How to Get Rid of Horsetail Without Killing Other Plants

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Things You'll Need

  • Shovel

  • Tiller

  • Rake

  • Landscaping fabric

  • Scissors

  • Landscaping pins

  • Mulch

  • Herbicide

Use sterilized potting soil when planting to reduce the risk of horsetails popping up in contaminated soil.

According to Washington State University, horsetails are perennial weeds that spread from creeping root systems. Because there are 30 different species within the horsetail family, you could be dealing with several varies types popping up in your lawn or flowerbed. It is important to remove these weeds from the lawn to prevent them from crowding out other plants or stealing the nutrients meant for your flowers or grass. Leaving horsetails in the yard can result in unhealthy grass, stunted seedling growth or harm to your flowering plants.


Step 1

Press a shovel 3 inches away from the base of the horsetail stem and at a depth of 6 inches to push the weed from underneath. Use your hands to pull up any leftover root system.

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Step 2

Till the soil, and use the back of a rake to smooth out the top.

Step 3

Lay a piece of landscaping fabric shiny side up next to the flowerbed or lawn area where the horsetail was growing. Landscaping fabric will prevent horsetail seeds from germinating. Cut the landscaping fabric to fit the size of the area or the flower bed. Create X-shaped cuts in the landscaping fabric for pushing your ornamental plants through the material. Spread the landscaping fabric over the bed or area.


Step 4

Press landscaping fabric pins around the perimeters of the fabric. Push a pin every foot and four pins though the middle to secure the fabric to the soil.

Step 5

Spread a 3-inch layer of mulch over the landscaping fabric. Monitor the fabric throughout the growing season to ensure that pests do not create holes.


Spray a herbicide that contains glyphosate to kill horsetail weeds in areas that are free of vegetation such as driveways.


Remove horsetails immediately if you have livestock, because all species are poisonous.


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