Native to south-west Asia the giant hogweed grows 8 to 15 feet tall. The plant first appeared stateside in Michigan in 1917 and Britain in the 1800s. Giant hogweed spreads fast once it takes root. To eradicate large areas of the plant costs state programs money and time. Getting rid of the plant sometimes takes several years.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Face mask
- Long shirt
- Long pants
- Paper bag
- Glyphosate herbicide
Dispose the plant properly because it's considered a public and hazardous waste plant. Contact your state's Department of Environmental Conservation for proper procedure.
Wear gloves (disposable if possible), goggles, hat, ski mask or other facial covering, long shirt and pants when removing any part of the Giant Hogweed.
Cut the flower heads with a knife when they appear between May and June and before they turn to seed. The plant's seeds self sow and one flower produces several thousand seeds.
Handle a seeded flower head with care while cutting. Place a large open paper bag underneath the seeds to catch any that fall.
Sever the stalk near the ground carefully in early evening. The roots are hardy and difficult to dig up in larger plants, use a garden shovel to try after removing the stalk.
Buy the herbicide glyphosate produced under the brand names Roundup, Rodeo and Pondmaster and read the directions before applying. This effective control for the weed kills any other plants it contacts in the area.
Launder clothing after removing a stalk or flower head.
Tips and warnings
- Report any sightings of giant hogweed to your state's Department of Agriculture and Department of Environmental Conservation.
- Avoid skin contact with hogweed sap, a toxic chemical called furanocoumarin. The sap causes blisters, blotches and skin irritation, especially when exposed to sunlight and lasts up to a year.