Giant hogweed back in Waterloo Region: How you can get rid of it

The Region of Waterloo has inspected and confirmed 14 calls about giant hogweed discoveries. The Region advises people to dispose of their giant hogweed in one of four ways.

The Region of Waterloo has inspected and confirmed 14 calls about giant hogweed discoveries

The Region of Waterloo has inspected and confirmed 14 calls about giant hogweed discoveries in the area. The invasive noxious weed secretes a sap that can cause painful blisters, even blindness, if it comes in contact with the eyes.

Angelo Apfelbaum, manager of licensing and enforcement services for the Region of Waterloo, said despite the fact that the wet, humid weather is ideal for weeds like these, giant hogweed hasn't made a serious resurgence in the region this year. 

Apfelbaum advises people to dispose of giant hogweed in one of four ways.

How to get rid of giant hogweed

1. "The best way to deal with hogweed is you can dig the hogweed plant out. It is a perennial and it will continue to grow if you don't dig the root bulb out. This is the most environmentally friendly method. You dig the plant out and you let it rot in the sun.​"

2. "We also suggest you cut the seed head off, which is the big flowering head and you put it in a plastic bag and you also let that rot in the sun for a couple of days." 

3. "The other method is, you can have it sprayed [with a herbicide]."

4. "There's different levels of plant, there's mature adult plants and then there's young plants and then there's juvenile plants. As a plant gets older it gets larger. They only propagate by seed, so the seed heads have millions of seeds. Once you clear an area of the plants, you can choke out the ground, where you just put plastic ground cover over top of the area that had the plants, and it chokes out any plants underneath it."

When employing any of these methods wear long sleeve shirts, long pants and rubberized gloves. Make sure not to touch your face when working and if sap gets on your clothes, wash them separately from your regular laundry.

If you need help identifying giant hogweed, call the Regional service centre at 519-575-4400 and an inspector will assist.