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Successfully Combat the Poisonous Giant Hogweed

Successfully Combat the Poisonous Giant Hogweed

The giant hogweed has developed into a real plague, the aggressive neophyte is now displacing native plants and is also extremely dangerous due to its toxicity: Even touching the fine nettle hairs can cause severe burns.

Therefore, it is immensely important to destroy the plant as soon as it appears somewhere

No combat without protective clothing!

However, before you get to work, you should first put on protective clothing to protect your eyes, skin, and mucous membranes from the nettle hairs and plant juices. It is important

  • Cover the entire body with tight clothing and closed-toe shoes
  • This also applies to the face!
  • Wear sturdy protective gloves.
  • Safety goggles made of plexiglass and with side protection are also mandatory.

Furthermore, all measures should take place on a day with an obscured sky: Bear’s claw injuries are mainly caused by the influence of sunlight.

Successfully fighting giant hogweed – methods

The giant hogweed can be effectively combated by mechanical methods, whereas the use of herbicides and other chemical substances is generally not permitted – especially not in the leisure sector or near water!

Timely removal of the flowers/seeds

The huge flower umbels of the giant hogweed form up to 50,000 seeds, which are widely distributed by wind, water, animals, or vehicles. For this reason, the flowers must not even reach the stage of seed formation. So separate the umbels of flowers by June at the latest.

Dig up with rootstock

However, it is better and more effective to dig up the whole plant. A sharp spade should be used to dig at least 15 centimeters (5.8 inches) deep into the ground and, in addition to the parts of the plant above ground, the rootstock, which is not unlike a beet – called the vegetation cone – should be separated or completely dug up.

The giant hogweed cannot then sprout again due to the lack of roots. If you want to be on the safe side, remove the layer of soil, dispose of it and apply new soil.

mowing / milling

However, digging up the plant only makes sense for individual specimens. Sometimes, however, larger areas are infested, which then regularly have to be mowed close to the ground and, if possible, milled down to a depth of 15 centimeters (5.8 inches).

Start with this in May and repeat the procedure every ten days – all summer long. If available, graze sheep or goats. The animals do not mind the poisonous plant and they eat it up in good time. The giant hogweed is therefore almost never found on grazed areas.

Safe disposal of plant remains

To dispose of the plant remains safely, you would have to incinerate them. The giant hogweed does not belong in the compost, not in the organic waste, and actually has no place in the residual waste.


Some people scald the affected areas with hot water. In fact, this thermal method is effective, as the heat kills the roots and seeds. However, this also applies to all other plants in the area in question, which is why it is better to use a different method.

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