How to control Horsetail / Mare's Tail

How to control Horsetail / Mare's Tail

Horsetail can be a problem for landscapers, gardeners, amenity managers, paddock owners and more. Once it has taken hold it is difficult to remove and will spread widely.

Key Facts

    • Common names: Horsetail, mare’s tail, bottle brush, horse tail, horse pipes, marestail
    • Scientific name: Equisetum arvense
    • Areas affected: Moist areas, waste ground, gardens, non-cropped areas
    • Timing: Seen in spring/ summer. Control when approx. 15cm tall, two applications per season when regrowth seen

Understanding Horsetail

What is horsetail/mare’s tail?

Horsetail is an easily recognised upright weed with fir tree like fronds which appears throughout the summer. It can reach to between 20 – 60cm and can spread through its creeping rhizomes and spores.


How to kill horsetail / mare’s tail

Chemical Control Method

Cutting is generally ineffective in killing horse tail and digging can often make the problem worse as each broken root fragment can develop into a new plant. Use of herbicides such as the total weed killer Kurtail Evo or the selective SBK Brushwood are more effective if used correctly. We detail the best chemical control method for killing horsetail / marestail in our blog here.


Natural Control Method

Repeated cutting is generally ineffective on its own in killing horse tail as it has a spreading and and root system. Cultural control methods like digging can often make the problem worse because each broken root fragment can develop into a new plant by itself - multiplying the problem. The horsetail weed can also spread through is many spores.  For more detail on natural control methods of mare's tail explore our blog here.

What do I do with horsetail/ mare’s tail when it has been killed?

Once the mare’s tail has been killed, it can either be raked or cleared away. You should not put any remains of mare’s tail in a compost bin. The best way to completely get rid of the dead plant is to burn it.

Controlling horsetail / mare’s tail

How often do I need to treat horsetail/ mare’s tail?

Horsetail is a very persistent plant. As a result of this it may take several applications potentially over a number of years to completely eradicate the problem.

For more advice on how to deal with Horsetail / Mare’s Tail please call us on 01778 394052 or email us

For more information on Kurtail Evo & KPlus+ click here

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