Ragwort is one of the five injurious weeds covered by the ‘provisions of weeds act 1959’, it is poisonous to horses, ponies, donkeys and other livestock.
Under the Weeds Act 1959 the Secretary of State may serve an enforcement notice on the occupier of land on which injurious weeds are growing, requiring the occupier to take action to prevent the spread of injurious weeds. The Weeds Act specifies five injurious weeds: Common Ragwort, Spear Thistle, Creeping Field Thistle, Broad leaved Dock and Curled Dock.
In 2004 the Ragwort Control Act was passed.The Ragwort Control Act amends the Weeds Act and promotes the more efficient control of Ragwort. Common Ragwort is the only one of the five weeds specified in the Weeds Act which poses a risk to animal health. If ingested by horses, ponies and other livestock, common ragwort causes cumulative liver damage and can have potentially fatal consequences.
Ragwort is a biennial plant, which produces a yellow flower in its second year. It can grow up to 1,5m tall and is seen commonly on road side verges flowering in July and August.
The traditional method of ragwort removal is hand pulling, although this removes the plant it does not stop it growing unless all of the root is pulled out with the plant. Forks have been in made to try and dig out the root but there is no guarantee that this will work.The most cost effective method of control is the TCM Hit system. This is a patented methodology of chemical use and application techniques. The pesticides used are a combination of the most effective herbicides and adjuvants for ragwort control. The mix is selective and does not affect the surround plants. It is also effective at any growth stage so it can be applied throughout the growing season. When sprayed at the flowering stage the mix sterilises the seeds so that further contamination will not occur.