Last Updated on February 21, 2022 by Allison Price
Learn how to recognize ragwort, and how to get rid of it.
Are you worried about a horse that you saw in a field of ragwort and are concerned? Learn how to help your horse.
Why is ragwort such a problem for horses?
Horses can be poisoned by Ragwort, which damages the liver. This toxic effect can cause irreparable harm and builds up over time. Your horse will become just as sick from eating small amounts of the ragwort over time as from eating large quantities in one sitting.
You must ensure that your horse does not eat ragwort. It is possible for horses to eat ragwort even though they are younger than mature plants.
Although it is generally accepted that plants lose their unpleasant taste after they die, it is still dangerous. This means that ragwort, which is found in haylage or hayhay, or leaves that have fallen from a plant and died in the field, can be easily eaten and will be as dangerous as a live plant.
Different stages of ragwort: How to recognize them
1. In autumn, ragwort seedlings begin to appear. They measure approximately 10-15mm in height.
2. From the early spring, you can find ragwort rosettes
3. The height of mature plants can grow up to 2 metres and bloom from May through October.
Most plants die after flowering and the seeds germinate in areas where the mature plant was.
A single plant can produce thousands of seeds. The downy substance is used to cover the seeds so that they can be dispersed easily by the wind. They can also spread through water and by you or your pets.
How can I get rid of ragwort the most effectively?
Protective gloves and coverings are essential when handling the plant. To avoid pollen inhalation, ragwort must be removed from the plant before it blooms. Wash the affected area with warm soapy water if you come in contact.
It is easiest to take down a few plants by pulling them up all, including their roots. This is best done at the seedling stage or rosette stage. If possible, do it after rain when the ground has dried. Ragwort can be regenerated from root fragments so it is crucial to get rid of as much root as you can. Retailers can purchase a specialist fork to remove ragwort roots.
Spraying the paddocks is the best way to tackle a widespread infestation. However, you should rest the field for the recommended amount of time after treatment. You can get advice from agricultural merchants about the available products. You must get rid of all traceable poisonous material from the dead plant before you allow your horses to return home.
You must take care of ragwort. Burning the weeds is the best option, but make sure to take all precautions. Defra – The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – can provide advice on how to dispose of ragwort. Ragwort control is an ongoing task. The seeds can be left in the ground for years before germinating, so you may find you have plants year after year.
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!