Monday, 6 August 2012

Garden Waste: Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed & Ragwort. Invasive Species. Weeds Act 1959. Ragwort Control Act 2003.


When Rambulation received a long-awaited brown garden container from Cornwall Council, there was a warning, without pictures, in the accompanying leaflet: 

'No Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed, Ragwort or Common Ragwort can go into your garden waste. They are invasive species'.

Rambulation is not a gardener, and needs to know what these dreaded things are and what they look like.
Her new container is spurring a bit of action.
Readers of Cornwall Brief and upcountry ones too, for that matter, may also want to know.
Direct Gov. describes invasive species: “They upset the balance of the ecosystem, as they are bigger, faster-growing or more aggressive than the native species.

                        JAPANESE KNOTWEED

Knotweed in close-up view

Cornwall Council website is an excellent source: it is interesting, informative and gives the local take on things. For example, it says that Japanese knotweed is known locally as donkey rhubarb. Rambulation happily quotes bits from it.   Japanese knotweed is hard to control, as it grows so fast. It has become a serious problem in a range of habitats, particularly roadsides, riverbanks and derelict land, displacing native flora and causing structural damage..    


Giant hogweed grows mainly in areas of damp soils, like river banks. It can have adverse effects on skin following contact. Symptoms are usually noticeable within 24 hours, including blisters and swelling on the skin, which may be made worse by exposure to the sun.


Ragwort is harmful to, and can kill, horses and livestock if eaten by them. All parts of the plant are poisonous.Ragwort, as a native plant, is very important for wildlife in the UK. It supports a wide variety of invertebrates and is a major nectar source for many insects.

Cornwall Highways spend nearly £100,000 each year clearing ragwort from verges.
That’s good use of our Council tax.

In researching this article, Rambulation learnt there is a Weeds Act 1959, and the Ragwort Control Act 2003.  And now, if you have managed to get this far, so have you.