Giant Hogweed infestation in Virginia -- plant causes burns, blindness

Originally published at:


"Strike by night!
They are defenseless;
They all need the sun to photosensitize their venom!

Still they’re invincible…
They seem immune to all our herbicidal battering…"


Hogweed? Good name for a band…


They’re everywhere! We’re done for!


Came here for this, leaving immensely satisfied.

(Nursery Cryme is one of my favorite Genesis albums.)


Welp, time to get out the ol’ flamethrower again.



Simple, all we need is to engineer something like a giant rabbit that eats hogweed, and release them into the wild! What’s the worst that could happen?


The worst that could happen?


Ah, this is in the news again.
Well, time for the clueless idiots to once again start doing their two things:

  1. Ripping out and burning the flower gardens of any neighbours who have white flowers of any sort (naturally without any protective gear), and
  2. Diving into and ripping out actual giant hogweed, still without any protective gear whatsoever.

In areas where there actually is Giant Hogweed, those two things are usually done by the same people, who feel they should be perfectly safe ripping out the real thing with their bare hands and teeth, because doing that with the Queen Anne’s Lace plants in my friend’s garden didn’t hurt them at all.



If anyone tries that with our beauty bush, they’ll be in a lot of pain.


Hog Weed?



Salt is so much easier and safer to use, though. I once got rid of a wisteria that had grown unchecked for decades. The roots were about six inches in diameter in places. I whipped up a quart of concentrated salt solution, drilled a few holes in the roots and major stems, injected the solution, and let the plant circulate it. That way, only the plant died, but the soil was unaffected.


Roundup use is said to correlate with a number of public health problems, including the increasing incidence of autism and diabetes.

Correlation is not causation; but correlation is a big giant winking neon sign saying “look here for causation first”. So it’s notably odd that humans are spending more money on opposing Roundup research than on performing it, eh?

I won’t allow a child to be around Roundup or any other glyophosate, on the precautionary principle. And I won’t use it except under very specific circumstances, and even then never with a sprayer. In most situations - certainly in the case of giant hogweed - a sharp shovel properly applied with a heavy boot is a better choice.

And honestly it’s not even that great of a weedkiller. It has a poor shelf life, and although it is extremely disruptive to interrelated ecosystems of flora and fauna, causing fish kills and damage to native pollinators, it doesn’t do a spectacularly good job of killing tough weeds (easy stuff like dandelions, or large trees you didn’t actually intend to kill, sure, but not so great on poke or poison ivy, nutsedge or trailing bindweed.)

I’ve used a cannula to fill giant poke weeds with poison, but they’re hollow. How did you get a woody vine to absorb the solution? Are wisteria hollow too?


No, wisteria is not hollow. We used a drill to make holes. I’m thinking about finding something much thinner to use the same method on bindweed and wild grapevine that have sprung up in my garden this year, too.


Unfortunately my wisteria isn’t big enough to drill serious holes into. I might have a go at some of the bigger trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) though.

Grapevine I just pull up. Bindweed is one of those things you can’t ever let go to seed, and if the soil’s already been seeded you are in for many years of work… one of several reasons I have a flamethrower. :slight_smile:


The diabetes is most likely more likely because we put sugar into EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING (queue Gary Oldman Professional gif with him yelling “EVERYONE!”)

But aside from that, I can understand some hesitancy when using it on crops, but this is to nuke a very nasty weed. Sure, you have a few on your property, a shovel will do. But given my dad’s history as both one of those charged with noxious weed control of a an entire county in Kansas, as well as he later career of selling herbicide and spray equipment, it often times is the best tool for the job especially when you have areas over run with a noxious weed.

One recent example, he has seen a noxious aquatic weed take hold in his local city lake (the one that he caught 2000 crappie from last year), and has warned the city about it. But they are hesitant to use the proper aquatic herbicide. Sure they cut it back some times, but its massive root and underwater system is how it grows to choke out everything else. Cutting it does nothing, and manual removal is usually a Sisyphus level of frustration. It is slowly getting worse, as he has pointed out every time I visit.

And Roundup may not be the best tool for Hogweed, it just just usually fairly effective on most weeds - googling the NYS page on the matter, it recommends glyophosate as effective. He will agree that it can be abused, like any tool and actually refused to sell some products to some farmers. Like anything out there I don’t think its all good or bad - it depends on use and context. But really, it was more of a tongue in cheek statement making a Rorschach reference :wink:

Also, I could have gone with, “Kill it with fire!”


I think its other name, Poison Parsnip, is a pretty good band name, too