Weeds you don't want to find on your allotment


LATEST UPDATE  Monday 11th September 2017



To recognize and understand these weeds goes someway to dealing with the problem
I will expand and include pictures and treatments as I can find them

Mares Tail-Horse Tail

Japanese Knotweed


Bindweed (Morning Glory)

Sword Grass (Cooch Grass)

All of the above require complete and diligent removal-the tiniest fragment of root left in the ground will regrow.

Use of a Rotavator on plots that show ANY areas of any of these weeds is not recommended this practice will spread the  issue dramatically !!


Japanese Knotweed
It is now a criminal offence to cause the spread of this pernicious weed, it is considered destructive and almost impossible to eradicate, it will penetrate tarmac and even concrete in its search for daylight.

Horse Tail or in Boggy ground Mare's Tail (it's the same weed)

Horse or Mares Tail,( Equisetum Arvense )is, in my opinion, public enemy number one. It looks like it belongs in Jurassic Park and, unchecked, spreads like wildfire.
In spring, brown green shoots appear with small cones at the tips that produce spores. (Arghh – millions of ‘em) and it grows away from creeping thin brown roots that you can hardly see as they are soil coloured. Digging out these roots is not feasible – they go down into the soil for up to 1.5 metres – yes, 5 feet.
Later the ‘leaves’ or tails appear. These will die off as autumn turns to winter and the roots sit there waiting for spring. The leaves have a waxy coat, and because of a silicon  which makes the plant highly resistant to weedkillers. 

I will suggest several options to deal with this and many other persistent and difficult weeds

Organic control method
Before we go into using chemicals and many tenants are averse to such intervention and with good reason- GIANT MARIGOLDS (the flowers not the washing up gloves) have been proven to be loathsome to’ Horsetail’

 Mares Tail cannot tolerate being in the same vicinity of these flowers
It has to be worth a try spread some seeds around the weed area at least it will give a good splash of colour to the plot. Should the Marigolds get out of hand they are at least easy to deal with

Another method suggested by a colleague and worth trying -is to crush the stems -you may use a Roller or your feet-be sure to wash any conact surface thoroughrly, then spray with a 50/50 solution spirit vinegar and water

This method is still under trial and a report may follow on its success ? next season 2018 !

Any Chemical option demands an assured 24 hour

dry weather window

For those who wish to use the chemical challenge, be aware, this is NOT a cheap-quick or easy option. it may take 2-3 or more applications over possibly 2-3 seasons to see a significant result and then continued limited application should it somehow survive.

Crushing the leaves to break up the silica coating  that has supported the endurance of this weed for millemia This action helps any weedkiller to penetrate and become absorbed but in large areas it is not so easy to crush all the leaves. I have recently been advised that by spraying the plant with a strong vinegar solution this also weakens the silica resistance to absorption 

I’d recommend NOT digging where there is horsetail until it is dead for sure. Otherwise it just starts springing up from the root cuttings. Horestail is the correctly applied name to the weed growing on land, whereas Mare’s tail is correctly applied to the weed growing in water.

Never touch Horsetail with a mechanical cultivator. If you do you will understand why it has been around for 60 million years

 ( Please contact the Site Secretary to request the appropriate weedkiller and application


get your Site Secretary and Site Managementt Representative to "LOBBY"the GYGAA Committee to adress this issue urgently

'Kurtail'  (Used to be known as "Kibosh"
This seems to be some of the answer

It is systemic, being taken down to the roots and I understand it is neutralized/deactivated by contact with the soil. It is not approved by UK organic standards but I heard some European countries DO allow it in organic standards.

This was the effect of 1 Application of KURTAIL on a plot on Row 5 a few years ago after just 10 days

Sadly the AA committee could not see their way to continuing the treatment

Control and Eradication
the initial results (using Kurtail) are impressive
This 3 image series is of the area top right in the first sequence

This image adequately demonstrates the need for an accurate spray lance to ensure best results

Half  hearted efforts may be absolutely ineffective.

Pressure must be applied to the Association to eradicate this weed

In the the case of 'horsetail' doing nothing may surely result in the plot becoming un-usable within a few years- and many of the other 70+ plots on the site, it can be that invasive.