Horsetail [Equisetum arvense]


General Information: Horsetail which is sometimes called 'Marestail' should not be a major problem in lawns that are frequently mown. It is virtually impossible to achieve complete control of this weed. Horsetail is a perennial weed which spreads by rhizomes (underground runners) which can be up to 2 meters deep. Horsetail can grow to nearly 50cm high.

Leaf: Horsetail leaves are needle like with a scaly surface and have a fern like appearance.

Flower: Horsetail does not produce a flower as such, the plant releases spores for reproduction.

Preferred habitat: Horsetail can withstand a wide range of soil types but it prefers wet, shady areas. It does not like close mowing, it is more widespread in neglected lawns.

Control: Fortunately horsetail isn't a problem in frequently mown lawns as it is very difficult weed to control. In fact complete control is almost impossible short of digging it out completely. Hand weeding is difficult too because of the depth the roots are capable of reaching. Chemical control may prove somewhat ineffective too. On lawns & turf using a selective herbicide may help kill off the top growth, but it will return the following season. It is also important to try and bruise the leaf, creating a wound, before applying any chemical, as the scaly foliage repels liquids making them ineffective. Products containing glyphosate such as Round Up have been used with varying success, again bruise the foliage before application. N.B. Round Up or Glyphosate is a total weed killer and will kill the grass as well as the weed.

Please click to enlarge the Horsetail image

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