Horsetail Reeds (Equisetum Hyemale) in Eichler Atrium
We went ahead and added some horsetail reeds (Equisetum Hyemale) to our atrium recently. I have attached some images although they aren’t great.
We used cinder-block type pavers (about 45 at $0.89/each from HD) to create a narrow trench in which the horsetails were planted. This will keep them from growing against the siding, and creates a nice well-defined space for them to fill.
We will probably cover the pavers with some Mexican beach pebbles when the kids are a little older.
I purchased 30 plants at home depot for about $6/each – that was enough to make them about 3″ apart filling the 1 and a half sides of our atrium.
I used a small level and just stomped the pavers down w/ my feet and added dirt under them until they were well seated, even, and level. That part took a long time.
The post hole digger made it much easier to place each plant accurately.
We are very pleased with this new element in our atrium. it’s fun to be able to finally start adding some design elements to our home and yard after all the hard fundamental work we’ve had to do since we moved in.
Update: I added a drip irrigation system and some black bark mulch to keep the soil moist. They are growing and spreading well – more vigorously where there is more direct sunlight.
Note: they are getting very tall – close to 5′ and tend to fall over fairly often, so it might be advisable to look for a dwarf species if the (mature) height is something you care about.
Update: It’s been close to a year now since I planted the horsetails in our atrium and I can report that the area that gets some sunlight every day is doing MUCH better than the area that is mostly shaded. The shaded plants have barely grown since I planted them. I may give them another year to see if they eventually fill out to make a nice little hedge, but if not I’ll replace them with foxtail fern or some similar low-light plant.
Regarding the height of the plants, I found that just trimming them down to the desired height works fine and I’ve seen that this is what most people do. It results in a neat looking geometrical hedge, but it does require maintenance like mowing the lawn, but less often..
UPDATE: We have since removed this plant as the maintenance becomes too much, and with out maintenance it looks pretty bad. Also it is invasive and starts popping up all over the place. After pulling it out we still have shoots coming up between the cracks of the pavers and anywhere near by.
My recommendation is to avoid using this species and use a ‘rush’ species instead which are not invasive but look similar.