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There is a right chemical for almost every plant disease and most pests. Nature offers numerous beneficial and environmentally friendly ways to take action against such pathogens. This includes, for example, preparing and using plant broths. In this regard, hobby gardeners appreciate not only the nettle, but also the field horsetail. Thanks to the natural active substances and ingredients, horsetail broth can be used very effectively to strengthen plants and thus prevent fungal diseases and pests.

horsetail broth

Make horsetail broth

Making a horsetail broth is straightforward. The field horsetail, which is native to this country and is a true all-rounder when it comes to natural plant protection, is used. Horsetail is not often found in gardens, so the herbs required for a broth usually have to be collected from the wild, although they are also sold in dried form in the shops. Dried herbs are also suitable for making a corresponding plant broth.

  • August is the best time to collect fresh horsetail
  • The active substance content in the plants is then at its highest
  • also for drying the herb, ideal in summer
  • only the green, above-ground shoots are collected
  • about a kilogram of fresh herb and 10 liters of water are required
  • of dried herb approx. 200 g is sufficient
  • Now chop the collected herbs into small pieces
  • put the crushed plant material in the water
  • preferably use rainwater
  • Bring water to a boil and cook intensively for 60 minutes
  • Cover the pot during the hour-long cooking process
  • Cover is designed to prevent too much water from evaporating
  • then let the boiled brew steep for 24 hours
  • in the next step, pour or filter the mass through a sieve
  • Dispose of plant remains in the compost
  • what remains is a brownish brew in a concentrated form
  • Now dilute the brew as needed and apply to the plants
Winter Horsetail, Equisetum hyemale

If the horsetail broth is to be used to combat pests such as aphids or spider mites, the cooking time is reduced to 12 hours. The addition of 0.3% soft soap can, if necessary, increase the effect of the broth, especially against these two pests.

field horsetail extract

If the effort involved in making or preparing a broth from fresh or dried herbs is too great for you, you have the option of buying ready-made field horsetail extract and using it according to the manufacturer's instructions. When preparing a brew made from fresh herbs, you should know that it only has a limited shelf life. If it stands longer, it starts to ferment and it becomes sour. In this case, it must be used like liquid manure and diluted more depending on the intended use.

Tip: When chopping up the plants, it is advisable not to use the best knife or one that can be easily re-sharpened. Field horsetail contains a lot of silica, which dulls knives.


Effect of horsetail decoction

Field horsetail (Equisetum arvense), also known as horsetail, horsetail, ponytail or scouring herb, is a very stubborn weed that is difficult to control and can crowd out other plants. Nevertheless, it is not only valued by organic gardeners for its excellent effectiveness. And if you can't get rid of it completely, you should come to terms with it and take advantage of its positive qualities. What makes horsetail so valuable for plant health is its ingredients.


In addition to saponins, flavones, trace elements and traces of alkaloids and rare dicarboxylic acids, it is above all the mineral components, especially the silicic acid contained, that are responsible for the good effectiveness. Horsetail is one of the plants with the highest proportion of silica. It is about 5-7.7%, of which 10% is present in the plant in a water-soluble form. With increasing lignification of the plants, however, the silicic acid content decreases, making it all the more important to pay attention to the right time for collection. You can actually feel the high proportion of silicic acid when touching the plants, because it is responsible for the slightly rough surface.

Giant Horsetail, Equisetum telmateia


Possible uses of this natural pesticide

As already mentioned, horsetail broth is mainly used preventively to strengthen plants. The silicic acid contained is absorbed through the leaves or roots of treated plants, depending on whether it is sprayed or watered. This strengthens the cell structure of the affected plants and improves their resistance to pathogens. It is becoming increasingly difficult for fungi and pests to penetrate and damage the plants.


Problems with fungal and animal pathogens can occur on very different plants. The most common causes of an infestation are unfavorable site conditions or errors in care. Perennials and roses can be affected as well as fruit trees and vegetable plants. Fungal diseases that can be prevented with a decoction made from field horsetail are leaf spot disease, late blight, leaf blight, leaf curl, powdery mildew and downy mildew, gray mold, apple scab, Monilia disease, rust fungi and blackspot.

For fruit and vegetables

  • Spraying on potatoes and tomatoes against the dreaded late blight
  • both types of vegetables are particularly affected by this disease
  • Late blight, by far the most common fungal disease on tomatoes
  • Treat trees such as peaches, apricots and nectarines to prevent leaf curl
  • Horsetail broth is effective against powdery mildew, a fair-weather fungus
  • Powdery mildew can occur on both useful and ornamental plants
  • Tomatoes, cucumbers and various types of lettuce, for example, are at risk
  • Field horsetail also improves the resilience of pome and stone fruit
  • both types of fruit are susceptible to rust fungi and monilia disease (peak drought)
  • Peak drought, one of the most stubborn fungal diseases of pome and stone fruit

Of roses

This field horsetail decoction is also very useful for roses, which are relatively frequently attacked by rose rust and black spot. Incidentally, blackspot is the most common rose disease. The black-brown spots on the leaves, which vary in size and spread out in a star shape, are typical of an infestation. Because of these spots, black spot is often referred to as black spot disease.

To prevent disease, the leaves should be treated with horsetail broth in the form of sprays as soon as the leaves sprout. Regular and early spraying, once a week, can harden the roses. This prevents fungal pathogens from gaining a foothold on the plants and infecting them.

Tip: The location of the rose, the condition of the soil and the right care also play a decisive role so that the use of these home-made plant broths can be successful.

Winter Horsetail, Equisetum hyemale

Against pests

As far as pest control goes, freshly made horsetail broth does not act directly on pests. Even with these animal pathogens, it can usually only be used preventively, but not to combat them. Horsetail can be helpful in repelling aphids, spider mites, red spiders, leek moths and mites.

correct application

Applying horsetail broth is simple and straightforward. It is finely nebulized, sprayed directly onto the entire plant population and applied to the ground, i.e. the root area. So that it can develop its full effect, it is diluted in a ratio of 1:3 or 1:5 (1 part broth/5 parts water). In the case of endangered plants, treatment should begin as soon as the leaves sprout and be repeated at 14-day intervals.

water sprayer


The broth can be used on all green parts of plants until autumn. After each rain, the plants should be treated again. If there is an acute risk of fungal infestation or if a corresponding disease breaks out, it is advisable to spray the affected plants intensively with this brew for three consecutive days.

fruit and vegetable cultivation

For use in fruit and vegetable cultivation, it is recommended to apply three sprays in winter between the end of November and March, preferably during a short thaw period. Where lime paint is unfavorable, horsetail broth can also be used to protect fruit trees from frost cracks, moss and lichen formation and animal damage as well as from fungal and pest infestation. For this purpose, an existing recipe for tree painting can be prepared proportionately with horsetail brew or supplemented with it.

Tip: It is particularly useful and recommended to apply horsetail suds after years of persistently wet weather. Then the risk of the outbreak of the disease is particularly high.

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