmmm.
     
  20. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    We had the flightless Kahki Campbell ducks. If you have the room and if your neighborhood allows you might give it a try. They are little fertilizer machines. Of course you will also have to learn the art of "Country Dancing". That is learning to spot and walk around the fertilizer piles they depost. I never got them trained to leave the piles in the garden bed. They alway preferred the walk way or the stairs.
     
  21. prairiegreenthumb

    prairiegreenthumb Member

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    One thing I found to slow it dramatically is a thick layer of hay for mulch. I have a patch at my house where it is growing through an asphalt sidewalk!!
     
  22. SalishSeaSam

    SalishSeaSam Member

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    Horsetail.JPG
    I stand in awe of horsetails. This one could have easily grown around the side of this 4x4 chunk of hemlock. But it found the slightest crack and grew through the dark wood and out the other side.
     
  23. willowsgarden

    willowsgarden New Member

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    Lots of useful info on horsetail here. Thank you everyone. I'm going to try a combination of clipping (rather than pulling) and vinegar. One poster said it made the horsetail worse but many have said it worked well so that is interesting. On an old thread there was a discussion about using a higher % type of vinegar that we cannot get readily in Canada so maybe that is the difference? Also, there was a suggestion to boil or freeze household vinegar to make it a higher concentration. I wanted to add that freezing is likely safe enough but please DO NOT boil vineger. If you check the WHMIS sheet on vinegar you will find that when raised past a certain heat point it becomes a carcinogen. I know this from very sad experiences of people who have killed their pet parrots by cleaning their coffee makers and dishwashers with vinegar. It isn't any safer for us when it is heated.
     
  24. tim strange

    tim strange New Member

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    Horse tail regularly migrates under my fence which adjoins my neighbor's property. (No funny remarks on that score please !). I have found that when I catch the horse tail early I carefully dig out the roots - trying to garner all of the delicate interconnecting roots. In about 90% of the cases this partially solves the problem. Every couple of weeks I repeat the process. I have also slotted a thin three foot sheet of metal below my fence to counter the invasive weed. One final observation; as in the case of dealing with dandelions, pulling horse tail out of the ground inevitably fractures the tap root and will leave 75% of the root system to further propagate. The root system of horse tail - depending upon it's size, varies between 18" - several feet. I read of one report where horse tail found a home atop a cliff, and the root system measured 75 feet!
     
  25. Richard Goold

    Richard Goold New Member

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    Horsetail, some many metres tall have survived the dinosaurs and everything since. The best solution I have found is to simply pull them up!
     

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