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Q:

What is the fern-like weed growing in my mulched flower beds?

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What you’ll see is a perennial weed that reproduces itself through creeping rhizomes and spores. The rhizomes are attached to tiny underground tubers. The plant has two forms; vegetative and reproductive. The vegetative form produces shoots which can reach up to 2 feet tall. The shoots are jointed, and have whorled branches at each joint. Branches are jointed and look somewhat like a coarse elongated pine needle. The plant resembles a small evergreen tree. The reproductive form is a rush-like plant. Shoots are hollow, jointed, branchless and leafless with a toothed sheath at each node. The fruiting heads contain masses of tiny greenish spores in a pine cone-like structure. Tubers begin to emerge in July and gain in size until the first frost. The reason for the problem is the plant called Horsetail (Equisetum arvense). It is among the oldest plants on earth. Horsetail thrives in many habitats and is just at home in wet, poorly drained areas. It never produces flowers or seeds; rather, ... more
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