Fighting horsetail (ponytail) and preventing it from coming back

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense), also known as horsetail or loosestrife, is one of the most difficult (root) weeds to control. It grows in all sorts of places and many terraces are quickly filled with it. If the plant is not treated quickly, it becomes a real pest. In this article, we will tell you how to deal with it so that it does not come back.

Recognizes Horseradish

Horsetail is easy to identify on its branched green stems that grow straight up. They just look like small trees or, as one of its names say, horsetail. In addition, they produce light brown stems, with a fertile part on top, filled with ‘spores’. These stems look a bit like mushrooms.

Horsetail control methods

Horsetail has very deep roots, up to 6 meters, with a rapidly spreading rhizome. It makes no sense to remove the above-ground parts only once. The plant stores food in its rhizome and can only be controlled by removing it as well. What works is chopping horsetail away weekly for a year. Removing the parts above the ground again and again will exhaust it as it will not store enough food. Over time, the weeds will disappear. It’s a matter of persevering for a very long time and certainly not skipping a week. Be sure to include the fertile stems. These generally occur in the months of April and May. Doing this before the spores have a chance to spread will prevent an even greater expansion. Because the male stalks appear in abundance after the female stalks have spread their bait.

The female stalks of horsetail

Another way is to cover the weeds (and other troublesome root weeds) with black plastic for 12 months. If it grows on a terrace, it is wise to apply thick foil to a depth of 20 centimeters. You can, for example, use damliner for this. If the horsetail comes outside your garden, you can vertically apply a strip of damliner or strong anti-root cloth.

weeds are useful

Also read: Weeds (sidewalk plants) between the tiles also have benefits

improve the soil

Horseradish grows in many places, but also on fairly poor soil. If horsetail grows in your garden, it is possible that something is wrong with the soil. To prevent the plants from returning after removal, you can improve the soil or fertilize the garden. You can also let the removed horsetail digest on the bottom. Thanks to its long roots, the plant can absorb valuable minerals in deeper layers that other plants cannot reach. These valuable minerals are then released into the soil when the plant parts die. Horsetail also stops growing even when enough minerals have been brought up to the top layer. You can even add minerals to the soil to speed up the process. Lavamel is a good option for this as it contains more than 80 important minerals.

Toxic to animals

Horseradish is toxic to pets, and horses are particularly sensitive to it. This is due to the toxin equizetin and the anti-thiamine factor. Dried stalks between hay should therefore definitely be avoided. Although slightly less toxic in dried form, it still poses a great danger to horses. The symptoms of the disease consist of: increased irritability, insecure gait and sometimes paralysis. Horseradish has some medicinal properties for humans, such as healing wounds faster.

ground cover

Also read: 11 ground cover for decoration and against weeds

Horseradish against fungi

Horseradish has another useful property. It contains a lot of sulfur and silicic acid and can therefore be used to fight fungi. Cultivator Krijn Spaan calls this horseradish tea. You make it by putting 200 grams of horseradish in 5 liters of water and leave it for 1 to 2 weeks. Then remove the horseradish and use the moisture to spray infested plants.

(Source: Krijns groentips, RTL Nieuws,,, De Tuinen van Appeltern, archive. Photo: Shutterstock)

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