World of Hedges

Hedgerows play a vital role in the UK’s ecosystem. They provide habitats for a range of wildlife, serve as windbreaks and shade in agricultural areas, and help reduce soil erosion. However, these important natural resources are under threat from invasive weeds. The UK is home to a variety of weed species that, if left unchecked, can reduce the ecological and economic value of hedgerows. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most problematic weeds found in UK hedgerows, as well as the methods used to control them.

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is a highly invasive weed that can grow to over 3 metres tall. It was first introduced to the UK in the 1800s as an ornamental plant, but soon escaped from gardens and began to spread rapidly. Japanese knotweed can take over large areas of hedgerow, and its hardy root system can damage infrastructure such as roads and buildings. Eradication of Japanese knotweed is difficult and requires professional treatment.

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is another invasive weed found in UK hedgerows. It was first introduced in the UK in the mid-19th century as an ornamental plant but has since escaped and become widely established in hedgerows and along riverbanks. Himalayan balsam can grow very quickly, up to 2 metres in height, and its seeds are easily spread by wildlife and humans. Efforts to control Himalayan balsam often involve pulling up the plant by hand, as well as using herbicides.

Giant Hogweed

Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is a dangerous weed found in hedgerows across the UK. It contains toxic sap that can cause severe burns and blisters, which can even lead to hospitalization. Giant hogweed can grow up to 5 metres tall and is often mistaken for cow parsley or hogweed, so caution must be exercised when identifying it. Eradication of giant hogweed usually involves professional treatment.


Common ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) is a native weed found in hedgerows in the UK. While it is a useful food source for some wildlife, it is also toxic to horses and livestock. Ingesting ragwort can cause liver damage or even death in animals. Ragwort is also a problem for farmers as it can grow quickly and take over fields. Control methods for ragwort often involve pulling up the plant by hand or using herbicides.


Invasive weeds are a serious problem for UK hedgerows. Not only do they reduce the ecological and economic value of these important natural resources, but they can also pose a danger to human and animal health. Methods for controlling these weeds include pulling up the plant by hand, using herbicides, and professional treatment. It’s essential to act quickly and efficiently to control weed populations, preventing further spread into surrounding areas and protecting the delicate ecosystem of UK hedgerows.