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Nettles

QUICK FACTS SHEET FOR NETTLE
Common Name Nettle
Scientific Name Urtica dioica
Occurence A wide variety of places but they thrive in moist, wooded areas.
Affects

Causes nasty stings and spreads quickly.

Timings Flowers between late April to early October


What are Nettles?

There are two main types of nettle – annual nettles (Urtica urens) which completes a life cycle (seed to seed) within one growing season / calendar year. The other type is a perennial nettles (Urtica dioica) which will continue to regrow, over a few seasons. 

They are single stalked and flower from late April to early October that are easily recognisable by the brown / green tassles flowering in a cluster. These flowers are male or female and are wind-pollinated.

How do they grow?
The perennial and annual nettles grow in different ways. The perennial nettle has a creeping habit, where the roots grow across the surface of the soil and take root. The combination of surface growing and underground roots mean it can spread quickly and become quite a big problem if left untreated. Even if the root is dug up, any piece of root containing a node can produce roots and therefore create a new plant. The annual nettle will reproduce by seed. The actual plant and roots will only last for one year but the seeds sown will produce the next year's crop. The female plant will produce a huge number of seeds. Nettles tend to grow in soils with high phosphate levels and organic matter

Why are they a problem?
Nettles can be found in a variety of environments, but primarily in moist, wooded or open areas including paddocks, roadsides and farmyards. Both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves have hairs which cause a nasty sting when touched but more importantly, they can form large clumps up to 1.2m in height and will compete with other plants for nutrients, light and water and eventually completely take over a garden or field.

How do I control Nettles?
Plants can be dug up and removed, but the easiest method of eradication is by chemical control.

Nettles growing on bare soil or hard surfaces can be killed using a total herbicide which will kill everything it comes into contact with, including grass. For nettles in grassland we recommend using a selective herbicide which will control the target weeds and leave the grass unharmed. Please see the below products that will control nettles.

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