The Q&A Archives: Weed Control

Question: How does one get rid of horsetails without using herbicides?

Answer: Horsetails (Equisetum) are one of primitive survivors that spread by rhizomes, deep roots, and spores. The male plants are erect, with a cone-like top and the females are tall with narrow leaves radiating out from the stem. It looks like a bottle brush. The plants prefer growing in moist soil, so improving the drainage may help starve the plants out. If you continually chop the stems down assoon as they appear, the roots will eventually run out of energy and will wither and die. Just keep at it, and don't allow the stems to grow tall enough to mature, or spores will scatter over the area and start a whole new colony of plants. I've had good luck just mowing mine down every week or 10 days. It took one entire season, but the weeds are permanently gone.

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