Horsetail Weed Removal


Horsetail is a perennial weed that spreads through deep rhizomes. According to Ohio State University, the rhizomes will spread 330 feet horizontally and 20 feet deep. This makes the weed difficult to remove. Mechanical cultivation will spread the weed as each broken rhizome will produce a new plant. Removal of the food source generally is the best cultural control. Herbicidal control is an annual process because of the deep root systems.

Step 1

Remove the tops of the horsetail plant, within two weeks of the green plant's emergence from the soil, by cutting them off at ground level with the shovel. The lack of the green shoots will restrict food intake to the rhizome root structure.

Step 2

Practice the green shoot removal for period of three to four years for effective cultural control.

Step 3

Layer the area with a plastic sheet as mulch to heat and suffocate the weed. Cover the plastic mulch sheet with a wood bark material to hold it in place.

Step 4

Apply the herbicide dichlobenil to the horsetail plant. According to Washington State University, the most effective time of year for this herbicidal application is in mid-winter. Many herbicides have proven ineffective to the horsetail plant. Consult your local agricultural extension service for other herbicide control in your area and climate.

Step 5

Follow all label direction in the application of the herbicide. Repeated chemical treatments will be necessary to eradicate this noxious plant.

Tips and Warnings

  • Keep livestock away from areas that contain horsetail. The plant produces heavy toxins in the green matter from the above ground shoots. Fresh plants have proven to kill livestock. Hay produced from fields containing horsetail has also been fatal horses that eat the contaminated hay. Keep humans and animals from all areas treated with any chemical.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Plastic mulch
  • Wood bark
  • Herbicide dichlobenil


  • Ohio State University: Field Horsetail
  • Oregon State University: Field and Related Species
  • Washington State University: Chemical Weed Control for Home Grounds
Keywords: animal toxic plants, rhizome plants, noxious weeds

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.