Field horsetail in the landscape
Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.
Field horsetail (Equisetum arvense) is a primitive perennial native to North America and Europe. Meadow pine, green foxtail rush, bottlebrush, and horse pipes are other common names for field horsetail. Each year, field horsetail produces two types of shoots: fertile and sterile. The fertile or reproductive stems are short-lived and die back to the ground after spores are produced. Afterwards, sterile stems emerge, grow erect to somewhat prostrate with numerous joint sections along each stem. At each joint, numerous whorls of slender, solid branches are produced. Field horsetail has a deeply positioned rhizome system that is comprised of creeping rhizomes and storage tubers. Rhizomes can reach up to 6 ft in depth in the soil profile. Rhizome fragments, as small as 1 inch, can produce new plants.