Kill horsetail weed using the methods given in this informative blog by using a weed killer, changing your soil composition, or applying vinegar. You will discover that what seemed like an insurmountable task isn’t so difficult after all.

Only a little effort is needed and your garden shall be free of this aggressive weed, so continue reading for all the juicy tips and tricks!

How To Kill Horsetail?

Using a weed killer, applying vinegar and changing your soil are some of the many ways to kill horsetail plants. Getting rid of horsetail is a struggle as old as prehistoric times. Here are some of the things you can do to reclaim your garden from this plant.

– Use an Effective Weed Killer

A weed killer is your best bet if you want to keep these weeds away from your garden or lawn. The best chemical experts recommend for this is Glyphosate.

– Glyphosate

Glyphosate is a weed killer and a herbicide that is generally very good at eradicating horsetail weeds. You can buy this chemical from drug stores and mix it with water in a ratio of 50:50. 

Spray the weed with the mixture on a regular basis while removing the dying leaves and pieces of stems as well. A lot of over-the-counter weed-removing chemicals also contain this horsetail herbicide. When using these products, make sure to follow the instructions given at the back of the label.

Some enthusiasts also recommend injecting the glyphosate-water mix directly into the plant. While this method seems to work quite well, it is a time-consuming process that needs to be repeated multiple times until the whole weed dies.

– A Word of Caution:

Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide. What this means is that it will kill most plants that it comes in contact with. When spraying your lawn or garden to get rid of horsetail, take special care to protect your precious trees and plants from being sprayed on as well.

Don’t forget to wear gloves, boots, face masks and clothes that cover your whole body when using glyphosate. This herbicide can give you a pretty bad rash if you are not careful.

– Use Vinegar

Killing horsetail with vinegar is a DIY remedy that works well only for a short while. Pour vinegar at a concentration of 10 percent at the base of the plant and the soil surrounding it.

This will rid your lawn of horsetail weed for only a little while.

– Change the Cultural Conditions of Your Soil

One of the most successful ways to kill horsetail weeds is by changing their cultural conditions. These weeds thrive under low oxygen, pH, and nutrient conditions, so changing these conditions is a way to tell horsetail that it’s time for it to say goodbye.

On the downside, it is a long process and might take up to five years for successful completion. In this section, we’ll learn how to change the cultural conditions of horsetail weeds.

– Get Rid of Poor Drainage

The horsetail weed loves moist, dank conditions, so the first thing you need to do is to get rid of your soil’s poor drainage. Don’t let there be any ditches or holes in your lawn where water might accumulate and store for long periods.

Make sure that rainwater is always easily drained away as well. Sometimes, you will need to dig an entire ditch around the perimeter of your property to aid in drainage. Take care not to redirect this water into neighboring piles or storm drains.

Occasionally, you might even need to lay new drain pipes in your lawn to achieve the level of drainage required to kill the horsetail weed. This might sound expensive and labor-intensive, but trust us when we say it’s totally worth it.

– Get Rid of Mulch and Plastic

Remove mulch and plastic from your soil, as these materials are often conducive to the unimpeded growth of horsetail weeds. Make sure to discard and properly dispose of these things in garbage bags. Throwing them away haphazardly can lead to the further spread of horsetail spores.

– Apply Dolomite Lime and Fertilizer

Dolomite lime acts as a horsetail weed killer when applied to the top layer of your soil as the third step in this process. This will increase the pH of your soil and kill the pesky weeds.

Make sure to use dolomite lime in the quantity specified by the manufacturer, and after two weeks, apply fertilizer to the soil. Applying both at the same time will lead to the cancellation of both their effects.

When killing horsetail weeds, we don’t recommend synthetic fertilizers. Instead, use compost, fish, etc. Bury it at least 2 inches deep within the soil. You will need to reapply this dolomite-lime-fertilizer combo every two years until the horsetail weeds are completely eradicated from your property.

The Horsetail Weed

The horsetail weed is a perennial plant that emerges from underground rhizomes that can grow as much as 4 feet into the ground. These rhizomes are perpetually growing, producing new growths all the time. 

You will notice two types of growths in the horsetail weed: the first is a brown-colored fern-like growth that emerges in the spring. It has cones at its tips and these cones produce the second type of growth for this plant: spores. Having an actively growing root system, along with two types of growths, makes this weed super difficult to get rid of.

 

Horsetail Weed: Why Kill It?

The horsetail weed is one of the most resilient species of weed out there. Would you be surprised to find out that farmers, gardeners and pasture keepers have been trying to get rid of it for thousands of years? Learn more about the reasons why in this section.

– It Looks Terrible

Let’s face it, horsetail is not exactly a pretty plant. It destroys the whole outlook of a garden or a lawn where it is found growing.

– It Is Harmful to Horses

This weed derives its name from the horsetail-like growths at its growing end. Ironically, this weed is extremely toxic to horses, and, if ingested in large amounts, may lead to severe neurological symptoms and even death.

– It Will Deprive Your Plants of Essential Nutrients

Its rapid growth and spread mean that your plants and lawn grass will be the first to suffer from a lack of nutrients.

Horsetail Weed Control: What Not To Do

Horsetail weed is unlike any of your average household weeds. What easily works on killing other types of weed rarely works on it. Sometimes, your regular methods of weed control might even backfire. Below is our list of the top three things you should always avoid when you are trying to get rid of the horsetail weed.

– Do Not Pull Horsetail Weed

Remember the ancient Greek monster Hydra who sprouted two heads when one was cut off? That is what this weed does when you try to dig it out using your hand or a shovel. Every time you break a stem while trying to dig it out, the portion of it remaining underground will regenerate more stems

Similarly, if you apply herbicide to kill this weed and follow it up with pulling it out, it will undo all the effort of the herbicide and this weed will start sprouting and expanding again.

– Do Not Cover It With Mulch Bark

Covering a weed with mulch bark will often kill it by depriving it of sunlight and air. Horsetail, on the other hand, actually thrives under the conditions that a layer of mulch provides: airless, moist, low pH with little to no nutritive value.

You might be startled to see that covering horsetail with mulch bark has quite the opposite effect than the one intended, as it will start growing more vigorously than ever.

– Do Not Cover Horsetail With Black Plastic

A lot of people try to kill horsetail weed by covering it with black plastic. They think this will lead to the death of this weed by blocking access to air and sunlight. This approach is totally wrong as plastic wrapping provides horsetail with just the right cultural conditions that it needs. Soon enough, you will find a forest of horsetail growing under your plastic covering.

Conclusion 

Killing horsetail weed is no easy feat. Remember to keep the following points in mind while you’re at it.

  • The horsetail plant is a very aggressively growing species of weed.
  • It is unsightly, deprives your garden plants of nutrients, and is toxic to horses.
  • Apply a herbicide containing glyphosate on this weed to get rid of it.
  • You can also directly use glyphosate mixed with water by either spraying it or injecting it into the weed.
  • A home remedy to kill this weed for a short time is to pour white vinegar at its base and the surrounding soil.
  • Changing the entire soil culture around your property is the only proper way to get rid of horsetail.
  • Start by improving the drainage of your lawn.
  • Increase the pH of your soil by adding a layer of dolomite lime to it. The high alkaline pH of the soil will definitely kill this weed.
  • Always fertilize at least two weeks after applying dolomite lime. Use only organic fertilizer.
  • Some methods that don’t work on horsetail include digging it out and covering it with black plastic or bark mulch.

So what are you waiting for? With our guide and knowledge at your disposal, we’re confident that you are ready to go and finally conquer the annoying horsetail weed in your garden.

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