En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - January 16, 2012

From: Los Angeles, CA
Region: California
Topic: Invasive Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Horsetail Rush invasive in Santa Monica CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants: I live about 3 miles from the beach in the Santa Monica area and have an 18inch deep planter area in my backyard that is adjacent to my garage. I like the look of horsetail rush. I see it used often in planters adjacent to buildings and think it would work but am concerned if it's roots are aggressive. Any input would be appreciated.

ANSWER:

There are 11 members of the genus Equisetum, horsetail, native to North America, of which 5 are native to California. Since they all have similar habits, we will use Equisetum hyemale (scouring horsetail) as an example. According to this USDA Plant Profile map, it is native not only to Los Angeles County, but also to every state in North America, Alaska and provinces in Canada, as well as Greenland, so we can be assured that it will thrive in your area. But that really wasn't what you wanted to know; you were asking if it could be aggressive, so we'll look a little further for that.

We already know that this is a moist places, standing water plant, and is considered definitely invasive in those spots. But we thought that perhaps being planted in a planter would minimize the danger of that. However, before you make a decision, you should read the comments in this Dave's Garden forum on Horsetail scouring rush. It is not a pretty picture.

You can get more information from this article on Equisetum hyemale by Earl J. S. Rook, including the fact that it spreads both by rhizomes and by spores.  This sounds like if the right hand don't get you, the left hand will. From the comments we saw, you probably are not too safe thinking you will just give it a try, and see how it does, because apparently, once you have it, you HAVE it.

Generally speaking, we feel that the best way to control invasive plants is to never plant them.

 

From the Image Gallery


Canuela
Equisetum hyemale

Canuela
Equisetum hyemale

Canuela
Equisetum hyemale

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Deer resistant, Shaded Privacy Hedge for Wakefield RI
September 12, 2013 - We recently removed the dead undergrowth of white pines that were used for privacy. We need advice as to what type of evergreen would be suitable for growth beneath the branches above. It is VERY shad...
view the full question and answer

Chile pequin not ripening to red from Marlborough MA
September 14, 2012 - I have a healthy Chile Pequin in Marlborough, MA, flowering and fruiting profusely. But, the fruit are not ripening to red, as did their parent plants in Florida. Fruit go from green to deep purple ...
view the full question and answer

How does Asclepias asperula (antelope horns) respond to fire
December 18, 2010 - From your experience with prairie burns, how does Asclepias asperula (antelope horns) respond to fire? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Texas natives to plant in July and August
July 23, 2008 - My husband and I have a disaster of a lawn that we were planning to develop slowly, over time, with a sustainable design we contracted from a landscape designer. However, we are having to move out of...
view the full question and answer

Moving School House lilies in Austin
March 02, 2009 - I live here in Austin in zipcode 78729. I have a clump of School House lilies in the back of the garden. I would like to move them to another bed under a tree. Is this a good time to move them? Should...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center