Field Horsetail (“Mare's Tail”) preventative treatments across the North-West of England and Scotland

Field Horsetail (“Mare’s Tail”) can be particularly troublesome on new developments due to the rapid speed it spreads, with roots of up to 3 metres which can grow quickly. As well as being difficult to control, they are notorious for breaking through tarmac driveways and causing serious damage to property.

After 18 years of experience of dealing with invasive weeds, we have used various methods in the past to control and prevent its rapid spread. We have found the most effective way to combat this is through using CuTex as part of a wider preventative strategy for affected land that we supply in the North of England and Scotland.

Based in the North-West of England, Helmrig Ltd offer the comprehensive treatment on Field Horsetail (“Mare’s Tail”) infested soil.

CuTex – an extremely effective method to dealing with Field Horsetail (“Mare's Tail”)

CuTex is a copper composite root barrier that has proven an extremely efficient method of preventing ingress of Japanese Knotweed. In the past we have used various weed barrier options before adopting CuTex as our go-to method of dealing with this pernicious weed as part of a wider strategy to ensure your land is no longer compromised.

As a permeable, geocomposite root barrier, CuTex still allows for soil drainage while creating a ‘zone of inhibition’ for root growth at the source through safely releasing Cu2+ ions, this creates a localised zone which causes roots to undergo a progressive collapse. Using a specially formulated design, CuTex consists of a copper sheet encapsulated between two high strength geotextiles.

The copper in the material acts as a signal layer that plants can grow from, with only minute quantities of copper released safely into the soil to prevent root growth which will not affect the biomass of surrounding plants. Typically, roots will cease to grow near this around 15mm from the barrier and nearby seeds will fail to establish.

Through installing CuTex during development, this can provide an effective protection from invasive weeds and plants and avoid costly damage in the future from the extremely problematic Field Horsetail (“Mare’s Tail”) This is particularly useful for the construction industry where it is essential to control this invasive native species before laying tarmac.
Recently, CuTex received RIBA accreditation for use as an Invasive Plant Root Barrier as part of a development.


Manufactured by Geofabrics (link), CuTex is an all-round solution to providing a safe and effective barrier to Field Horsetail (“Mare’s Tail”) and Japanese Knotweed. We are proud to represent this product as a distributor across the North-West and Scotland and have found it to give excellent results across a wide range of scenarios.

Root Barrier Effectiveness Report

Root Barrier Comparison Report

CuTex data sheet


Does CuTex inhibit root growth?

Answer: YES

In order to assess whether CuTex can effectively inhibit root growth the University used a range of approaches with different plant species.  Testing in a sterile culture using Arabidopsis Thaliana demonstrated how CuTex creates a ‘zone of inhibition’ whereby roots grow towards this zone, but then ceased at a distance of approximately 1.5cm from the composite.  Even when seedlings were established at different distances all roots stopped at this zone, and seedlings trying to establish within the zone failed to do so.

Does the effectiveness of CuTex increase with time?

Answer: YES

CuTex in soil will effectively form a chemical barrier as the Cu2+ ions diffuse into the soil.  It was hypothesised that the effectiveness of the CuTex increases with time.  This was tested by pre-incubating CuTex in an agar media for a period of 4 weeks following which time seeds were sown.  The plates where the CuTex had been allowed to incubate indicated a much stronger and larger zone of inhibition abolishing the growth of seeds.

Is CuTex safe?

Answer: YES

The bio-safety of CuTex was tested by assessing how it affects the overall health and growth of plants.  Whilst CuTex prevents plants from growing through the composite and within the zone of inhibition, the effects were shown to be relatively localised.  CuTex was not shown to negatively affect the biomass of surrounding plants.

How does it work?

CuTex functions not only as a physical barrier, incorporating strong and durable geotextiles, but also as a chemical barrier.  It acts by releasing Cu2+ ions into solution.  Confocal laser-scanning microscopy and differential contract interference microscopy was used to analyse the morphology of root tips grown in the presence and absence of CuTex.  The results demonstrated that when root tips approach the zone of inhibition they undergo a progressive collapse.  The dividing cells at the very tip of the root (the meristem) die off and the cells above the meristem differentiate.

Knotweed Eradication as part of Helmrig Ltd advise on the most appropriate root barrier designed for your particular situation and can design, and install a superior range of specialist root barriers to meet the varied demands of civil engineering, development and tree related subsidence projects, together with issues with residential properties.

Call Knotweed Eradication the appointed distributors for CuTex on 01772 367 133 for more information and quotation.

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