National Weed Control – Scotland

Horse Tail Removal UK

Horse tail Removal is also called Equisetum arvense or Marestail and is a common invasive weed with deep roots and fast-growing underground stems and dense foliage. It is not an easy plant to control, it is hard to kill and spreads very easily. In this plant, it is the roots and the spores that allow it to spread and grow rather than the release of seeds. Horsetail removal UK experts tend to have better success with the process of control.

Horse Tail Removal

What does it look like?

In spring the stems are light brown and 20 to 50cm in height. At the end of the stems is a cone shape that produces the spores. It has shoots that are like fir trees around 60cm tall that are upright in the summer and green shoots develop. Underground the creeping rhizomes can be as deep as 2m. This makes removal harder when you want to dig it out. They invade properties by spreading underground from close by.

Horse Tail Removal

As mentioned, hand removal is hard with Horsetail. While some of the rhizomes close to the surface of the ground can be forked out, they go deeper and that takes excavation. The usual weeding process that many are used to that is shallow is not at all effective and can even make it worse. The plant will grow back from small debris left behind. You can reduce the problem if you keep removing shoots when they appear straight away over a period of several years. Mowing a lawn where Horsetail grows can keep it in check but it does not completely remove it.

If you do choose to dig it up you need to do it when soil conditions are favourable. This kind of horsetail removal UK based means cutting a couple of cm below the surface of the shoots each time they start shooting. You should not let it grow more than 8cm tall as it starts to store food in its roots at that point. You can also try a process called liming where you lift the pH of the soil the weed grows in to make the conditions unfavourable. How much you apply depends on the soil you have. Just remember these methods will limit it but are unlikely to completely eradicate it.

For horse tail removal UK using chemicals or weedkiller you need to use the right type. Those containing glyphosate might inhibit growth but are less effective than weedkillers with pelargonic acid because of the hard nature of the weed and the waxy substance that covers the leaves. You or the removal expert should first crush the leaves and stems of the weed so that you break the waxy coating giving the chemical more chance of getting into the plant and killing it. After application, it can take one to two weeks to work because of those long and deep roots. To see if it is dead break a piece of the stem near to the ground and see if there is any green inside.

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