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Horse Tail: The Weed of Nightmares

Given the nature of this plant. if left unchecked in your garden and in extremes it will destroy your home.

As I write this, it’s early March and Horse Tail is deep in the ground and about to pop and bother you once again.

Common horsetail name: Equisetum

Description: Perennial plant with hollow, jointed green stems and small scale-like leaves.

It looks like a small Christmas tree, four to eight inches tall.


You won’t find anything in your garden with more history than Horsetail.

As far as we can tell, these early Horsetails were 30 meters tall and covered the earth for 100 million years. The horsetail was part of the Paleozoic forests about 542 million years ago.

The Equisetum family is considered “living fossils” as they are the only living examples of living fossils.

So how does Horsetail go from 30 meters tall to 20-40 cm?

The age of large trees ended with an era known as the Permian-Triassic extinction event. A crisis known as the “Great Dying”. This was the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history.

The event took place 252 million years ago and wiped out 90% of species at the time. But not Horsetail, which is still going strong.

Terrain type:

I first encountered this plant on a tennis court where I saw it growing through the asphalt. This will tell you that HorseTail will grow on a wide variety of soils and non-soils, actually. The plant mainly favors wet soils.

The black stems of the plants descend several meters and creep in all directions under the ground. The plant is what is called, gymnosperm, that is, non-flowering. It spreads by casting spores that grow in the spring.

Let me tell you a story:

My neighbor here in Oxford wanted to extend his house. He couldn’t go up because of the height restriction here in the city and he couldn’t go sideways because his house covered all the land he owed.

However, not to get carried away. decided to go down.

So he dug under his house for about 15 feet. Then he stopped and waited for a month to decide how to proceed.

It was early summer and when he next went down to his “cellar” he saw a small green shoot growing in the soil.

She called me to identify it and it was definitely a ponytail, just waiting for a chance to grow. He’s been waiting there all these years deep under his house!


There is no one that I know. Come heat/drought/ice/flood, this plant keeps going.

And the reason you’re reading this is: How to kill it.

The long and the short of it is: you can’t kill Ponytail. However, do not despair because you can control or at least keep it under control.

What you need is a plan and a lot of patients.

Before starting a design, you need to understand the composition of the plant.

The ponytail has survived so long because of its structure. It has a layer rich in silicon and very small needles like leaves.

Thus the plant is protected from external elements. There is no spray that will kill it properly.

Horse Tail has also become poisonous to eat raw, so grazing animals will avoid it.

The plant has a very deep and complex root system, which makes cultural control methods trivial.

In other words, you can’t dig it up because it goes so deep and the smallest fragment of root left will grow into a new plant. So any method of tillage will multiply your problem.

If you want to use chemicals, there is a product called “Kurtail”. This is sold by a company located on the internet: Phone number UK 0800 032 6262

There is no chemical or lasting effect on the soil from the treatment. A liter of Kurtail cost £20 plus postage.

I have seen it used and it took three days to destroy the plant. However, the horsetail is back again next spring when you will need to spray it again.

Don’t waste your money with any other chemical. None of these work, and that rules out “gathering”

The best time to spray Kurtail is when the plant is actively growing (April-October)

Manual control

Here’s my biocide recipe: I fill an oil can with undiluted vinegar and pour the vinegar on the bottom of the plant, right where it goes into the soil, so the plant gets a good drink.

After two days the plant is dead.

I have been doing this on my allotment for seven years now and I find that I can control it. I go around the plot every Friday looking for new growth.

Every year it becomes less and less.

It is the acid content that makes vinegar useful as a herbicide. Vinegar is a non-selective liquid that can kill any plant it comes in contact with, so be careful which plant it comes in contact with.

If you want to use it on other weeds, do so because it works very well, however the earlier in the spring you do it the better.

I do not think; once is enough. Keep it every week for up to ten days.

When vinegar is used, it is consumed by the plant through the leaves and drawn into the roots before attacking the core of the weed and killing the weed.

When I make a mixture to spray the weeds: I use the strongest vinegar I can find and add a dash of fairy liquid. I put it in a spray bottle and apply it to the leaves of the weeds.

How to use Horse Tail

First of all, you should know that if eaten raw, horsetail is poisonous. If you consume too much of this plant, it can cause loss of B complex vitamins, so it is quite toxic. The reason is because horsetail contains an enzyme called thiaminase, this can cause serious health problems.

That being said: Horsetail (which is an herb) is quite widely used as a medicinal aid.

You can make a tea with it and it will help you:

painful swelling




urinary tract infections

kidney cleansing

If you have lung problems such as:

Respiratory problems




cleaning waste that can build up in your lungs

Drinking the tea also helps if you suffer from such things as: osteoporosis or weak bones.

The list is endless. Also talk to your doctor before you start drinking Horses Tail tea.

You don’t have to make your own. You can buy this tea from:

My own experience using Horses Tail is:

I suffer from bronchitis (result of working for years on farms and inhaling hay spores)

Knowing about the goodness of Horse Tail, I went to a herbalist and he makes me a mixture that I drink daily. (5 ml three times a day) I have been doing this since 2010.

I can breathe easily and it is definitely better than what the doctor would give me. an antibiotic.

If you want to get rich little by little

Horse Tail has very deep roots and goes down to feed on minerals that are not available to other plants.

One of these minerals is gold. However, no one has found enough to make it worthwhile

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