horsetail weed

hi all me again
i have that shoking weed horsetail! its not that bad to look at, like minipine tree.haha. anyway the trouble is i have to keep pulling them u as they are all in my plants.
does anyone know how to get rid of it??
thank
-- montuiiri
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montuiiri wrote:

Keep pulling.
--

Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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There's really not much you can do about horsetales. Keep pulling as much as you can so it doesn't squeeze out wanted perennials, & otherwise consider it lucky it's handsome looking stuff. Its deep rhizomic root system, however, travels throughout the neighborhood as a single gigantic plant erupting here & there along shoots. All you can pull out are the shoots. Because all the plants for several blocks around are really one giant plant, it can repair itself wherever it gets torn up or poisoned or where it gets droughty, nothing phases it permanently, wherever it's at it stays.
In general a swamp plant but I have it growing back under the eaves in an absolutely dry location; it could be bringing water to itself from blocks away, its deep rhizome easily crossing under multiples of sidewalks &amp roads.
I've found it's controlable insofar as pulling it out now &amp then keeps it from crowding out perennials & it's not too often it needs removing; but it is always present in a couple locations providing ferny texture to the garden. A serious chance to get rid of it would require an entire neighborhood to poison it at regular intervals & after two or three years of not giving up, there wouldn't be quite so much around.
-paghat
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On Tue, 19 Jul 2005 15:59:33 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net

Did I mention compost tea and it's effect on reducing horsetales.....
JUST KIIDDING!!!
Seriously we paid $.50 a stem wholesale for floral designs!!! Go figure!!!! Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets. To plant a pine, one need only own a shovel. -- Aldo Leopold
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paghat wrote:

Ho on earth do you tell them from a pine seedling? Now I am worried that some of the "pine seedlings" may be these things--and I need to get rid of them ASAP.
--
Jean B.

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An in-law from Eastern Europe was so thrilled with our horsetail, he said it was a protected species some places. Basically, you can "control" it, but eliminating it requires eliminating every living plant-like organism for several years. Then there is guarantee it won't come back eventually. Learn to love it, or at least tolerate it, or move. (be sure to do an intense study of proposed new location....... Siberia?) Old Chief Lynn in NW Washington State
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Protected?? That might be the jointed or knotted spike rush (Eleocharis equisetoides) often called a horsetail, or the woodland horsetail (Equisetum sylvaticum) or meadow horsetail (E. pratense) or dwarf horsetail (E. scirpoides) & perhaps a couple others vanishing across parts of their ranges, but I wouldn't transfer such protected status to any common horsetail. Some are highly invasive pests (like E. hyemale) spreading wickedly far beyond their natural range, & the most common horsetail E. arvense is distributed throughout the northern hemisphere & much of the southern hemisphere, from the Yukon to Brazil, from Scandinavia to Africa, from Siberia to central China & the Himalayas, & has even naturalized in parts of Australia & Madagascar & elsewhere where it never belonged. It's so plentiful in so many places that it's no more at risk than are dandylions or blowflies.
It was here long before the dinosaurs were here; it'll still be here when humanity is extinct, even if we kill off everything else before we kill off ourselves. "The meak shall inherit the earth" means horsetails & cockroaches.

There's plenty of it in Siberia. None in Antartica though.
-paghat the ratgirl
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paghat, now you're making me feel deprived. I've never seen this plant in Spokane.......maybe it needs a little more than 17 inches of rain a year? (however, i'm not inviting you to send any over the pass).
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They don't often grow in deserty places even though they do often grow in droughty places (along railroad tracks or in train yards is very common for some reason) but there has to be water SOMEWHERE their extensive rhyzomes can reach even if its a quarter-mile away.
However, if you look around hard enough you'll find Equisetum arvense in Spokane County even if not in your own neighborhood. Where I live you wouldn't have to look for it, perhaps in yours it'd be a longer walk to find it.
In the Dishman Hills Recreation Area for example there grows not only E. arvense the classic horse's tail horsetail, but also E. hyemale & E. laevigatum or scouring rush horsetails (from Thomas H. Rogers' list of Dishman Hills flora). E. arvense can be found just about anywhere the least bit moist from Walla Walla to Spokane & throughout the Columbia basin, but there are big ultra-dry areas where it wouldn't send its rhizomes, so always near water even if only seasonal water. It does erupt in seasonally wet then ultra-dry prairies especially where prairies dip a little & hold moisture a while after the rain season, like around Waverly where the prairie goes up & down. Even in the city of Spokane I would lay odds if you followed the river to some point where it's not all paved over on both sides for parking lots & roads & buildings you'd find horsetails among the few things that don't care how ruined the landscape gets; if there's a bit of dirt, & if there's water within a few blocks nearby, the horsetails will survive.
-paggers
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wrote:

Paghat, you're probably correct. As usual! I am not known for my powers of observation, but I do know our County Flower, the horsetail, as I was born and rolled in the stuff for 20 early years. Then things changed, and I lived and scratched ground in amateurish ways in several States, and in several countries on several continents for almost 40 years. Tonight, back home where I started from, in the coolness of evening, I pulled up more horsetail in an hour than I saw in all those other places in those nearly 40 years. It is a blessing, as you suggest, that it is both hardy, beautiful, and kind of fills in where I've forgotten to stick anything else. Do you know if there is any nutritional value lurking here? If it was something I tried to grow to eat, I know it would rapidly develop a disease and the slugs would suddenly find it attractive. But I digress. Old Chief Lynn in NW Washington State
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As a "useful" plant horsetails are also called scouring rushes because they have an abrasive juice good for scrubbing pans.
The common horsetail's tender spring shoots are edible, though reportedly not tasty (tasty would be the peeled shoots of fireweed). The raw shoots contain thiaminase which inhibits the body's use of vitamin B if eaten in quantity (& can be toxic to horses & cattle if they get into too much of it as forage), but if cooked the thiaminase breaks down & is harmless.
Also if you dig down deep you'll see the rising shoots have black nodules, & those are supposed to be edible. Digging them up would take more caloric energy than they would return, but among tribal peoples of Greenland & northern Europe these nodules could be gathered easily by digging up lemming nests, because lemmings stockpile the best parts of horsetail roots in their rodenty larders.
There are also an array of medicinal uses such as for urinary tract problems. A lot of its supposed uses are hooey, but there is good evidence for Equisetum arvense extract works as a sedative & anticonvulsant, & experiments on elderly rats showed heightened problem-solving abilities with E. arvense extract in their diet, due to strong antioxidant activity (if someone came up with a great recipe for Wild Blueberry & Horsetail Cakes that didn't taste like crap, all us old people could regain a couple lost IQ points by gobbling some of those down each day).
One of the more novel uses of horsetails is to extract the juices for use as a fungicide treatment of blackspot on roses & rust on several other sorts of plants.
-paghat the ratgirl
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well after that thorough description I'll keep my eye out for it. I've certainly seen it growing in mass quantity in places like Rooster Rock Park on the Columbia just east of Portland, so I'm quite familiar with the plant itself. I'm pretty familiar with the wild areas along the spokane river and hangman creek, and haven't seen it there - but that doesn't mean that it isn't poking its head aboveground somewhere. In any case, it's not the scourge here that it apparently is west of the Cascades.

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#1 Upon moving back to the Pacific Northwest a few years back, I noticed the driveway preparation next door was prefaced by liberal application of weed/brush killer prior to blacktopping. Next spring, lumpy spots appeared, and guess what, horsetail growing through the asphalt driveway surface.
#2 Built a small (very small) greenhouse with conventional concrete footings, a concrete sub-wall 18" high, and a poured concrete floor, (6" thick to accommodate solar hot water heat). When first spring came, and floor warmed up, horsetail was sprouting through all the floor to wall insulated seams. I let it grow, out of curiosity for the first year, and then pulled it all up. Every now and then, a little green shows. I am so proud! At least the greenhouse is successful in growing something! Old Chief Lynn
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