Ragworts is a biennial / perennial poisonous weed that produces attractive yellow-flowered plants.

  • Common Ragwort: senecio jacobaeais is the most widespread type of Ragwort.

  • Oxford Ragwort: senecio squalidus - common in waste places and dry pasture.

  • Hoary Ragwort: senecio erucifolius - dry pasture weed.

  • Marsh Ragwort: senecio aquaticus - found in wet meadows, moorland pasture, ditches and marshes.
Common Ragwort
Ragwort in Flower

All parts of these plants are toxic and care should be taken when handling them.

Similarly, these plants can cause livestock such as horses and cattle to suffer a slow painful death from ingesting any part of the plant including the seed.

The Ragwort Control Act 2003 imposes a duty of responsibility on landowners living near pastures to effectively control the weed and prevent it spreading onto grazing land.

This pernicious weed is not easy to control, one method of control is to cut them down early i.e. before they flower and set seed.

Cut plants should be removed and burnt otherwise they still pose a serious risk to grazing animals that may try to eat them.

This method of control is quite effective in reducing seed production but can result in more vigorous growth the following year.

Pulling plants out of the ground is practical where weed numbers are low, but pieces of root remaining will re-grow.

All parts of the plant/s should be burnt and not left to compost.

Various herbicides are available which should be applied when the plants start new growth, or in late autumn just as new seedlings are emerging.

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