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Beginner Gardening Questions: Strange weed what is it & how to remove?

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sarah_eco
BC
Canada

July 5, 2014
10:27 AM

Post #9886113

This weed (?) has started to grow and multiplying so fast. Does anyone know what it is and how best to remove it? Thank you pics attached

Thumbnail by sarah_eco   Thumbnail by sarah_eco
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altagardener
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3b)

July 5, 2014
12:53 PM

Post #9886185

Horsetail, Equisitum sp, - very invasive, as you already know, and difficult to get rid of. It prefers moist-wet soil.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

July 5, 2014
3:14 PM

Post #9886262

I was always told this Horse tail or Mares Tail will only grow o waist ground or old building sites etc where the soil had been left uncultivated for many, many years, well I can now, years later, prove that little old wife's tale absolutely wrong.
I have an area in my huge garden that has now been totally taken over by this weed, I've this year discovered it in small areas of my flower beds / borders and as we all now know, there is no natural remedy for killing this weed off, I have used an industrial flame gun that could set the world alight if you don't know what your doing, I burn the wqeed before it's 2 inches tall, then it regrows, so burn it again, then pull it out, then try digging it out but the roots go down about a hundred feet or so it feels like that,
All I try now is every time I get a free moment, I go try pill it out the soil thinking over time it will weaken the plant but still no use.

I have been told on good authority that in Elizabethan times this weed was made into balls and used as kitchen scourer for pans, cooking utensils and fire placed because it was brittle.

I've also read that it was a plant that survived the Dinosaurs when they walked the land however. all that info still cant tell us how to destroy this weed from hell.

Ive been on line and done a search for a killer, BUT, it was chemical, was expensive, and had no guarantee it will do the job, so maybe a search for removal of Mares Tale weed will tell you what to try, I cant remember the name of this killer.
All I know is, when you do try weed, every little bit you drop or break off and leave on / in the soil will regrow and hundred more will appear next year, IF that is the only area you have this weed,, I would remove it as best as possible before it begins to send out new spores and next year you will have even larger patches.
Best of luck. Kindest Regards.
WeeNel.

sarah_eco
BC
Canada

July 5, 2014
4:47 PM

Post #9886312

Thank you all for the very helpful replies. Ironically enough these mares/horse tails are growing in a horse riding ring ... now that figures lol
altagardener
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3b)

July 5, 2014
11:56 PM

Post #9886551

WeeNel wrote:
I have been told on good authority that in Elizabethan times this weed was made into balls and used as kitchen scourer for pans, cooking utensils and fire placed because it was brittle.

This was not because it was brittle, but because the plant tissues contain silica, which is hard and gives them an abrasive quality - hence the common name, scouring rush.

WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

July 6, 2014
4:11 PM

Post #9887137

altagardener, thanks for that info, always great to learn more about plant life and their old uses, lets face it, in those days all the people had was what grew around them and they gathered herbs for medicine, keep smells at bay, cleaning, cooking and also for keeping bad spells away from their dwelling, all passed down the generations.
We go buy Candles, Potpourri's and lots of other stuff, yet I bet IF I tried, I could get all that from my garden, OH well I guess I'm keeping someone in a job LOL.
Kindest Regards.
WeeNel.
BCH521
Homeworth, OH
(Zone 5b)

July 11, 2014
11:28 AM

Post #9891003

I've tried roundup, pulling them up, burning them out, and poured boiling water on them to no avail. I just changed the contours of that particular garden and planted grass, and I'm hopeful that mowing them short will eventually work. Otherwise I'm considering dynamite!
mlmlakestevens
Lake Stevens, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 14, 2014
9:46 AM

Post #9893360

Hi Sarah
Horsetails are natives here in the Pacific Northwest. They were here before us, and will be here after us. I just break them off at or just below soil level when they come up, and move on to the next task. They still come up but I just break them off again. Doing this repeatedly has lessened my Horsetail Problem. I read that regular liming and cultivating will eventually cause them to give up, but I have never tried that. WeeNel is right, flaming works too but does not kill the extensive roots.

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