The Giant Hogweed’s status as one of Ontario’s list of noxious weeds is well earned along with its giant status, growing three to four meters high at maturity.
You may not see much of it in Leeds Grenville but do stay aware. The weed is a public health hazard and is dangerous to both children and pets and adults.
“The hogweed isn’t a big problem. It exists in some small patches in specific places,” said Leeds Grenville Weed Inspector Larry Sudds who has had more calls about Wild Parsnip another invasive plant which can cause dangerous burns.
The tall yellow/lime green plants have an umbel flower and have become a nuisance weed along roadways and into fields.
Wild parsnip has spread rapidly in Eastern Ontario due to ideal weather conditions coupled with a lack of information regarding the control of this invasive species and stricter rules around the use of herbicides.
Exposure of skin of both plants’ sap and then exposure to sunlight can cause extreme discomfort, scarring and even blindness .
Authorities advise keeping any affected areas of skin out of direct sunlight and seeking medical advice as soon as possible.
“Some people don’t see the yellow flowers and think they are safe,” said Sudds.
Removing either of the plants mechanically has to be done with many precautions. People should wear protective clothing, including gloves and eye protection to avoid getting the sap on their skin or in their eyes and should dispose or wash their clothes with caution.
The seeds of a giant hogweed can float for days, can be blown great distances and can survive for as long as 15 years. Wild parsnip is similarly equipped to spread rapidly.
The United Counties this year has begun a spraying program on roadsides in Augusta Township and Edwardsburgh-Cardinal.
“Those areas are more agricultural. They decided they had to take the steps to get it in control,” said Sudds who can be contacted by residents if weed problems are identified on county roads and can order spraying.
“A lot of people phone local townships. They pass it on. At the end of the day it’s the county which does the inspecting,” he said.
He can be contacted through the county at 613-342-3840 ext 2413 or Toll-free: 800-770-2170.