Ragwort control measures


Residents may have spotted the Parks and Countryside Rangers out recently at Frost Folly, removing ragwort.

Common ragwort is a plant native to the UK. It’s most recognisable when the yellow flowers bloom in June to November.

Ragwort is classed as a harmful, or injurious weed under the Weeds Act 1959. This is because the plant can be poisonous to certain animals if eaten. Animals most at risk include horses, ponies and grazing livestock, such as cattle and to a lesser extent sheep.

The occupier of land is responsible for clearing harmful weeds, such as ragwort, where they might spread onto land used for grazing livestock or growing crops.

Cllr John Harrison, Executive Member for Culture, Delivery and Public Protection, said:

“We remove ragwort from our greenspaces, where there’s a risk of it spreading. This includes where the plant is flowering or seeding, and is near land used for grazing, or feed or forage production.

“We also remove ragwort from our hay meadows, to ensure the safety of our customers’ animals when we sell the hay.

“Our Parks and Countryside rangers usually remove the plant by hand, which involves pulling it up by its roots. This work is often carried out with the assistance of volunteers. Ragwort pulling is a more environmentally friendly method than using machinery or herbicides.

“We dispose of the waste responsibly, to ensure there’s no risk of spread by seed dispersal. Each plant can produce thousands of seeds, which are dispersed by wind. The seeds can remain dormant in the soil for several years.

“While ragwort has some biodiversity benefits, there are many other wildflowers in our meadows, that provide food for insects. Our rangers manage our meadows to encourage floral diversity, and help support pollinators, such as bees, moths and butterflies.

“Visit our wildlife and diversity guide to see how we’re supporting local biodiversity.”

Peacock Meadows - photo taken by Stuart Turkington.