Noxious Weeds Order (NI) 1977
Spear thistle, creeping or field thistle, curled dock, broad-leaved dock, and ragwort are all listed as Injurious weeds under the “Noxious Weeds Order (NI) 1977” This act requires all land owners to prevent the spreading of injurious weeds.
There is an old saying that ‘one year’s seeding is seven years weeding’. Unfortunately this is very true.
Other relevant legislation relating to Ragwort are; “The Ragwort Control Act 2003” “Code of Practice for Controlling Ragwort” and a “Code of Practice for Disposing of Ragwort”. Flowering Ragwort is a popular site along are roads network and embankments and must be treated at its Rosette stage which is harder to spot in long grass. Ragwort is a biennial plant, meaning it completes its life cycle over 2 years, growing from seed to rosette in the first year and rosette to flowering in the second year.
Docks are one the most common weeds and a true pain especially for farmers because of the yield implications. Docks like Ragwort need to be placed on a treatment programme and treated before they seed. Docks have a long tap root from which they re-grow.
Creeping or Field thistle
Thistles can quickly spread in grassland areas, borders and defiantly favour uncultivated soil. Once established, it can be difficult to eradicate permanently. You may find that repeated digging out of roots reduces the problem, but chemical control will provide a quicker solution. Like Ragwort and Docks they best treated before flowering. Creeping thistle spreads using lateral roots. These roots are brittle and readily reshoot if broken. They should be controlled if you wish to grow garden plants in the area, since they compete for light, water and food. Creeping Thistle produces a tap root on germination followed by lateral roots that grow horizontally. These lateral roots are brittle and produce buds at intervals that develop shoots. Male and female plants growing adjacent to each other will cross-pollinate and a seed crop will be produced.