Re: Horsetail Roots

Mel wrote:

I have 2 questions regarding horsetail.

I've recently taken over an abandoned allotment.  It's full of horsetail.
The person on the site next to mine said that my plot had been sprayed with
weedkiller sometime earlier this year.  There are only a few horsetail
plants still showing green above ground, however, the soil is absolutely
chock-a-block full of horsetail roots, which are endless in length and more
or less impossible to dig out completely.

However, doing that a bit at a time is still your best chance of success. I would dig out any you feel like while it is dormant when the soil is suitable to work (ie not waterlogged or frozen).

I'd like to take the lazy/easy/faster route and roto-till the plot, but I know that horsetail will grow back from the tiniest piece of root.

My first question is:  At this time of year, would live horsetail plants
still be showing green above ground?

A few might be. It dies back for winter after being frosted.
Waste of weedkiller to hit it now. The roots hold massive amounts of stored energy.

My second question is: If the horsetail are dead down to the roots (fingers crossed) can I presume that they won't re-grow from the thousands of pieces of roto-tilled root?

YOu can presume that, but it will not make it true. The best you can hope for is to remove as much as possible of the roots and then hit every one that shows up with gel formulated glyphosate and/or hand digging. One hit of the entire plot when the new growth has all come through then wait a couple of weeks for it to translocate.

You can't eliminate horsetail completely, but you can control it.

Martin Brown