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How to Control Ragwort

How to Control Ragwort

About ragwort

Ragwort is a perennial problem for managers of paddocks and fields. Ragwort is poisonous to people as well as livestock and is classified as an “Injurious weed” by DEFRA under the Ragwort Control Act 2003, meaning that failure to control ragwort on your land may lead to prosecution.

Ragwort should be treated in its early stages, usually in spring and autumn, when it can be found as a “rosette” growing near to the ground (see picture). If it is left to grow, flower and seed ragwort can spread quickly and become very difficult to control. 

Is Ragwort harmful?

Ragwort is poisonous to horses and cattle and because it has a cumulative toxic effect it is difficult to spot ragwort poisoning before it is too late. Although it is impossible to calculate the exact number of horses affected by ragwort due to the long term nature of ragwort poisoning, it is estimated that up to 1000 horses a year (ref. University of Liverpool Veterinary School) may be dying.

Treating Ragwort

Treat Ragwort with Thrust

A 5 L pack covers 3.5 acres and is best when mixed with Validate to improve Ragwort control. As with Polo, most other weeds in a paddock will also be controlled with Thrust but it can be applied in a knapsack or boom spray. As with all professional use products, the appropriate protective clothing as described on the label of the product should be worn when spraying herbicides.

An alternative professional use to kill Ragwort control is Headland Polo

Headland Polo Spray will give good control of most weeds found in paddocks and fields, including Ragwort. It is especially effective on rosette stage ragwort and Validate can be added to improve the weed’s uptake of the chemical. A 10 L pack of Headland Polo Herbicide will cover about 8 acres and should be used only in a boom spray. After treatment, livestock should be kept out of treated areas for at least 14 days and until all traces of ragwort are gone. It is especially dangerous when it dies because it becomes more palatable. Dead ragwort plants should be stored safely and dried then burned or rotted down in compost for at least 12 months.

Kill Ragwort with Barrier H

Barrier H is an innovation in Ragwort control, destroying this deadly weed in record time, right through to the root. Barrier H can be applied at all stages of growth. Unlike any other spray, Barrier H can be sprayed onto flower heads only to stop the seeding process straight away

Kill Ragwort with Roundup ProActive

Roundup ProActive will kill Ragwort but it also kills grass. It may be used to effectively control and eradicate.

Killing Ragwort in three ways:

1. As a spot treatment with a carefully directed knapsack sprayer fitted with a sprayer hood or guard. There must be enough actively growing leaf above ground to absorb sufficient product to kill the underground roots. Apply from when they have produced a flowering stem but before seeds are set.

2. Using a hand-held or tractor/quad bike-trailed weed wiper will allow selective control of taller plants in grass or turf.

3. As part of a reseeding operation to establish a new grass sward.

Method Dose rate of Roundup ProActive Dose rate of Roundup ProVantage Application Advice
Overall or spot spray 5 L/ha in 80 - 250 L water 4.5 L/ha in 80 - 250 L water Spray at flowering but before seed set. Ragwort plants can be cut or pulled 5 days after spraying, allowing grazing to recommence. Any remaining roots will die off
Weedwiper 1 part Roundup ProActive in 2 parts water 1 part Roundup ProVantage in 3 parts water Useful method when working in inaccessible areas

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