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La Jolla Mom - How Do You Kill Giant Horsetail | Home Gardening

Killing Giant Horsetail – My Giant Nightmare

killing giant horsetail equisetum

I am hoping that someone can help with our home gardening nightmare.  We installed new landscape a few years ago.  A designer from a local nursery recommended giant horsetail for one area of my yard.  She swore up and down that the expensive chemical Bio Barrier would keep the giant horsetail from spreading into the rest of my yard. WRONG! It’s everywhere.  I was just too naive at the time to question her.

I can’t keep the giant horsetail under control.  I’ve tried RoundUp, digging it up, Remuda, Brush B Gon and a few other garden chemicals that don’t work.  I’ve read about liming but the San Diego City Weed Expert (I can’t remember his real title) said there is already a lot of lime in our water and that I shouldn’t do that.  His answer was to cut off the top of each new horsetail stalk, and shoot a syringe full of Brush B Gon down the center of it.  Well, I’d be out there every day for multiple hours if I followed his advice.  I did try it, but with no success. I don’t want to handle poison like that.

Any ideas? If you had or have horsetail in your hard, how do you control or eradicate it?

  • Fruit Trees - August 1, 2009

    1. There are two things about all the horsetails that make them hard to kill. The first is that they are extremely waxy. This means that weedkillers tend to run off them before they can do any damage. The second is that they have huge root systems which store enough food for them to regrow several times…

    2. Therefore you need to either use a gel weedkiller or mix a glyphos based weedkiller with washing up liquid so the plants are wetted. (You can also damage the stems and then spray as the poison will enter the wounds). And you will have to do the same with the regrowth when it is about 4″ high. And again and again and again… perhaps as much as 5 times.

    OR you can cut the horsetail down and then cover it with a light-proof membrane such as old pond liner, weed prevention fabric, old carpet etc. Leave it for a year or so and the horsetail will be dead.

    The problem with both methods is that unless you kill all the horsetail it will re-invade. So, when you have killed it all….

    you might like to sue the nursery :-)

    Good luck…

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I'm Katie Dillon, a freelance luxury travel writer who lives in seaside La Jolla, CA. This is where I document my recent trips around the world, the latest San Diego happenings and other fun lifestyle topics. Thanks for stopping by!

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