Buggering horsetail in my so-called herb border

(14 Posts)
toomuchtooold Wed 06-Apr-16 18:17:16

Any advice/experience? I've recently cleared a little patch near the kitchen that I was going to use for herbs. It's empty at the moment, but I've just seen horsetail poking up in various places.

I was just wondering if anyone has any experience with it, and what you suggest? RHS website says no point trying to dig it out, as it can have roots down to 2m, and that it's best nuked with glyphosate (I know, I know) in late summer.
It's almost definitely spread from the field next door so I'm probably never going to get fully rid of it.

I'm slightly wondering now whether to just put my herbs in pots...

Crikeyblimey Wed 06-Apr-16 18:20:32

We had loads in our old house. Glyphosate did work at keeping it controlled but you have to bruise it all first (squash with foot etc.) and then apply over several weeks.

We never eradicated it but kept it at bay.

Not sure if you want to use glyphosate though but it is a rampant bastard. Sorry.

shovetheholly Thu 07-Apr-16 09:46:03

Oh no, what a pain in the neck!

I think this is one of those plants that involves you in a war of attrition, with CONSTANT VIGILANCE to its presence and spread. grin You may never get rid of it completely, but you can certainly get on top of it. (My Dad had an infestation in his allotment when he took it over, and it pops up regularly - he just keeps weeding it out and it is definitely getting weaker).

I am NOT a fan of using glyphosate on weeds. Far too many people use it too glibly! But I think there are some circumstances where a one-off use (i.e. several sprays over a season) can help you to deal with a pernicious weed. You can then revert to more organic methods. A horihori tool helps.

toomuchtooold Thu 07-Apr-16 12:30:33

Thing is, there's a dirty great uncultivated field next to us so... if we have it, it'll be in there too, and even if I can kill off mine, it can still come over. Aargh! I thought I'd got lucky in this garden! Last one had bindweed. One before that was basically a 10mx20m mass of brambles. It's always something :-)

I'm thinking I might cover the area it's in - just buy or make a large container to plonk on the ground and stick my herbs in that. Next to it is the place I was going to put my rasps - I think I will put down biodegradable mulching fabric and plant through it. I was going to dig in compost but I'm scared I'll hit some of the horsetail and propagate it.

shovetheholly Thu 07-Apr-16 14:12:35

I worry that it will punch through any membrane you put down eventually. It ain't survived since the dinosaurs to be defeated by weed sheeting grin. It's a bit of a miracle of nature, really, but no less annoying for you as a consequence!

However, a combo of mulch, membrane and CONSTANT VIGILANCE might keep it at bay grin.

longdiling Thu 07-Apr-16 14:15:47

We had/have a terrible horsetail infestation in our garden. We moved in last summer and it had been a big neglected. We read that mowing it could help so, partly for that reason and partly because our new garden is huge and overwhelming, we've pulled up and grassed over quite a few large borders. I haven't seen any horsetail coming back yet but I guess there's still time!!

toomuchtooold Thu 07-Apr-16 18:16:20

Shove so do you suggest simply gardening as normal, but keeping an eye out and pulling it up, with an optional glyphosate treatment when it grows in summer? (I read on the RHS website that the spring shoots are the ones that carry the spores and are the ones you really have to watch, while the summer green ones are sterile).

long I saw that too about grassing over and mowing - this bit of my garden is a slope though so I was hoping to avoid having to mow. I was going to underplant my rasps with nasturtiums! It was going to be so lovely! Aaargh.

afterthegoldrush Thu 07-Apr-16 18:19:25

White spirit in a spray bottle - spray the bastard.

The white spirit breaks the tough waxy outer coating of the fucker

Use your chosen weed killer afterwards...

We have this on our allotment but as it is organic we can't use the above so we carefully dig as much as we can out.

But in the front garden it's a different matter - my husband is at war with it!!!

shovetheholly Fri 08-Apr-16 10:20:04

toomuch - I've never dealt with horsetail... bindweed is my nemesis! But yes, I wouldn't let it ruin my enjoyment of gardening. My Dad's allotment (which is pristine) had a terrible infestation and he just stays on top of it with a weekly root-up session. With any weed, not letting it get a foothold (which means not letting it get big enough to photosynthesize significantly) does work. I think you can win provided you do it little and often for the long haul... it will be faster if you bring out the big guns in weedkiller terms, but you'll also be impacting the environment then, which you might not want to do.

toomuchtooold Fri 08-Apr-16 12:08:48

Shove I feel your pain regarding the bindweed - had it in our last garden, and that stuff grows about a foot a day I swear!

Right, I have a bit of a plan. Herbs are going in a container, carry on with my rasps but underplant with grass instead of nasturtiums so I can mow it, and if it's looking bad in late summer I'll get in with the white spirit and the glyphosate.

Thanks everyone!

shovetheholly Fri 08-Apr-16 14:11:19

Yes, and bindweed roots are like EVIL SPAGHETTI!

When I arrive, I stomp up and down my allotment like Mad Eye Moody, finding every tiny green shoot and tearing it out to as much of a depth as I can manage. It does keep it at bay. Trouble is, the plot next door is uncultivated, so those roots will be spreading below ground. This summer may be a challenge.

toomuchtooold Fri 08-Apr-16 15:33:55

Evil spaghetti grin. And I've got evil Christmas trees!

toomuchtooold Tue 26-Apr-16 10:21:34

I've got evil spaghetti too! It's just come up in the bloody rockery. Brambles, horsetail, and bindweed. All I need's a bit of Japanese knotweed and I've got the full house :-(

shovetheholly Tue 26-Apr-16 10:58:56

You'll get on top of all of them toomuch! They don't know what's about to hit them!

As long as you keep ripping them out before they have a chance to photosynthesize and get any stronger, the laws of biology say you'll be weakening them!!

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