Giant hogweed

Giant hogweed  Image

A CITY-WIDE campaign to tackle a huge invasive plant that can cause blisters and blindness is chopping the problem down to size.

Control measures brought in by Dundee City Council five years ago are beginning to see off giant hogweed.

But the battle goes on, and later this week (SUNDAY) volunteers that want to help tackle the green menace will be put through their paces at a training session.

Giant hogweed is a non-native plant that grows to a massive size whose sap reacts with light to burn and blister skin so badly it can lead to permanent scars.

Introduced to the UK more than 100 years ago as an ornamental garden plant, it has grown into a problem in many urban and rural areas.

In Dundee it is mostly found along the Dighty Burn, although it has spread to roads, railways, waste ground and into gardens. As well as creating a public health issue it also prevents native plants from growing.

The council is taking action to control it and is also encouraging other land owners to tackle the weed which can produce 20,000 seeds from each flower.

Since 2012 when Dundee City Council started mapping places where giant hogweed grows it is has trialled long lances to reach inaccessible locations and identified locations where a second treatment is needed.

Working with Dighty Connect, Dundee Conservation Volunteers and private landowners the council has achieved a marked reduction in the weed.

Dundee Conservation Volunteers are taking pride in their city by searching for any plants missed after spraying and rooting them out. Anyone can help, if they follow simple tips to protect themselves from the sap.

The volunteers will lead a training session, starting at Melfort Place, near Trottick at 10am on Sunday (May 21), for people who would like to find out how to control giant hogweed safely without chemicals.

Anyone who comes along should wear long sleeves, long trousers and sturdy footwear, but all other equipment will be provided.

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