Ragwort again

Stephen Reynolds stephen at wandlebury.demon.co.uk
Wed Aug 19 16:24:07 EST 1998

In article <qRUJcBAkaC21Ew4Y at thopkins.demon.co.uk>, Theo Hopkins
<thopkins at thopkins.demon.co.uk> writes
>In article <RjmPuQAga011EwFl at wharfe.demon.co.uk>, David Brear
><dbrear at wharfe.demon.co.uk> writes
>>I seem to have lost the beginning of this thread in uk.environment.
>>conservation so forgive me for starting over again.
>>I have seen a hell of a lot of ragwort this year. It seems to be all
>>over Norfolk and the Vale of York, both arable areas, of course. I
>>thought 'hang on, this can't be right' so it is interesting to hear that
>>someone else thinks so too. What does anyone else think?
>>Also, I have a message from a gentlemen in Cornwall who has
>>found a poster in his post office to the effect that five species of
>>weeds must be destroyed if you have them on your land. The list
>>includes ragwort but not giant hogweed. 
>>Does the Weed Act still apply? 
>>Does anyone know the legal position regarding weeds? 
>>Is honey made from ragwort poisonous, particularly to children?
>>My Cornish correspondent is concerned because already the
>>local churchyard has been sprayed, to the detriment of other
>The "Injurous Weed Act" (1959) still applies and I understand that it
is a legal requirement for landowners to take steps to prevent its
spread. In my local area (Suffolk) the council have been out pulling it
up form the road verges.

I would imagine that the prevelance of Ragwort this year is probably due
to favourable weather conditions (ie lots of rain earlier in the year).

>>All information gratefully appreciated.
>I am told by my horse/sheep owning friends that that a landowner is
>under a duty to remove ragwort due to its toxicity. Maybe someone else
>has chapter and verse?
>I also recently came across an article in a small-holders' magazine
>(can't remember the name or date or name of the magazine). The article
>was writen by someone from a donkey sanctury, and it was anouncing their
>campaign to alert the public to the danger to livestock of cut hay with
>ragwort in it. Aparently an animal will avoid ragwort when growing in a
>field, but don't distinguish it when it is in cut dry hay. They said it
>was a acumulative type toxin.
Correct. Animals will not eat it by choice but it can get into the food
chain when it dies back and is gathered in hay. The toxins accumulate in
the liver and can cause blindness and lver failure (among other things).
>There are many of 'out of cultivativation' fields round here in Devon
>that are a sea of bright yellow ragwort right now. As some of these
>fields may well be fields that have other wild flowers as they have not
>been fertilised or weedkillered or reseeded, should people be worried
>that the non target wildflowers and grasses could be wiped out with weed
>killers to comply with whatever laws there are or 'good practice' with
>Quite so. Herbicides as a method of Ragwort control are not really
acceptable as they are not selective. The best (though time consuming
and tedious) is to pull them up by the roots.

Stephen Reynolds

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