What plants are hazardous in the garden?

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Canstock image

What plants are hazardous in the garden?

Garden plants can be quite hazardous to people, family pets and for your property.

When purchasing a new home, starting a family, getting a new family pet and/or re-designing your garden, it is always advisable to check your garden thoroughly for invasive plants and any other plants that could be hazardous to you or your family members.

If you believe your family member, cat, dog or horse may have been poisoned by plants in your garden, you must act quickly.

Where this occurs with a family member, take a small clipping of the plant and take this with you when you take your family member to your nearest hospital.

Where this occurs with a family pet, you must remove your pet from the area and contact your vet immediately.

Plants that are hazardous to your children:

Click here to view a checklist of potentially harmful plants to ensure your garden is safe for your children.

Plants that are hazardous to your pets:

Cats:

Click here to view a flower and plant guide from the Cats Protection organisation.

Dogs:

Click here to view a fact sheet from the Dogs Trust that lists poisonous plants.

Horse:

Click here to find a list of poisonous plants for horses and donkeys.

Rabbit:

Click here to find a plant guide from the Rabbit Welfare organisation.

Plants that are hazardous to your property:

Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)

Image of Knotweed
Japanese knotweed (Canstock image)

This plant came to the UK in 1850 and arrived at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew in 1854.  Little was known about the plant at the time as to how destructive the plant could be if planted near a property.  Japanese knotweed produce dense thickets (stands) with new shoots remaining interlinked to the parent plant.  New growth has the power to break through hard paved materials (concrete and bitumen macadam) which is why you need to get a professional in to remove it from your property or land if you discover it.

How to get rid of Japanese knotweed: If you have this plant in your garden or outside space, click here to find a specialist.

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)

Image of the Horsetail Plant
Horsetail (Canstock Image)

This weed is often mistaken for Mare’s tail (Hippus vulgaris), which is actually an aquatic weed. Horsetail is a terrestrial weed and can be problematic for homeowners and property developers alike.

This native weed is more recognised throughout the summer and autumn seasons.  It can grow to 60cm in height if not controlled properly.  Its shoots have a hard casing which can cause problems with herbicide treatment of the plant. You should also take great care to prevent it spreading to neighbouring property or land.

How to get rid of Horsetail: If you have this plant in your garden or outside space, click here to find a specialist.

Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)

Image of giant hogweed
Giant Hogweed (Canstock Image)

This plant can grow up to 5 metres high, it can produce up to 50,000 seeds and its sap can react with the skin, making it ultra-sensitive to ultra-violet light, although no pain or irritation is felt at the time of contact. Any subsequent exposure to sunlight can cause the skin to burn and will result in large, watery blisters that do not become evident until 15 to 20 hours following contact, by which time the damage has been done. The plant originated in Asia and it is a member of the parsley family.  Disposal of this plant must be handled very carefully by a professional as it is listed under Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 England & Wales.  You cannot plant or allow this to grow in the wild as it is an offence to do so.

How to get rid of Giant Hogweed: If you have this plant in your garden or outside space, click here to find a specialist.

Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandlifera)

Image of Himalayan Balsam
Himalayan Balsam (Canstock Image)

This plant is sometimes known as Policeman’s Helmet.

This plant can grow up to 3 metres high and needs to be controlled or completely eradicated from your property/land.  The disposal of this plant must be handled very carefully by a professional as it is listed under Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 England & Wales.  You cannot plant or allow this to grow in the wild as it is an offence to do so.

How to get rid of Himalayan Balsam: If you have this plant in your garden or outside space, click here to find a specialist.

Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)

Image of Common Ragwort
Common Ragwort (Canstock Image)

Easily recognised throughout summer and autumn, Common ragwort grows to a height of 60cm.  Its shoots have a hard casing and a single cone can produce 100,000 spores.  Ragwort is one of the most frequent causes of plant poisoning of horses and cows in Britain. It can also be poisonous to people and has been suspected of causing liver damage in those who pull the plant without the benefit of protective clothing.

How to get rid of Common Ragwort: If you have this plant in your garden or outside space, click here to find a specialist.

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)

Image of Buddleja Davidii
Buddleja davidii (Canstock Image)

Sometimes, this plant is also called summer lilac.

Once Buddleia starts to grow, just like Japanese knotweed, the root systems can weaken any materials as they grow through masonry and brickwork.  If you do plant this in your garden, ensure it is far enough away from any structures so as not to cause any damage.  Planting non-native species like Buddleia in your garden make it harder for the butterflies and birds in your neighbourhood to survive.  While the butterfly bush provides nectar and is attractive for butterflies, it offers no value for butterfly or moth larvae.

How to get rid of Butterfly Bush: If you have this plant in your garden or outside space, click here to find a specialist.

Rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum)

Image of Rhododendron Ponticum
Rhododendron Ponticum (Canstock Image)

This densely branched, rapidly growing evergreen can grow to up to 5 metres high and spreads naturally by seed and by layering.  The disposal of this plant must be handled very carefully by a professional as it is listed under Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 England & Wales.  You cannot plant or allow this plant to grow in the wild as it is an offence to do so.

How to get rid of Rhododendron ponticum: If you have this evergreen in your garden or outside space, click here to find a specialist.

Find a specialist to help you remove an Invasive Plant

If you are concerned that you may have an invasive plant in your garden or outside space, click here to find a specialist.

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