how to Kill Horsetail Weeds

How To Kill Horsetail Weeds

If you have horsetail weeds invading your lawn, then you’ll know how annoyingly difficult it is to remove them. They’re deep-rooted and grow rapidly – in some cases overnight!

There is a solution…

You’ll need to use a weed-killer that has halosulfuron-methyl or 2,4 D Amine in it. These substances get right down to the roots of the weeds and kill them for good. Alternatively, to prevent horsetail weed surface growth, you can use something as simple as vinegar. Plus, you can always just pluck them from the ground.

But it would help to know if the weeds you’re looking at are actually horsetail. Plus, there are a few tips and tricks we’ll run through so you can attack these weeds from all angles.

So, let’s take a more in-depth look into these deep-rooted invaders…

How to Identify Horsetail Weeds

Horsetail is a perennial type of weed that has round little spiky leaves. It also stands with upright shoots and looks a little bit like a horsetail of all things, but we think it looks more like a brush.

When it’s just beginning to grow, horsetail weed will look more like a pine tree branch, but the coloring will be a more intense green.

Since the weed is part of the fern family of plants, it can grow in various soils, and it doesn’t need particularly much light to thrive. Yet, be aware that if your soil is high in acidity, it’s probably the reason why you have a horsetail weed invasion. Also, if the soil has lots of sand or clay, it can promote horsetail growth.

Different Ways to Kill Horsetail Weeds

You can do a few things to prevent and kill horsetail weeds as part of your lawn care routine. We’re sure if you employ all of these methods, you’ll get rid of your horsetail weed problem for good.

Improve your soil

Improving your soil is the first preventative measure you can take for a long-term solution to stop horseweed wrecking your lawn. It will take time, effort, and money to change your soil’s makeup, but it will be worth it in the long run.

First off, you’ll want to improve the drainage of your soil, as these weeds love saturated and boggy soil conditions. Find any areas in your lawn that tend to fill up more with water, and then dig in some drainage trenches.

Next, you might want to add something like Dolomite Lime, which decreases your soil’s acidity and makes the conditions harder for horsetail to grow. After adding this chemical, wait a couple of weeks to let it take effect before adding fertilizer. If you add them both at the same time, they want to do their jobs properly.

Choose an effective weed killer

Choosing the right chemical weed-killer is crucial if you want to rid yourself of horsetail weeds. Glyphosate-based herbicides don’t work because they can’t get down deep enough into horsetail’s deep roots.

As we’ve already mentioned, the right choice of weed-killers includes ones with 2,4 D Amine and halosulfuron-methyl in them.

Conveniently, 2,4 D Amine can be found in many common weed-killers you can buy at your local store. But if it’s a halosulfuron-methyl-based weed killer you’re after, look for sedge and nutgrass control products. However, if you intend to use halosulfuron-methyl, it may take a good few applications over the course of weeks to entirely destroy horsetail weeds right down to their roots.

Use Vinegar

Using vinegar is a quick way of ridding horsetail weeds – on the surface at least.

A mixture of dish soap and high-strength vinegar will work best. The dish soap is added because it helps the vinegar stick to the plants well, and the acid in the vinegar is what completes the job.

The benefit of applying vinegar is that it’s a non-toxic substance and readily available in the home. Plus, the vinegar’s continual application has been shown to prevent a horseweed infestation from taking over your lawn significantly.

Make sure to choose a vinegar that contains acetic acid – there are actually some horticultural vinegars available made specifically for this job.

Other Key Tips and Tricks

Here are some other general tips and tricks that will stand you in good stead with your battle with horsetail weeds…

Make them vulnerable

Before you apply any weed-killer, it’s a good idea to cut horsetail weeds with either a mower or a pair of shears. The waxy leaves on this weed are notoriously tough and waxy – making horsetail very resistant to weed killers. So when you cut these plants, you make them more vulnerable to the effects of the vinegar or choice of weed killer you’re using.

Catch them young

Another good tip is to catch horsetail weeds when they are young. The best way of doing this is to use a pre-emergent weed killer designed specifically for horsetail weeds. Make sure to thoroughly water wherever you put the pre-emergent, as this will let it soak into the ground and, more importantly, into the deep roots of the weeds.

Look out for shoots

Just when you think you’ve won your battle against horsetail weeds, they can suddenly spring up out of nowhere. So, it’s well worth keeping an eye out for horsetail shoots – especially from late spring to early fall.

The shoots are a mixture of green and brown, and they have an easily identifiable cone on the end. That cone really is the main culprit for all your problems with this weed because it contains spores that will spread all over your lawn and grow new plants. If you see any of these cones – pull them out as soon as possible!

What Won’t Kill Horsetail Weeds

Since horsetail weeds are part of the fern family, many methods won’t work to eliminate them. Here we’ll let you know what to avoid, so you don’t waste your time or money on ineffective treatments.

Hand pulling

It will work as a preventative measure to stop the spores from spreading, but hand pulling will certainly not kill the plant. The roots are way too deep and anchored into the soil for you to be able to just pull out the full plant.

Ground covering

With other types of weeds, ground covering can work to kill them as it prevents them from getting sunlight and creates a low oxygen environment. However, when you cover horsetail weeds, they do the most miraculous thing – their root structures are so profoundly networked they’ll almost definitely find an unexposed area to flourish.

Good old Roundup?

Sorry folks, but Roundup isn’t going to work on horsetail weeds. Due to the plant’s strong waxy leaves, Roundup can’t penetrate past the top layer. And even if you cut the weeds to apply Roundup and it gets into the plant, the glyphosate in this weed killer won’t do much – as horsetail weeds are very resistant to this chemical.

Final Thoughts

There are a variety of methods you can employ to rid your lawn of horsetail weeds properly. Whether they are preventative measures or ones that aim to kill the weed right down to the root, they are all worth considering and possibly using in combo.

Don’t believe that some traditional weed-killing methods will work for you. Horsetail is one of the most resilient and therefore annoying weeds out there, and it won’t go away so easily.

Thanks for stopping by, and we hope you can finally get your horsetail weed problem resolved the right way.



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