Horsetail ranks up with quackgrass and Himalaya blackberries as one of the most invasive and problematic weeds in maritime gardens. It is perfectly adapted to our climate. The wide-spread root systems make it almost impossible to dig out completely. Even if we were to recommend herbicides in this instance, Equisetum is not greatly effected by the commonly-available ones.
This herbaceous perennial primarilly spreads by its invasive, fleshy roots. Around April the plants will send up stems tipped with a spore-producing cone, but the spores are mostly sterile. These brown stems are distinctive because they lack chlorophyll.
I must admit it is an attractive plant - when it's not in my garden, that is! Persistent hand-pulling or hoeing will afford some control. Digging out the roots can temporarilly eliminate it from your garden beds, but it will likely come back from the surrounding area.
Do not add this weed to your compost! Dispose of it in the trash.
We're all way too familiar with it. This fleshy-rooted perennial is perfectly adapted to our climate. If you're persistent you may be able to control it, but eliminating it completely is well-nigh impossible. It's very striking, though, and less-invasive species are sometimes cultivated intentionally!
Species: various (hyemale is the most common)
Common Name: Horsetail
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This page was last updated November 18, 2013