Destroy field horsetail in the lawn and garden

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Destroy field horsetail in the lawn and garden: garden

Basically, Acker-Schachtelhalm deserves a great deal of respect for its multifarious advantages. However, if the prehistoric rhizome geophyte has chosen your garden as your home, the joy is limited. With vehemence, the richly branched green plant is about to conquer your green oasis. Combat proves to be extremely difficult, exhausting and time-consuming. Nevertheless, the venture is not completely futile. Read here how to destroy field horsetail in the lawn and garden.

Why is the fight so sensitive?

Acker horsetail has been colonizing the earth for more than 370 million years. Thus, the fern-like plant had a sufficiently long time to develop the optimal survival strategy. This consists of a generative and vegetative propagation that is hard to beat in terms of efficiency. Distantly related to ferns, horsetail produces shoots between March and early May, densely populated with brown spores. With a height of 5 to 20 cm they remain comparatively small and die off after dusting. Previously, the microscopic spores have distributed millions of times in the bed to allow a new generation to thrive. From early / mid-May, the plant will then drive its summer-green main shoots, densely populated with needle leaf whorls.
Not enough, Horsetail also uses the vegetative propagation by means of foothills. The powerful rhizomes not only drive up to 2 meters deep into the ground, but also expand horizontally. These shoots then sprout numerous young plants. Those who want to tackle classic weeding, are in for a lost position. As long as even a tiny rhizome segment remains in the ground, horsetail drives it off again cheerfully.

Destruction strategies in the lawn

If Ackerschachtel-Halm hogs the lawn, chances are good for complete annihilation. While in ornamental and useful beds in the context of the fight consideration is to be paid to a variety of neighboring plants, here only the noble grasses to pay attention - and they are tough. The following destructive measures can be used individually or better in combination.


The growth of the spur-bearing shoots begins parallel to the beginning of this year's grass season. Regular mowing from March / April to a depth of 4-5 cm, effectively prevents the generative propagation of field horsetail. In the long term, the uninvited plant is so weakened that it retreats.


Scarification is one of the fundamental measures of lawn care in spring. With a special device all weeds, such as moss, clover and even horsetail are combed out. Although the deep-reaching rhizomes are not completely covered, this approach - in combination with weekly mowing - contributes to the effective control of field horsetail in the lawn. How to do it right:
  • On a dry, covered day, mow the lawn as deep as possible
  • Then work the green area with the scarifier in checkerboard pattern
  • Combine and dispose of all combed plant material
  • After 8-10 days of regeneration, fertilize the lawn and water
In this case, do not dispose of the combed weed on the compost. Since there are segments of field horsetail, the weeds from the compost heap look for their way back into the garden. Small amounts go into the household waste, larger amounts take the urban
Composting plant on.


Field horsetail favors soils with an acidic pH between 4 and 5, while turf achieves its optimum at a pH between 6 and 7. Use a straightforward test kit from the DIY store to check the current soil acid value of your troubled green area. In addition, a high amount of moss signals an acidic pH, so that two birds are cut with one stone with well-proportioned liming. They extract the livelihood from both grass weeds.
Tip: If a lawn is covered with clover, this drawback indicates too high a pH. The application of lime in this case does not produce an effective control effect on horsetail, but only aggravates the clover problem.

Combat in the bed

Field Horsetail - Equisetum arvense

A first step in destroying field horsetail in the bed tends to be similar to grassland control. Consistently eliminating the shoots with the brownish sporangia between March and May, at least keeps the further spread in check.
Tip: The distribution of lime for the destruction of field-horsetail to raise the pH, is only useful if the neighboring plants are lime-compatible. Ornamental and crop plants, however, prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil.

Digging / trenching

If a bed or a complete area has fallen victim to the invasion of Horsetail, digging or the more intensive stalking promises a lasting annihilation, if it concerns still young plants. If the rhizomes have not penetrated more than 2 spades deep into the ground, proceed as follows:
  • Cut the horsetail as deep as possible with the scythe or mow it off
  • Dig a 2 spade sheet deep trench, across the working surface
  • Clean the soil from the first furrow with a sieve and pile it on the side
  • Throw the digging of the second trench through the sieve and shovel it into the first furrow
Following this pattern, proceed to the last furrow that is filled with the excavation of the first trench. It is important to note that the sifted horsetail pieces are not disposed of on the compost.

Change cultural conditions

As Acker horsetail prefers lean, wet and cold soils in addition to an acidic pH, experienced hobby gardeners make their uninvited guest as uncomfortable as possible. As far as the neighboring plants tolerate, the conditions in the garden are changed so much that horsetail hardly or not at all prospers. The following procedures have proven themselves in practice:
  • Fertilize regularly with mature compost, horn shavings, guano, manure or bark humus
  • Consistently mulching with nutrient-rich materials, such as spicy tomato shoots, manure or horse apples
  • Prevent waterlogging by regularly raking and incorporating sand, fine gravel, compost or expanded clay
Since horsetail is one of the Sun worshipers, it does not like half shady or shady locations. The planting plan for endangered or already infested sites in the garden should therefore include deciduous shrubs or other towering growths that overshadow Field Horsetail.

Prevent photosynthesis

An equally dramatic and effective method of destroying horsetail in the garden eliminates vital photosynthesis. In concrete terms, this means that the plant is cut off from the necessary sunlight for a longer period of time. Although this process lasts for several months, it results in the permanent destruction of horsetail. How to proceed:
  • Absorb or mow the affected bed deeply
  • Spread out black, completely opaque film
  • Lay individual film webs with an overlap of at least 10-15 cm
  • Cover the edges and corners with stones or fix with ground anchors
So that the underground rhizomes find no way out under the folio ceiling, this should protrude at least half a meter over the edge of the bed to be fixed there. If even a single ray of light reaches the horsetail, photosynthesis and proliferating growth continue unhindered. Expect the first positive results after 6 months.
Tip: So that the black foil blanket does not affect the visual appearance of the garden, spread over it a layer of bark mulch, decorative pine bark or ornamental gravel.

Home remedies act punctually

In order to cope with a large-scale infestation of the garden with field horsetail, classic home remedies run into the void. In order to destroy individual plants punctually, the handle in Grandmother's bag of tricks is worth a try. Since horsetail does not tolerate salt, sprinkle the plant parts and the root disc with salt. The traditional combination of salt and vinegar is also an option, as long as it is not a sealed or paved area. Deep water is boiling water that is poured on the plant and its rhizomes, if it is a young plant.

Herbicides: Greed Free by Neudorff

The tenacity of Acker horsetail has so far triumphed even over the ingenious manufacturers of chemical weed killers. Anyone who questions the database of the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety for an approved herbicide will receive a blank page as an answer. However, as horsetail belongs to the dicotyledonous weeds to which Giersch is also attributed, herbicides that target them may be successful. Company Neudorff offers with 'yaw-free' such a special weed killer. In a similar direction, Compo company is targeting the herbicide 'Vorox Gierschfrei'. Since these preparations develop their effectiveness only for one season and come along with considerable impairment of man and nature, their use will certainly be well considered.
In the course of its evolution of more than 370 million years Acker horsetail had enough time to acquire the optimal survival strategy. It is therefore not easy to bring the vehement propagation urge of the lush green plant under control; not to mention a complete expulsion from the garden. Nevertheless, troubled hobby gardeners are not entirely lost. The consequent removal of the spore states at least exerts a weakening of the geophyte. In addition, measures such as regular liming, digging, rigging, fertilizing and dewatering will provide acceptable long-term success. The covering of the bed with black foil has an annihilating effect, because photosynthesis comes to a standstill.Classic home remedies, such as salt and vinegar, fall far behind in their effectiveness behind and combat field-horsetail only punctually and temporarily. Who does not shy away from the grip on chemical herbicide, is well advised with anti-freeze Neudorff or Compo, which also prepares field horsetail, at least for a season.

Video Board: The Field Horsetail Challenge.

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