Q: Any advice about getting rid of mare's tail?

A: I have heard gardening advisers say that the best remedy for those suffering an infestation of mare's tail - also called "horsetail" (Equisetum arvense) - is to move house. This weed ranks alongside the most difficult when it comes to control.

Something you might like to discuss with your pesticide consultant is Progreen's Kibosh. It is non-selective and kills all grass and broadleaved weeds it comes into contact within approximately seven days. It gives users complete control of perennial weeds, including thistle and couch grass, and is said to be particularly effective on mare's tail.

Kibosh contains 150g/litre of glufosinate-ammonium and degrades after contact with the soil. Planting or sowing can therefore be undertaken immediately after application, except on sandy, very light or immature peaty soils, where waiting three days would be beneficial.

Its concentrated formulation means a little Kibosh goes a long way. Mixing 25ml with one litre of water in a knapsack will give sufficient to cover 50sq m. It is available in 500ml and one-litre packs.

Kibosh is for professional use only. To access the product label and safety data sheet, see www.progreen.co.uk.

Q: What is the best way to sharpen bypass secateurs (brand unknown)?

- Johanna, Cheddington.

A: You could ask your local machinery dealer whether they offer a sharpening service. If you want to sharpen the blades yourself, I recommend you purchase proper tools - such as the Felco 902 sharpening stone and Felco 903 tool.

Sharpening stones and tools are essential to the good care of cutting heads. They ensure a good cut and a longer life for the blades and also minimise the cutting effort required. Felco's 902 is a mediumand fine-grained high-purity corundum sharpening stone. The 903 is for sharpening, strengthening and honing the cutting edges.

For the future, if your work involves a lot of pruning with secateurs, I recommend you look for a pair with replaceable blades. Swiss-made Felco secateurs are still the industry's favourite. They are effective pruning tools and comfortable to use. What's more, spares of the blades, springs, nuts, handles and other parts are available. For further information, see www.burton-mccall.co.uk and then click on the Felco logo.

- John Deere Gator HPX update

In the review of utility vehicles (HW, 29 October), we recorded our dislike of the metal rod catch that secures the tailgate on the John Deere Gator: "Bad points? The catches on the tail gate. They twist, come out and get bent. Maddening."

We can now report that the latest models of the John Deere utility vehicles are now supplied with a new composite load bed design with a proper tailgate latch. Thanks for listening, John Deere.

- Sally Drury has reported for HW and its forerunner GC&HTJ for 28 years and has spent more than five years testing machinery for HW and What Kit? The advice in this helpline is independent.


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