Mare's Tail, equisetum arvense sometimes known as Pipeweed has been around since pre-historic times with some fossilised remains being found in coal seams.
It is formed from an underground rhizome, and can be found most anywhere, and in all types of soil.
The creeping rhizomes can reach 2m (6ft) or more into the soil.
Once established,these roots are usually too deep to dig out, thus making it difficult to control.
If when digging these roots out the stems breaks off, the part remaining, will readily regrow in the same way as most rhizomous plants do e.g. couch grass.
Branded chemical controls containing Dichlobenil,Glyphosate, Glufosinate, and / or Ammonium sulphamate will help to eradicate the weed.
A few do’s and don’ts:
Apply with care as these herbicides are non-selective and may kill off adjacent plants.
Always use according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Apply dichlobenil based products in early spring, this hopefully, will kill off new growth.
Apply glyphosate, glufosinate or ammonium sulphamate based products in late summer when weed growth is rampant.
Prior to application of all herbicides, trample on plants to bruise the cuticle, this will help with herbicide penetration.
Further applications may be required later in the season or the following year.
Digging it out is virtually impossible, as mentioned above as any pieces that are left will regrow.
Having said that reasonable results can be achieved over two or three years if the young shoots are hoed off as they appear.
This tends to weaken the plant and it eventually dies off.
It will also prevent the head maturing and spreading spores!
Mare's Tail has insignificant leaves and does not compete well in shade produced by demanding plants e.g. plants that are gross feeders and / or create deep shade under their leaves. e.g.potatoes.
Although they can be found in most types of soil they seem to succeed less in very rich fertile soils so improving the soil and constant hoeing may kill it off.
Making the soil a bit more alkaline can also help that is increase the pH to above pH 7.