How to kill nettles

Written by kathryn hatter
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How to kill nettles
A nettle leaf can produce an unpleasant sting. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Although some gardeners and homeowners welcome stinging nettle for its medicinal purposes, the presence of stinging nettle in a landscape can also create problems. When people and animals come into contact with nettle plants, a painful stinging can occur, along with a skin rash. Prevent nettle contact by killing nettle plants on your property. The eradication may be a challenge, but with perseverance, you can restore your growing area.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Gardening gloves
  • Bucket
  • Lawnmower
  • Herbicide (glyphosate)
  • Paintbrush

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  1. 1

    Pull mature nettle plants from the soil. Grasp the plants from the base near the soil level and pull straight up to remove them. Strive to remove every piece of root and runner material from the soil to remove the nettle plants completely.

  2. 2

    Mow the nettle area after pulling the plants to keep the area cleared. Because nettles grow and spread from a network of fine roots, you will probably notice the nettles return after you pull them. Battle these returning nettles by mowing them off whenever they become over 3 to 4 inches high. Eventually they will run out of growing energy and stop returning.

  3. 3

    Apply an herbicide to stubborn nettles. Because glyphosate is non-selective, it will kill anything it contacts. If you wish to prevent killing other plants, brush the herbicide onto the nettle stems and leaves on a sunny day when the temperature is between 15.6 and 26.7 degrees Celsius. Within one to two weeks, you should notice the nettle plants dying. Reapply the glyphosate a second time if any plants survive the first application.

Tips and warnings

  • Dress carefully before pulling nettles. Wear long trousers, long sleeves, boots and gardening gloves to prevent nettle contact with your skin.

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