The field horsetail is a horror for many gardeners because it likes to spread further and further through the garden. In the following you will find out how you can fight horsetail sustainably and get suggestions for the relaxed handling of the field horsetail, which is actually very useful.

Field horsetail – extremely widespread

Horsetail are one of the more perennial plants once they have established themselves in the garden. They spread vegetatively via rhizomes and also reproduce via spores.

The formation of spores is already a good trick: if the horsetail decides to form spores instead of sexual reproduction via seeds, this is the first step on the way to “unrestrained spread”. Because seeds can only be used for reproduction if an ovary is fertilized by pollen. Spores, on the other hand, simply grow in capsules under the leaf. They cause asexual reproduction. The spores form on the spore-bearing shoots in spring. When ripe, every gust of wind spreads them.

The rhizomes grow below the surface of the earth, with field horsetail up to two meters below the surface. There they grow horizontally through the ground and can reach considerable lengths. The rhizomes of some horsetail grow up to 6 m long. A new horsetail can emerge from every piece of rhizome, even if the rhizome is no longer connected to the mother plant. This brief botanical outline suggests it. Fighting the field horsetail is not for wimps.

Avoid spore formation and destroy plants

You can easily prevent the field horsetail from reproducing via its spores. The spore-forming shoots look very different from the green leaf shoots. They are brownish and only carry the spore receptacles, a kind of small piston. Overall, the spore shoots resemble failed asparagus spears that have grown upwards. They also appear before the actual leaf shoots (March to early May), which begin sometime in May to cover the entire area like an impressive collection of vegetable feather dusters. So you can simply mow away or tear up the spore containers before they have formed the spores, i.e. as soon as you see them. If you waited for the spores to mature, you would still be helping the field horsetail with the mowing or tearing up as it reproduces.

If the “green feather duster” appear later, you can also remove them by mowing or tearing them up. This is e.g. B. A fairly relaxed way to deal with field horsetail in the lawn. If you have taken over an unkempt lawn, you can largely push back the horsetail through frequent mowing and lawn care, which promotes the living conditions of the lawn grasses and at some point produces a good sward. You will definitely not eliminate the horsetail this way. The real problem is the rhizomes.

Fight in the short term

You can only push back the current, excessive stock if you prevent the field horsetail from multiplying. The rhizomes must also be prevented from developing into a new field horsetail. To do this, heaps of tips are posted on the Internet, the usefulness of which is briefly examined below.

Soil fertilization

Again and again I read that horsetail can be driven away by regularly soaking the soil with fertilizer. Horsetail is not said to thrive well on richly fertilized soil. As evidence, it is stated that the field horsetail has already been exterminated in agriculture on many fields as a field marginal plant. This “proof” is deceptive, as it actually proves something completely different. In our agriculture, the soils are often over-fertilized to such an extent that even such a robust plant as the horsetail puts its hands on it.

Please don’t do this to your garden soil. If you apply so much fertilizer that even field horsetail has no chance, you have hopelessly overfertilized your garden soil. The next weeds that specialize in extreme conditions may grow on such soil, but not much else.

Chemistry = pesticides, weed killers

Unfortunately, the field horsetail is one of the plants that is quite successful in resisting the contamination of our environment with toxic chemical substances. You will certainly be able to slow down the growth of the horsetail with the strongest weed killers approved for the home garden and maybe even drive it away at short notice, but you can be just as sure that the field horsetail will greet you again in its old freshness next year.

Field horsetail has proven to be extremely resistant to chemical weed killers. To this day, there is no known agent that can really drive him away in the long term. Actually not entirely illogical: You would have to penetrate the garden soil to a depth of two meters with poison in order to catch every rhizome particle.

Vinegar essence

A field horsetail will die if you spray or pour vinegar essence over it. At the same time, however, your wallet could also die. If a neighbor observes you doing this forbidden activity and notifies the public order office, you face a severe fine.

Vinegar essence? Forbidden? Yes, of course, our Plant Protection Act therefore takes care of what we are allowed to use in the garden, because a healthy environment should be preserved. So if you scatter other harmful substances in the environment instead of the legal chemical compounds, you are using banned pesticides and there are fines for doing so. This applies first of all when the vinegar essence gets onto sealed surfaces, where it cannot be biodegraded any more than weed killer, gets into the groundwater and causes problems in the sewage treatment plants. For the rest of the garden, vinegar essence is not exactly a beneficial liquid, but rather aggressive. The crops growing next door will hardly like this kind of acidification of the soil and will be harmed. It is also pointless, by the way,

Table salt

For the idea of ​​sprinkling horsetail with table salt, what has just been said about the vinegar essence applies.

Burn away or pour boiling water over them

If you push her on her body with a burner or with lots of boiling water, every plant will actually be exhausted. Your aboveground life – every physicist will confirm to you that 20 centimeters below the earth only a comfortable temperature is reached, which perhaps stimulates the rhizomes to grow.

Dig up

The variant for muscle men. In fact, if you want to get rid of the braids of a field horsetail, you will have to dig the earth, according to the most pessimistic estimates of the extent of the rhizomes in an area of ​​up to 6 x 6 meters to a depth of about 2 meters. That is about 72 cubic meters of earth, the pit for a medium-sized garden swimming pool. If you want to create one straight away, digging makes sense, otherwise less. You would also have to catch the last piece of rhizome, because if you cut off the tip of the rhizome with the spade, but leave it in the ground, the horsetail will continue to spread in a good mood from here.

The best thing to do is to forget all these tips straight away, if you want to get rid of the field horsetail that is growing in your home, mow it off or pluck it out. In the long term, a different strategy is recommended, which may initially require a little rethinking.

Life with the horsetail

By rethinking it is meant that you could become aware that the weeds in our gardens were “made” by people who earn money using the soil and who feel disturbed by every plant that grows on the monoculture they have created . But monocultures are not natural. Every “weed” is a natural component of the surrounding plant community, within which it fulfills certain functions. Field horsetail regulates z. B. the fungus population in the soil and thus prevents fungal diseases, also on crops. It has a generally invigorating and healthy effect on the soil and plants in the area.

It is up to you whether you really want to follow the definition of weeds, which is no longer common, or whether you want to say goodbye to a “clinically clean” garden and rather work in the direction of a “natural garden”. Here the horsetail is desired as a versatile helper and medicinal plant. A combined strategy is smarter. In which you do not leave your garden to the field horsetail without a fight, but also do not kill yourself when fighting it and even benefit from the field horsetail.

Long-term control of field horsetail

First of all, it is about a sustainable push back of the field horsetail. This includes, as a first measure, addressing the causes of its excessive occurrence. Field horsetail is particularly popular and often appears on compacted and firm soils in which moisture accumulates. He feels particularly comfortable there and can displace other plants. These have better chances of development if you loosen the soil thoroughly. This loosening could be done mechanically, but this would also require regular work. It is therefore better if you start right away with the correct humus care, which changes the soil permanently.

Here the loosening is limited to regular piercing and moving a digging fork back and forth, digging is prohibited. Rather, these loosening measures are supplemented by year-round mulching and by sowing intermediate crops and by applying good, ripe compost. They build up a permeable, but stable, crumbly soil that will make the horsetail disappear over time.

You could support this disappearance by spreading lime on the soil of the affected area. Horsetail does not like to grow in alkaline soils. However, this is a measure that should be accompanied by regular measurements of the pH value and also somewhat restricts your cultivation options in this area. Most plants prefer a neutral to slightly acidic soil, with a pH value between 6.3 and 6.8. This is where most of the nutrients are available to the plants. If you adjust the soil to a slightly higher pH, then you need to plant specialists in this soil who like such a pH. For example cabbage, mustard and poppy seeds.

Use field horsetail

In the course of this slow push back, you will have to keep pulling up field horsetail plants. So you need a recycling strategy for these. There are several of them. The horsetail is an extremely useful plant. It ensures a high nutrient content on the compost (roots only with the right preparation) and fertilizes your plants as a self-made liquid fertilizer. As a component in the white paint for trees, it prevents fungal attack and aphid damage elsewhere. And it is a well-known medicinal plant that is said to accelerate wound healing. He is also said to help against rheumatism and gout and as a tea z. B. can be used for flushing in inflammatory or bacterial diseases of the kidneys and urinary tract.

Whether or not you get annoyed about field horsetail in the garden depends more on your point of view than on the horsetail itself. Eliminating it is almost impossible. Repressing it in combination with its numerous positive effects is a more promising strategy. Incidentally, there are other exciting species among horsetail that show talents for use as an ornamental plant, e.g. B. the winter horsetail and the colorful horsetail.

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