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Killer Weeds - Ragwort & the Groundsels
Ragwort and Groundsel are closely related both being members of the large Senecio family. More than 30 toxic factors have been identified in the Senecio species, these are mostly alkaloids with a pyrrolizidine base. Grazed in large quantities they are fatal. The Senecio family are also thought to cause cancer when grazed in small quantities, as they are extremely toxic to the liver.
Their attractive yellow daisy flowers identify the Senecio family, flowering in the summer months between June & October.
Common Ragwort – Senecio jacobea
A biennial attaining a height between 60 to 100cms (2ft to 3ft 6inches). Found growing in dry grassland. Known in Scotland as ‘Stinking Willy’ referring to its foetid smell.
Country women used Ragwort to induce abortions. The results were often fatal. Many a mare with a history of miscarriage on closer inspection had Ragwort growing in her field. This may seem unbelievable after all the publicity and articles about this killer weed.
Under normal conditions when grazing is plentiful horses are less likely to eat Ragwort or Groundsel, as it is unpalatable. During a dry summer or drought conditions in the early Autumn when grazing is scarce there is a real danger of Ragwort being grazed. More worrying is the fact that drying preserves the dangerous alkaloids in Ragwort & the Groundsel family. They are just as dangerous dried in hay as when eaten fresh.
Rosette of young ragwort leaves
Groundsel – Senecio vulgaris
An annual shorter than Ragwort lacking the foetid smell, rich in toxic alkaloids, 30 to 38cms (12 to 15inches) in height. A weed that often emerges on cultivated land, dispersing its seeds in the wind.
Symptoms of Poisoning
Horses showing signs of poisoning rarely recover. These may not appear for several weeks. Symptoms include staggering, unaccounted for outbreaks of colic, constipation with intense straining, occasionally diarrhoea, frenzied excitement and rapid pulse.
There is only one thing to do and that is to totally eradicate these noxious weeds from your land.
For far too long the control of Ragwort has been haphazard, unreliable and costly, that is until now. 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 flowerheads only to stop the seeding process straight away. Ideal for Councils, Highway Authorities and Network Rail faced with complaints from neighbouring landowners.
This Environmentally Friendly and Effective all year round control for Ragwort, MAPP no. 10136, is sold as a ready to use spot spray in a 5L container with applicator gun. Within hours of application, small rosettes are dead - right through to the roots.
Digging and burning is not always successful, as the green material may not burn leaving the seeds intact to disperse. Wilted or dead plants left lying on the land to be eaten by the horses, defeats digging them out in the first place.
For more information on Barrier H for the Control of Ragwort go to:
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