DEC Joins Hogweed Fight At Delaware County Patch

DEC Joins Hogweed Fight

At Delaware County Patch

DEC personnel began a statewide Giant Hogweed eradication Tuesday at a patch in the Town of Colchester, Delaware County.  (DEC photo)
DEC personnel began a statewide Giant Hogweed eradication Tuesday at a patch in the Town of Colchester, Delaware County. (DEC photo)

COLCHESTER– Giant Hogweed can be dangerous to your health, and the state DEC this week began a program to get rid of it.

As part of DEC’s Invasive Species Awareness Week, DEC and Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) staff began a Giant Hogweed eradication effort in a newly discovered patch of giant hogweed in Delaware County on Tuesday, July 14. The Hogweed is located near Russell Brook Road in the Town of Colchester and was discovered in June of 2015.

Giant hogweed is an impressively large plant, growing 8 to 14 feet tall. Initial reports show approximately 30 plants are located along Russell Brook in the Delaware Wild Forest. DEC is working to spread the word to hikers and others user groups about the dangers of coming into contact with giant hogweed and that giant hogweed has been positively identified along Russell Brook.

Giant hogweed can be controlled by cutting through the root 4-5 inches below the soil or applying herbicide. All flower and seed heads must also be removed to control the spread of seed. DEC and CRISP are partnering to control the plants at this site this month.

Giant hogweed can cause severe skin and eye irritation. The sap causes a burn called phytophotodermatitis. It can cause painful blisters that form within 24 to 48 hours and in time become dark and pigmented. Long-term sensitivity to sunlight is another common side effect from exposure to the plant. Brushing against or breaking the plant releases toxic chemicals in the sap called furanocoumarins that, when exposed to sunlight (UV rays), can cause severe burns and painful blisters within 24 to 48 hours. Moisture (like perspiration) enhances the reaction. When eyes are exposed to giant hogweed sap, blindness can result.

Individuals can protect themselves by learning how to identify giant hogweed and not touching any part of this plant. If individuals come in contact with the sap of the plant they should immediately wash the affected area with soap and water and keep it covered and protected from the sun for at least 48 hours.

 

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