WSU Whatcom County Extension

Integrated Pest Management for Blueberries

Horsetail

Other Weeds

 

Horsetail

Habitat Characteristics

Field horsetail is commonly found in landscapes, orchards and nursery crops. It can be found grown in multiple soil types, but mostly favors sandy neutral or slightly basic soils and in areas where the water table is high and soil drainage is poor. It can also be found in low meadows, pastures, small fruit crops, roadsides, woodlands, and embankments.

 

Identification

Horsetail is a perennial with 2 stem forms; an erect leafless cone-bearing stem and an erect vegetative stem grows with whorls of leafless branches at the nodes. Leaves are small, scale-like, and black-tipped: 8-12 are joined into a sheath or tube around the stem at the nodes. Stems can grow to 20” or taller. The roots are an extensive rhizome system that can grow to a depth of 5 feet below the soil surface.

Horsetail

Life History

Creeping rhizomes bear tubers to sprout new stems. Reproduction by spores is also possible but not significant for agricultural land. New fertile and vegetative stems emerge in the spring. Vegetative stems die at the end of the growing season, turn black, and are not generally found by late autumn. Field Horsetail does not flower but spores are released during spring once plants reach 12 inches.

 

Management

     Horsetail is difficult to get rid of. The best management technique is to avoid bringing it into a field.

Cultural Techniques

     - Inorganic Mulching, weed barriers

     - Maintain healthy planting or turf area

Chemical Techniques

     - See Herbicide Efficacy Table (pdf)

 

Web References

USDA – NRCS Plant Profile, Field Horsetail
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=EQAR&photoID=eqar_006_ahp.tif

Invasive Species, The Source for Information and Images of Invasive & Exotic Species, Field Horsetail
http://www.invasive.org/browse/subject.cfm?sub=5587

B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Field Horsetail
http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/cropprot/weedguid/horsetl.htm

Weeds B.C., Field Horsetail
http://www.weedsbc.ca/weed_desc/field_horse.html

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WSU Whatcom County Extension • 1000 N. Forest St., Bellingham, WA 98225 • (360) 778-5800 • whatcom@wsu.edu