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Field Horse Tails - Advice Appreciated

Discussion in 'Herbs and Wildflowers' started by Mowerman, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. Mowerman

    Mowerman Gardener

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    A new(ish) customer has Field Horsetails (Equisetum arvense) growing all around her garden in clustered spots, except for her lawn (they don't like being mowed).

    Have read a lot about their history, habits and compostion and know that most weedkillers simply drip straight off them, unless they're 'bruised' first. Easier said than done when there's hundreds of the damn stems sprouting up all over the place.

    But they are seriously out of control and were sprayed with Kaskara last Autumn. Kaskara composes of 200g/litre (19.34% w/w) 2,4-D acid equiv, as the ethyl hexyl ester, 85 g/litre (8.22%w/w) dicamba and 65 g/litre (6.29% w/w) triclopyr acid equiv. as the butoxethyl ester formulated as an emulsifiable concentrate.

    Basically, this weedkiller was formulated to kill Horsetails as the acids dissolve the silica coating and target the rhizomes, yet it is selective and doesn't harm grass unless over-mixed.

    Been for a visit today (very stupidly didn't take any pics - but will). The buds are about 3 inches high, rhizomes have crept over concrete (WTF!!!) and have smashed through the mortar mix between the paving. Looks like this is gonna be a war of attrition. There's not point in trying to dig it out anyway as the roots can go down several metres.

    Has anybody else had a long-standing battle with this horrendous wildlflower/weed and what did you use to finish it off.. and how long did it take?
     
  2. Zigs

    Zigs Naughty Ginger Admin Staff Member

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    Roots have been reported growing into coal mines :hate-shocked:

    I've heard of folk bruising it and weighing it down into neat chemicals, covered to keep the rain off.
     
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    • Mowerman

      Mowerman Gardener

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      Roots into coal mines! Wouldn't be suprising. One book suggested 6+ metres down have been excavated in gardens.

      Tried the bruising technique and seriously strong Glyphosate solution on a small infestation but didn't work out too well, but the Kaskara seems to have nailed it (well at least for now). With this place though, the entire garden would need submerging with something like agent orange for a year or two.

      As it's possibly all a collective group of rhizomes, may give a load of stems some injection treatment - if regular spraying doesn't work out.
       
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      • Zigs

        Zigs Naughty Ginger Admin Staff Member

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        Might pay to tell the client to just keep picking it off, like you say it don't like being mown and it won't last for long if it can't photosynthesize.
         
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        • Mowerman

          Mowerman Gardener

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          Agreed but she's an NHS worker, works long shifts and has family committments. But you've provided a flash of genius.

          The Kaskara destroys the foliage within just a few days, turns it brown and knocks it back big style. I could make a quick visit every week or so and spray anything that reappears, so keep it under control to prevent photosynthesis. This would help her and provide extra income for me. She wants rid of it big style as it is structurally destroying her pavements and is such an eyesore, just hope she is willing to splash out some cash.

          Thanks for you help mate :love30:
           
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          • Zigs

            Zigs Naughty Ginger Admin Staff Member

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            I'm thinking flame gun now :paladin:
             
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            • shiney

              shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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              Flame gun doesn't work very well. It just burns off the top growth.

              I've tried the bruising and glyphosate method with some success but hand pulling is my preferred method. It doesn't get rid of it but deters it.

              Not sure what to do with ones that are growing through paving.

              During the growing season I do a weekly pulling patrol (you soon get to know where they all are) and it works fairly well. The best method is to grip it just where it emerges from the ground and gently pull directly upwards. If you do that you can get up to six inches of root come away with it. If you just snatch it or pull at an angle it breaks off at soil level.

              We have nowhere near as much as we used to - but I've been doing it for 40 years. I just consider it a once a week maintenance treatment on the garden.

              Re depth of roots. They have been found, alive, extending down to 70ft in a mine in Wales.
               
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              • Zigs

                Zigs Naughty Ginger Admin Staff Member

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                So have some of my ex girlfriends. Doesn't stop em coming back in the spring to infest me lawn again though :sad:
                 
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                • HarryS

                  HarryS Eternally Optimistic Gardener

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                  I use the "never let them see a Sunday" method , by picking them as soon as I spot them. On the ones growing through the bloomin' tarmac on my pavement , I lightly crush them with my heel and then spray with glyphosate this works OK , but is not practical for a large outbreak of them.
                   
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                  • shiney

                    shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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                    I used to use sodium chlorate on those and bindweed - but it's mainly bindweed that comes through my tarmac. I pulled the plant and then dropped a small amount of crystals into the hole and added water.

                    Quote from a post of mine seven years ago:-
                    "Well, if we are not allowed to use Sodium Chlorate after May then I haven't got it in my chemical cupboard ;) :mute: I haven't got any Potassium Nitrate either :whistle: :snork:. So the EU is safe from me. :snorky:"

                    The EU banned the use of Sodium Chlorate in May 2010. :noidea:
                     
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                    • silu

                      silu gardening easy...hmmm

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                      Maybe i was lucky but I had a patch of the stuff and after having pulled it out for about 3 years I attacked it with strong Roundup mixed with some neat Fairy Liquid. I bruised the "leaves" as best I could prior to application. I applied the weedkiller maybe 3 times and bingo it worked. I expect part of the problem is to get the weed killer strong enough to kill but not too strong as to kill off the top growth too fast thus not giving the weed long enough to absorb the weed killer down into the roots. What strength did I use? unfortunately I can't remember but I'd guess at least double the normal strength and more like x4 as I was pretty cheesed off with the stuff and will have been in attack mode!
                       
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                      • noisette47

                        noisette47 Total Gardener

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                        +1 for glyphosate, but never the ready-mixed type. It's over-diluted. I used to use the jam jar method for horsetail and bindweed with excellent results (half-fill jar with strong solution then stuff as much top growth as poss in with it and leave for 4 weeks) but I suspect that the weeds are becoming resistant.
                         
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                        • shiney

                          shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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                          You, of course, were talking about what happened in the past ;). Mixing chemicals together to use as a pesticide (pesticide is the official name for all chemical killers) is against laws brought in by the EU and ratified by the UK. :doh: Even using Fairy Liquid to kill aphids is against the law (because it doesn't have a pesticide licence) but you are allowed to wash your plants with it (it's a cleansers :noidea: :)). I'm sure that @daitheplant will agree with me :snork:
                           
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                          • daitheplant

                            daitheplant Total Gardener

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                            Of course I will @shiney lol. Horsetail/Marestail has been found to send it`s "root system" to a depth of 30m. For Glyphosate to work it needs to be applied before the fronds actually open. Also, as soon as shoots appear they need to be treated. One of my allotments is infested with the stuff and what I do is dig out what I can, put it on the path until the material is dead, then compost it.
                             
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                            • Mowerman

                              Mowerman Gardener

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                              Thanks everybody for your suggestions and experiences - much appreciated :blue thumb:

                              Have defeated it on a small scall in the past but with rather high doses of Glyphosate combined with bruising but this really is something out of a horror film. Those ugly black rhizomes creeping over a patio and sinister buds arising from cracks.

                              @daitheplant - never considered the buds were susceptible to glyphosate (as opposed to the foliage) so will give them a blitz ASAP with Clinic Ace (41% Glyphosate) to knock 'em back before the fronds opens up.

                              @Zigs - You know what happens when you burn these beasties, you so & so lol :snork:.
                               

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