Sunday, 17 August 2014

Ragwort pulling

Today volunteers from among the Friends of Filnore Woods went on a 'ragwort pull'. 

Although Ragwort ('wort' pronounced to rhyme with 'Bert') is a pretty yellow flower and a good nectar source for insects, it can spread to neighbouring farmers' fields where it can prove harmful or even fatal to horses and cattle if included in hay or silage.  So we need to control it.  We won't eliminate it because it is very good at spreading by its windblown seeds, but we can maintain it at a low population.

You loosen the roots with a fork and then pull the whole plant up and dispose of it by composting so that none of the toxins get back into the food chain.
The leaves are very ragged, which helps ditinguish it from another plant with a yellow flower head flowering at this time - the Perforate St John's Wort.  Compare the raggedy leaves of Ragwort . . . . . 

 . . . . . .with the neat pairs of leaves on the Perforate St John's Wort below.  If you hold a PSJW leaf up to the light you can see the translucent dots, like little perforations, that give it its name.
And the flowers are quite different too.

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