Giant Hogweed Identification

WHAT IS GIANT HOGWEED?

Giant hogweed is considered a noxious weed, as the sap of giant hogweed can cause blisters, scars and in severe cases, blindness. Like other invasive plants, it was introduced to the UK as an ornamental plant in the 19th century.

WHY IS GIANT HOGWEED A PROBLEM?

Giant hogweed is harmful to health and the environment. It hampers the growth of other plants in the habitats it colonizes. It destabilizes ecosystems and contributes to bank erosion. It should never be seeded, planted, propagated or transported. Contact with its sap can cause painful skin reactions similar to burns. If required to handle it, you should wear gloves, long trousers, and long sleeves.

HOW DO YOU REMOVE GIANT HOGWEED?

These are the two methods we use in the control and eradication of Giant hogweed:

First Method – Chemical Spraying / Stem Injection
The herbicide spraying / Stem Injection methods are implemented during the Growing season between the months of March to August. These control programmes can take several years to achieve total eradication, including checks for new growth.

A word of caution Giant hogweed contains sap that is released when the plant is cut or by brushing against the plant. Contact with the sap causes skin to become sensitive to sunlight, resulting in painful blisters which appear up to two days after contact and may reoccur for several years.

Second Method –Excavation/ Digging up.
When clearing a contaminated area of Giant Hogweed soil, you may need to remove soil up to 4 metres away from the plants and to a depth of 0.5 metres. Regular site visits will be needed to check for re-growth. If re-growth is present further spraying should be undertaken before the plants flower. If the plant has grown above 1 metre then it should not excavated by hand.

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