New Code of Practice increases need to control Ragwort
By John Hall
The Ragwort Control Act Feb 2004 enabled the Secretary of State to create a Code of Practice to prevent the spread of the weed. The Code provided guidance to landowners and occupiers on when, where and how to control Ragwort.
Common Ragwort is an injurious weed, covered by the 1959 Weeds Act because it is highly toxic to grazing animals. Recent changes to this Act mean that landowners need to comply with the Code of Practice, and it is an offence to allow it to spread on your land. From a municipal viewpoint, Ragwort must be controlled as it invades road verges and other low-maintenance turf areas, to the demise of more valued wildflower and grass species.
With respect to control of Ragwort in amenity areas, many landscape managers and Groundsmen are aware that herbicides containing 2,4-D give good levels of control. Bayer Environmental Science markets three products containing 2,4-D, which are approved for use on amenity turf:-
"Dicotox Extra" containing 2,4-D ester
"Dormone" containing 2,4-D amine
"Supertox 30" containing 2,4-D amine plus mecoprop-p
The ester formulation Dicotox Extra is taken up very quickly by treated foliage and is therefore very rainfast. This may therefore be the product of choice if application is required when rain is forecast! On the other hand, the amine formulation Dormone is one of very few herbicides approved for use in or near water. This is therefore the product of choice when treating any amenity area near any body of water.
The advantage of using a straight 2,4-D product is that a relatively narrow weed spectrum is targeted. The mixture with mecoprop-p will kill a broader spectrum of species. More information is available at:- www.bayer-escience.co.uk
Following comments on the initial Code of Practice prepared by DEFRA, a working group prepared a revised draft for public comment by June 9th 2004. A final version of the code is expected sometime after the end of June 2004.
Combined approach improves weed control in shrub beds
Two Bayer Environmental Science herbicides - Finale and Helmsman can be used in combination to improve weed control in shrub beds.
Finale is used to clear existing weeds providing total control of annual and perennial weeds and grasses. Being non-residual, planting or sowing can take place without delay. It can be used right up to tree bases, as it will not harm mature bark.
Finale biodegrades quickly on contact with the soil. The product is fast acting, with complete kill normally within 2-3 weeks. Application should only take place between March and the end of September
Helmsman, is used as a residual herbicide to prevent any new weeds germinating and is applied in late winter or early spring.
For further information on either of these articles or products please contact John Hall on 01992 784261