Horsetail is an invasive weed that’s hard to get rid of once it becomes established in your garden.
And if left unchecked, it spreads quickly. Taking over and crowding out desirable plants.
Most common weeding methods don’t work to control this notorious weed. But fortunately, killing horsetail with fire does.
Why Is Horsetail Hard To Kill?
Horsetail has an extensive root system that grows 5 ft. deep. Making it difficult to remove without leaving parts of the roots or rhizomes behind. And any leftover parts can sprout and grow a new plant. This makes digging it out an almost impossible task.
Because this extensive root system also grows up to 20 ft. in diameter it’s hard to stop horsetail spreading. It can easily grow under garden fences and walls.
To make matters worse, it can even grow through concrete and affect the foundations of your house. So it’s a problem that can’t be ignored.
Killing Horsetail With Fire
Of all the methods you can use to control the plant, killing horsetail with fire might just be the most enjoyable.
To do it successfully, it’s best to use a propane weed torch. It’s quite satisfying walking around your garden scorching and burning the horsetail weeds as you go.
This tool on Amazon is a good weed torch to use:
Using A Weed Torch
Here’s how you go about using it:
Walk slowly around your garden passing the flame over the horsetail weeds as you go.
You don’t need to completely incinerate the horsetail. A quick touch of the flame is sufficient. The weed torch works by heating the plant cells causing them to burst.
For larger and more established weeds, you may need to stop and direct the flame over different parts of the plant.
It’s okay to do this when your garden is wet. Moisture actually increases the effect of the weed torch. And a damp garden means there’s less likelihood of dry debris catching fire.
Be prepared for the fact that the horsetail weeds will probably grow back. Only the part of the plant above ground is killed and not the roots. So like most methods for getting rid of this difficult plant, killing horsetail with fire requires persistence.
Keep an eye out for signs of the plant’s return. And when you see the horsetail shoots start to emerge, flame them again with the weed torch.
Horsetail also spreads through spores. Leafless shoots with domes on top usually appear around April. The dome contains the spores. It’s important to deal with these quickly before the dome matures.
It might take a few years, but you can eventually get rid of horsetail with regular flaming. By continually killing the new shoots as they appear you exhaust the plant so it can’t regrow.
Alternatives For Killing Horsetail
Another popular alternative is using the best herbicide for horsetail. These can kill the plant above and below the ground. Killing the roots and preventing the horsetail from regrowing. But it can still take multiple applications to eradicate the plant successfully.
You can find more common methods to kill horsetail weed here:
- Killing horsetail with bleach
- Killing horsetail with salt
- Killing horsetail with WD40