30 APRIL 1954, Page 14

Country Life

A FEW fortunate gardeners are unaware that there is such a nuisance as mare's tail, but I am not one of them. 1 toil to get it out of my garden, I watch for its new growth and I never win. The smallest fragment will spread if overlooked, and even if one lifts every piece in the soil the roots outside the boundary are ready to encroach before the season is over. I was delighted, therefore, to receive some guidance on the matter from Sir Gilbert Upcott, who lives in Highgate, where, on the eastern slope of the hill, the weed grows luxuriantly from a damp sub-soil. " My pro- cedure has been digging and copious liming, spring and autumn," he says. " In summer the bed has been planted with dahlias, asters or antirrhinums. Whenever mare's tail shoots appeared among the plants or between the stones of a rough rockery which surrounds the bed, I have painted them with neat Verdone using a fine brush. This treatment seems quite deadly." Although another reader says Verdone is good but does not affect the roots, 1 am hopeful that liming and painting together will discourage mare's tail for good. Digging certainly helps. In places where one cannot dig deeply the weed thrives.