Rural: Nature Note
Saturday 06 June 1998
Ragwort has taken such a grip in Cheshire, Staffordshire and Shropshire that members of the Country Landowners' Association have started a campaign against it under the slogan "Rout Ragwort '98", supported by the Highways Agency, English Nature and various county councils. The weed is by no means easy to eradicate, for a single plant can produce 150,000 seeds, which are distributed by the wind and can lie dormant in the soil for up to 20 years before they germinate.
Young plants can be knocked out with herbicides, but spraying is liable to exterminate desirable wild flowers as well, and fields treated with weedkillers cannot be used for grazing for several weeks. Cutting is useless, because the ragwort's roots just grow again more strongly. The best answer is the most laborious - to pull or dig plants out one by one, roots and all, and then to burn every scrap.
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