Success for Hogweed Eradication Programme

Success for Hogweed Eradication Programme: The River Tyne Hogweed Eradication Programme was declared winner of the Scottish Helping it Happen Awards run by Scottish Land and Estates.

Receiving recognition in the Enhancing our Environment category, the project was supported by Bayer and has succeeded in eradicating  any flowering plants of giant hogweed over 48 miles of the banks of the River Tyne and its tributaries for the second year running.

Success for Hogweed Eradication Programme

Success for Hogweed Eradication Programme

James Wyllie, voluntary project co-ordinator, explains they have seen a huge success with this invasive species project even though it is only in its second year.

“While we have had some setbacks due to Covid-19, thanks to the support of Bayer, landowners and volunteers, the project has delivered,” says James.

The programme is run by volunteer ‘spotters’ who use an online mapping tool to plot sightings of giant hogweed. They work in conjunction with the landowners and farmers to control the plants.

“Our maxim is that ‘no hogweed plant should be allowed to flower’, and with the capacity to produce up to 10,000 seeds each, this is vital.”

The project has involved intensive monitoring. As soon as a plant is ‘spotted’, the landowners can pinpoint the offending weed and control it, either with the use of Roundup or a spade.

“Ideally, we want to control the plant ahead of stem extension, so they aren’t able to flower and spread seeds. However, if a plant is missed and allowed to flower, it must be cut off below the ground, the head removed, bagged and disposed of safely,” says James.

“As a team we’re proud to receive this award as it shows the hard work that has been put into this unique project by all the volunteer landowners and spotters, is being recognised and valued.”

Project support

Colin Mumford, Bayer technical manager says both the non-native giant hogweed and Japanese knotweed can have a severe knock-on effect to the entire food chain and ecosystem, by rapidly reproducing and taking over land to the detriment of native flora and fauna, so it’s vital to do everything possible to eliminate these damaging species.

“Bayer are really pleased to be able to support this successful project, which has been driven by volunteers and landowners who are certainly worthy of this award. We’re keen to continue to support where we can, so these weeds that are damaging our environment can be tackled and kept under control,” he explains.

Colin adds that these invasive species are a rising cause for concern, so it’s important projects like this take place around the UK to help eradicate these problematic weeds.

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