Estonia has begun its yearly eradication of invading hogweed species

14.06.2021 | 19:33

The Environmental Board will order the eradication of giant and Sosnovski hogweed on almost 2300 hectares of land. In order to stop the plant from spreading, all of the hogweed’s habitats must be targeted.
    • Share

The Environmental Board will order the eradication of giant and Sosnovski hogweed on almost 2300 hectares of land. In order to stop the plant from spreading, all of the hogweed’s habitats must be targeted.

The giant hogweed and the Sosnovski hogweed are dangerous to both human health and native ecosystems, which is why they must be combated. The eradication service ordered by the Environmental Board will begin in May and last until August or even September, if necessary. The first round of eradication should be finished by 15 June. Hogweed is being targeted everywhere, irrespective of who the land belongs to or its intended use.

Unlike in other European countries, Estonia has been performing hogweed eradication for over ten years. Thanks to this thorough work, the amount of hogweed invading Estonia has dropped significantly. Combating hogweed through the method of digging is usually meant for organic and residential areas, hogweed that is in close proximity to bees and for very sparse colonies of the species. In water conservation areas, hogweed is only allowed to be eradicated by digging it up with a shovel.

A record amount of hogweed colonies became known to the Environmental Board in 2020. “Last year, we appealed people to inform us of any hogweed habitats – this paid off and we mapped 754 new colonies on an area of 174 hectares. Every colony added to the eradication list brings us closer to stopping the spread of hogweed in Estonia,” explains Eike Tammekänd, head of the Environmental Board’s Nature Conservation Works bureau.

Landowners have the right to refuse the service, but only if they will combat the hogweed on their land themselves. The Environmental Board says that lone plants can be dug out by the people who discover them. Guidelines for an effective and safe eradication of hogweed and the information on known colonies can be found on the
homepage of the Environmental Board. New colonies and other hogweed-related problems can be forwarded to the specialists at the Environmental Board’s Nature Conservation Works bureau, or via e-mail info@keskkonnaamet.ee.

“We ask everyone to report any hogweed habitats to the Environmental Board. Lone plants found on your land can be dug out without special help by utilising patience and caution – this makes our fight against the hogweed faster and more effective,” says Tammekänd.

Invasive hogweed species are on an EU-wide invasive species list. This means that it is forbidden to grow or otherwise help hogweed spread. The Environmental Board is in charge of eradicating hogweed in Estonia.

Andri Küüts

Keskkonnaameti avalike suhete nõunik