This invasive plant, which flowers in May and June is becoming an invasive issue in our area of Vermont, but it’s early and we can get ahead of it if the infestation is small. I’ve found that digging the plant and root up with a garden fork and then bending the plants in half to fit in a large heavy duty garbage bag is relatively easy. It spreads along roads, so we can keep it from becoming too wide spread by monitoring the roads in our neighborhoods.
I did an experiment in 2018 simply cutting the flowering parts of the plant, but leaving the root in the ground, but THAT DOESN’T WORK. An expert in invasive eradication told me that if you cut the flower stalks, the roots “know” they didn’t flower and will keep sending up flowers the next year.
Disposal: You can put bags in with your garbage, but a cheaper way is to use clear bags (helps the sun break down the contents) and store the bags on your property (Mine are in the woods behind the house) for a few years until the contents are broken down. Then you can put all the remains in a garbage bag and dispose of that.
SAFETY: If you get the juices from a cut stalk on your skin you MAY get a skin reaction when exposed to sunlight. I have been digging it for 3 years and have only had that happen once. a plant brushed my cheek and later after being in the sun I felt a stinging place on my skin. I treated it with cortisone cream and it was fine. Most people get no reaction.
Wear long sleeves, long pants, gloves, glasses. I like those garden gloves with the rubber coating. I wash everything after I go digging. I wash off my garden fork and clippers when I get home. I also shower (I do this after going into possible tick areas) and wash exposed skin with diluted Dawn Dish Detergent ( I just read an article saying Dawn is best for washing your skin after poison ivy and oak, even better than Technu.) if skin might have had exposure to sap.
AN EASY WAY TO KEEP SAFE is to put a small damp cloth dabbed with Dawn in a plastic bag in your pocket when you dig. Then if you touch a broken stalk with bare skin, you can just wipe it off with Dawn. This has made the whole process much easier.
The Pix on this page come from the Ontario Invasives website