How to Get Rid of Field Horsetail


Field horse tail (Equisetum arvense L.) is a garden weed that flourishes in wet soil conditions. The weed is extremely toxic to horses, sheep and cattle when consumed. The plant is easily spread by the wind blowing spores and its rhizomes/tubers. Small pieces of rhizome left in the soil can also easily grow the weed. Field horse hair can leech gold, copper, lead, zinc and cadmium from the soil which accumulates in the foliage. The mineral deposits give the plant a very course feel.

Step 1

Cut the field horse hair off at ground level. Promptly dispose of the plants foliage in a plastic bag.

Step 2

Spread black plastic sheeting over the ground to prevent the field horsetail rhizomes from growing. The black plastic will help to kill the rhizomes in the soil.

Step 3

Mow the grass regularly to prevent the field horsetail from growing and producing seeds. Mowing the weed close to the ground repeatedly will limit its growth and reproduction.

Step 4

Apply the herbicide glyphosate to field horsetail using a garden pump sprayer. Glyphosate is sold under a variety of brands. Mix according to the directions on the label. Be careful to not get glyphosate on surrounding grass or flowers because it will readily kill whatever plant it touches. Reapplication of the herbicide throughout the summer will be necessary as the weed grows back.

Step 5

Spray MCPA, which is a mix of Agritox, Agroxone, Chiptox, Rhonox, and Weed-Rhap, onto field horsetail. MCPA is a toxic herbicide that should be used with care. Follow the directions on the label for application. MCPA can safely be used on bluegrass and pasture grasses, but will kill field horsetail.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning sheers
  • Black plastic sheeting
  • Herbicide glyphosate
  • Garden pump sprayer
  • Plastic bags
  • MCPA herbicide


  • Garden Organic: Field Horsetail
  • Hill Gardens: Ridding The Garden Of Horsetail
  • Northwest Perennial Alliance: Persistance

Who Can Help

  • University Of Wisconsin: Biology and Control of Field Horsetail
Keywords: field horsetail control, killing field horsetail, erradicating field horsetail