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How To Kill Horsetail Weeds

Horsetail weed is a perennial weed with deep-rooted roots, making it extremely difficult to eradicate.

It requires just a tiny piece of root to produce a regrowth, and it is further characterized by waxy coated leaves and spread through spores.

How can you kill horsetail weeds in your garden and keep your animals, especially horses, safe?

Despite being difficult to eradicate, some ways can kill the weed, each with varying success levels.

This article contains fully researched information on the best and effective ways to eliminate this perennial weed.

Continue reading to the end and get to learn step-by-step ways of addressing this gardening problem.

Top Five Methods of Killing Horsetail Weeds

horsetail weed spray

1.    Use of chemicals

As a perennial weed, the use of herbicides can be a great way of eradicating this weed.

The common weed killers are glyphosate and Kurtail Evo.

Other chemicals that can effectively kill the horsetail weed from the rots are 2, 4 D Amine, and Halosulfuron-methyl.

This method is effective if you inject the chemical directly into the weed.

However, if you have numerous of them, it can be tedious and time-consuming.

The alternative is to spray the weed.

Given its waxy stem and leaves, you can effectively implement this process in the following steps.

Step 1

During winter or early spring, cut down the weeds before they develop spores.

This is done if the weed is above 20cm high and to buy time to reach summer.

The chemical process requires ample time to impact the weed effectively.

If applied during winter, the chemicals will be washed off by the rain and snow before removing the weeds.

Step 2

Wait until the weed regrows to a height of about 15 to 20cm.

Step 3

Hurt the weed by pruning and wounding the stem.

Since the branch and the leaves are waxy coated, spraying the chemicals might not be effective.

The purpose of hurting the plant is to create spaces for chemical entrants and effectively kill the weeds

Step 4

Use herbicides like glyphosate or Kurtail Evo to spray the weeds.

Ensure you follow the manufacturers’ instructions on how to mix the chemicals for effective results.

A highly diluted solution will not kill the weeds.

Spray until the plant is fully covered with a medium spray.

Step 5

Check if the weed is completely dead.

Usually, it takes about 1 to 2 weeks to turn brown and longer to disappear completely.

You can check if it is dead by plucking a small branch near the ground.

If there is some green in it, give it more time.

Step 6

After turning black, remove it from the garden and throw it into the bin or burn it.

Also, avoid using it to make a composite due to its ability to regrow.

Step 7

Annually repeat the process to prevent it from regrowing.

After a while, you will have eliminated the horsetail weed from your garden.

Other chemicals that can effectively kill the horsetail weed from the rots are 2, 4 D Amine, and Halosulfuron-methyl.

2.    Organic method

organic weeding


If you prefer the organic method, altering the environmental conditions can be effective in discouraging the regrowth of weeds.

Regular mowing can effectively minimize weed regrowth.

However, it is advisable not to mow the weed when it has already developed spores, because doing so will only spread the spores.

Block the oxygen and the sun

What if they grow in an area you cannot mow?

In this case, you can block the sun and oxygen.

You can do so by using a landscaping mat, tarp, or black trash bag.

By smothering the weeds, they will slowly die.

However, this process takes time to kill the weeds effectively, and the patient is required. 

Uproot and dispose

Alternatively, you can pull and dispose of the horsetail weeds.

If you do this, ensure you properly dispose of the weeds to minimize the possibility of spreading.

The best way is to burn them.

Improve drainage

Improve soil drainage by filling any soil depression that can potentially hold water.

Also, you can dig up a perimeter ditch to direct water from the garden.

However, during water redirection, ensure that you do not direct it to your neighboring garden as it is contaminated.

Remove mulching

If the spores fall on this material, they can easily spread the regrowth of horsetail weeds.

Thus, it is best to eliminate all mulching and plastic components below the weeds and burn them.

3.    Use Dolomite lime

garden lime

Following the package description, apply the lime at the base of the weeds.

If the instructions are not clear, dolomite lime is usually used at the rate of 2 pounds per 100 square feet.

After that, wait for about two weeks and apply fertilizer.

If applied together, they will neutralize each other, hence becoming ineffective.

It is recommended to use synthetic fertilizer, aged fertilizers, fish, or composite materials and create a 2-inch layer.

Repeat the process every year until you eliminate the horsetail weeds.

Protective gear

When handling dolomite lime, it is essential to have the following protective gear.

  • Gloves
  • Plastic bag
  • Goggles

What to Avoid When Eliminating Horsetail Weeds

Hydrated lime – When buying lime products, it is essential to avoid purchasing hydrated lime.

First, read the description to ensure the mention of calcium or magnesium.

If it lacks magnesium, the lime is not dolomite and contains a hazardous element that might affect breathing.

Avoid digging or uprooting – If you want to eliminate horsetail weed effectively, avoid uprooting or digging it up as it will facilitate the sprouting of more weeds than before.

Avoid mulching – Covering the weeds will instead create a warm and moist environment necessary for the weeds to thrive.

Avoid applying glyphosate at least one to two miles from the drinking water source.

If you are eliminating horsetail weeds from a pond, consider using herbicides as decaying weeds can reduce oxygen circulation, resulting in your fish’s death.

4.    Use of Vinegar

horsetail weed spray

Vinegar can be used as a natural weed killer.

Take a specified amount of vinegar and mix it with dish soap.

The purpose of the dish soap is to ensure that the vinegar sticks to the leaves.

It is essential to injure the weeds so that the acetic acid can effectively attack the leaves and stems.

Unlike herbicides, vinegar can only kill the stem, and the leaves and roots are unaffected.

This strategy is to stop the regrowth and spread of the weed but not to eliminate it.

For effective results, use horticultural vinegar as it contains about 15 to 20% acetic acid.

5.    Apply Casoron Pre-Emergent Weed Killer

The best way to control the spread of horsetail weeds is to kill them while young.

Cameron Pre-Emerging Weed Killer is an excellent choice for killing emerging perennial weeds.

As the name suggests, it kills them even before they appear.

After applying, keep watering as this chemical is effective when fully soaked into the soil.

Final Word

horsetail weeds

Some strategies for killing horsetail weeds are short-term, while others are long-term.

If you are searching for ways to kill these weeds in the short term, choose natural or organic strategies.

However, to eliminate this nagging weed from your garden, use proper chemicals in the right ratios for effective results.

Also, ensure you have appropriate PPEs while handling the chemical.