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Giant Hogweed

Introduction

So what is Giant hogweed?

Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is a hardy perennial plant that was introduced to the UK during the 19th century as an ornamental plant. The first reference to it in the UK was in Kew Gardens in 1817.

Giant hogweed originates from the Western Caucasus in southwest Russia and is thought to have been brought into the UK by 'explorers'.

Giant hogweed has the dubious honour of being the largest herbaceous plant in the UK and can grow to a maximum height of 5m! (an 'average' person is under or around 1.8m in height).

Giant hogweed is classified as an invasive plant. This means that there is legislation in place to prevent its spread, in short this is

 

It doesn't have the same aggressive root system that Japanese knotweed does (thankfully)

How do I identify it?

 

Giant Hogweed Young Plant

How does it spread?

Giant hogweed spreads by seed germination only. This means that it cannot regrow from sections of stem or root, this is good news as it means that rotivating ground or cutting it down with a grass cutter will not cause the plant to spread.

When a Giant Hogweed plant produces a flower and then seed head it is capable of producing around 20,000 seeds (sometimes upto 50,000!). This is why early treatment by a specialist contractor is crucial.

Is it dangerous?

In short, YES it can be or to be more specific the sap of the plant can be. The sap contains photosensitising compounds called furanocoumarins, it is these compounds that can (and usually do) cause burning and blistering on contact with human skin, this is dramatcially enhanced when exposed to sunlight.

What do I do if I think i've come into contact with the sap?

First of all, keep the areas of skin that you think have been exposed covered over and away from sunlight (this is really important!

As soon as you can wash the affected areas with soapy water and rinse, repeat this process a couple of times.

If you get Giant Hogweed sap into your eyes you should immediately wash them using eyewash or clean tap water.

Seek medical advice as soon as possible! ESPECIALLY if it has come into contact with your eyes

How is it treated?

There are various ways to treat Giant Hogweed, the treatment methods are dependant on the time of year, where the Giant Hogweed is and the risk of people coming into contact with the plant (see the above 2 paragraphs).

If you think you have Giant Hogweed, just contact us and we'll be happy to help

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Todays Featured Images
Todays featured Gallery Images

Laying out membrane
this is the BLG CM8 & CM20 membrane being laid out ready for cutting to size for the heating ducts
Laying out membrane

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Work in progress, the chalk walls here are to be repointed using a limemortar
small-basement(1).jpg


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