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Mare’s tail - help!

(16 Posts)
Ginismyfriend Mon 22-Apr-19 17:31:10

I have recently taken over a new allotment - no idea what I’m doing generally but it’s a mass of mare’s tail. I dug out a patch and put a raised bed in, but it’s already coming back there and given the rest of the plot is covered in it I guess it’ll just spread anyway (?).

Can anyone advise on what to do to make even a small section workable this year? I think even if I could get a quarter of the plot into a state where I could grow some courgettes it would feel like a good start smile. And how should I tackle the rest? I had no idea something could grow so fast!

Madratlady Mon 22-Apr-19 17:38:37

It’s indestructible. Dig out what you can as deep as you can and keep at it and it might thin out a bit but without some serious chemicals you’ll not make much difference.

Tarrarra Mon 22-Apr-19 17:40:46

I think with weeds like this you have to just keep digging it up. Eventually over time it will subside. Sadly it's just hard work and hand weeding that is going to work in this case. Once you have cleared a patch, then cover it over with old carpet or a membrane.

Ginismyfriend Mon 22-Apr-19 18:04:45

Thanks so much for your replies! I’m right I’m thinking there are no weed killers I can use if I’m planning to grow anything on an area any time soon? I have no idea how close you can use weed killer to areas you’re actually planning to use. Someone on the allotment was talking about using glysophate (?) but then vanished again before I had chance to ask how and when...

SunnySomer Mon 22-Apr-19 18:14:34

I was advised (by a very eco garden designer) that the only way to properly get rid was to repeatedly use glyphosate “before it is banned”. She said it’s best targeted in the autumn when it is strengthening its roots: you need to break the stalk a bit with a spade then the maximum poison goes to the roots. I gave it a real go last year and so far have seen no sign this year but am watching very carefully.
Not ideal for growing veg this year and I suspect you’re not going to want to use poison, but I understand it’s the only thing that will wipe it out. Good luck

peridito Mon 22-Apr-19 18:18:52

Maybe look here

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/gardening/3554454-What-is-this-weed

www.progreen.co.uk/sbk-brushwood-killer-kplus-water-conditioner-bundle

Ginismyfriend Mon 22-Apr-19 18:28:13

Wow that thread is depressing grin but useful. Thanks all for the advice. So I’ll dig up what I can for now and then think about trying to blitz it in the autumn. Or maybe embrace it and publish a mare’s tail cookery book...

userxx Mon 22-Apr-19 21:02:27

I know someone who's had issues with this, hardcore chemicals was the only way to treat it.

flomp Mon 22-Apr-19 22:46:20

I got rid of the prehistoric bugger using ammonium sulphamate. You can only buy it as a compost accelerator theses days but it worked like magic. Don’t think you’d be able to grow veg for a couple of months after tho.

peridito Tue 23-Apr-19 10:50:05

Flomp yes ! Seen this said somewhere else ! Can you tell us more ?

RezCowgirl Tue 23-Apr-19 21:47:02

It survived the ice age, not much will kill it properly. You just have to keep digging it trying to get as much root which go down about 12ft as you can.

tittysprinkles Wed 24-Apr-19 17:26:50

I have some in one of my borders. I just keep digging it out. Over time it has subsided but still pops up here and there - whenever I see it I just pull it out. The plants I have put in have suppressed it quite a bit. I tried glyphosate but it didn't kill it, the stems are very waxy. Don't put it on the compost heap otherwise it will spread everywhere again. It might be worth growing crops that you can start off in modules and plant out, rather than sow directly, as tiny seedlings might get disturbed by the horsetail and your efforts to dig it up.

Cedar03 Thu 25-Apr-19 09:18:25

I have it on my allotment and it is annoying but you can live with it. I don't think you can kill it with weedkiller - or you can't eat anything on the plot if you really use strong stuff and as we are coming into peak sowing season it is probably not the best time to try it anyway.

We just cut/dig out the bits we see in the spring/summer. Collect the roots/shoots separately and do not compost. I've had my allotment for about 5 years and the amount we get is much less than we used to. I've not experienced any problems with planting/harvesting provided you keep on top of weeding it/cutting it back.

Ohyesiam Thu 25-Apr-19 09:44:44

Our neighbour sprayed heavy duty weed killer about 7 years ago, and now the only weed growing there is mares tail. It will find its way.

I have a plot full of it, , well I should say had. I did the Charles Dowding method, he is the no dig gardener.
His method to get rid of perennial weeds( ofwhich mares tail is the hardest) is to cover with 6 inches of horse manure, then a light excluding plastic sheet( eBay)It takes several years I’m afraid, but I grew courgettes through holes in the plastic each season.
His website is really helpful, and he will come on the forum to answer tricky questions.
I really don’t think anything else works, I battled with this plot for 10 years previously , double digging 5 to 7 times each spring. Apparently the roots can go 20 feet deep!

We get our horse much from a local stable, and I don’t think we ever got it as deep as 6 inches. We also have to barrow it about 200 feet as that is the nearest we can drive to the plot. It’s a long game, but hopefully worth it.

wowfudge Thu 25-Apr-19 11:26:44

It does seem to prefer poor soil ime - areas where we'd enriched the soil were less affected. On the plus side, it's only around for half the year.

Onesmallstepforaman Sat 27-Apr-19 16:39:55

Unfortunately, the roundup(glyphosate) available to non licensed users will not finish off marestail. IF you can get hold of the professional product, which has 480ml/litre glyphosate content, can bruise the plants before application you can gradually win. There is another professional product ICADE which will work in a programmed approach. Until January 2019 there was a product called Kurtail gold, which, with a water conditioner was very effective. It has now been removed from market.

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