What is Horsetail?
Commonly miscalled mare’s tail, Horsetail a highly invasive species found throughout the UK. Because it requires minimal resources, it can grow quickly in almost any location, outcompeting local flora and adversely impacting on local biodiversity.
Is Horsetail poisonous?
Horsetail is toxic, poisoning and potentially killing livestock that grazes on it, making horsetail removal a particular priority in the eyes of the farming and agriculture industries if found on land.
Horsetail plants are made up of masses of tall, thin, light green leaves growing from a single step.
Both leaves and stem are rough to touch. Fully grown, horsetail can hit 60cm in height. The plant’s growing season begins properly in March and lasts until the winter.
The plant reproduces by releasing spores, and as a result it can spread great distances. Horsetail is able to grow through tarmac and cement surfaces and commonly causes damage to driveways and paved areas. This combined with it’s toxic nature and potential to poison and kill livestock, means there could be severe implications if this is spread to adjoining agricultural land.
There is currently no specific legislation covering Horsetail, but this is likely to change at some point in the future due to the potential for action to be taken against developers who do not remove this plant from sites prior to development.
How to get rid of Horsetail
There are a number of herbicides suitable for controlling Horsetail. These chemicals are most effective when the weeds are actively growing, usually between April-October. In order for chemical treatments to be successful, consulting a professional is recommended.
Our team of specialists undertake all chemical treatment options with caution, ensuring that safety standards are met and the surrounding ecosystem will not be harmed.
Manual control methods are best used when chemical treatment is not possible. They include cutting back Horsetails during the summer to prevent spores spreading, and pulling out or digging up the plants entirely, taking care to remove the whole root, rhizomes and contaminated soil matter.
As Horsetail is poisonous to livestock, it’s important that all waste is disposed off at registered disposal sites, in accordance with the Duty of Care regulations, made under the Environmental Protection Act, 1991. In all cases, we monitor your premises for up to five years following treatment.