Exploring the Impact of Ragwort on pasture land. Delve into the ecological nuances, potential risks and management strategies surrounding ragwort, a polarising presence in pasture landscapes.
What is Ragwort?
Ragwort is an invasive weed that spreads rapidly by the seeds in the wind. Although Ragwort is not a particular issue in gardens, it is in pasture land as it is poisonous to horses and cattle which also can make it difficult for haymakers making sure their field are ragwort free.
Identification & Occurrence:
Ragwort is a tall plant, growing up to 3ft. It has large flat-topped clusters of yellow, daisy like flowers from July-October time. For the rest of the time, Ragwort is at its Rosette stage where the plant is a dark green colour with curly-edged leaves.
Where some annual and biennial weeds can be eradicated by hoeing or cutting the tops off, ragwort will only thrive and keep forming new side shoot rosettes. This will in turn produce even more vigorous growth the following year. Plants that have been cut pose a serious threat to grazing animals and can still set seed. If the plants have been pulled out, it will only solve the problem temporarily as the remaining can root will produce new shoots. The best method of control is chemical control.
Chemical spraying needs to be done routinely as ragwort seeds can remain dormant in the soil for up to 15 years. It is also very important that although each chemical has it’s own exclusion period to keep grazing animals off, they cannot be returned until the dead plants have been removed as they will still cause harm to the livestock.
We recommend using a strong, selective herbicide such as Barrier H or Thrust. A total herbicide (Roundup Pro Vantage for example) may be used, however this will also kill the grass.
For more information on controlling Ragwort, please get in touch with our sales team on 01522 246491.