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New method for destroying Sosnowsky’s hogweed tested


Today the public has been introduced to a new method for destroying Sosnowsky’s hogweed, an invasive species in Lithuania. Specialists of the Ministry of Environment have organised a public presentation of an integrated method for the destruction of Sosnowsky’s hogweed in Gaukeliškės village, Vilnius district.

In March of this year, Lithuania registered the herbicides Nuance 75 WG and Accurate 200 WG designed for the destruction of the Sosnowsky’s hogweed population. Spraying Sosnowsky’s hogweed with these selective herbicides in due time results in the death of its growing individuals, while other plant species not affected by these weed killers create unfavourable conditions for the shooting and growth of new Sosnowsky’s hogweed individuals (overshadow them). This method should allow exterminating Sosnowsky’s hogweed in an affected area within two to three years.

Until now herbicides with glyphosate as an active substance have been used for the destruction of Sosnowsky’s hogweed. However, their main shortcoming is that they kill all plants present in an area sprayed with weed killers and that individuals of the same hogweed species begin sprouting in the cleared area first of all, resulting in the formation of their dense growth. The new hogweeds have to be destroyed again until the seed bank in the soil is depleted. Thus this boosts the costs and extends the time of destruction.

“It is obvious that a breakthrough is likely to be only achieved by joining the forces and recognising that the spread of Sosnowsky’s hogweed is a problem of the whole European Union rather than its separate members. The new invented means ensure the effective destruction of this hogweed and less damage to other plants. Certainly, this is the beginning only and more thorough studies and the search for more effective measures are required, especially for products suitable for use near water bodies. However, we all have been moving in the right direction already. To achieve better results, both farmers and the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture, Economy and Transport and Communications need to combine their efforts. An integrated approach has to be applied as the destruction of Sosnowsky’s hogweed in one territory without affecting the neighbouring areas will only produce a minimal and temporary effect”, says Vice-Minister of Environment Martynas Norbutas.

The first reports on the spread of Sosnowsky’s hogweed in Lithuania and its damage to human health and biodiversity were published about 35 years ago. The first habitats were then found in Vilnius (the surroundings of Buivydiškės), Kaunas district (in the vicinity of Lapės) and near Cirkliškiai. At present the population of Sosnowsky’s hogweed covers an area of approximately 12 000 to 15 000 ha. These plants mostly spread in abandoned anthropogenic areas, meadows, on shores of water bodies and forest edges, etc.

Sosnowsky’s hogweed is causing a lot of problems not only in Lithuania but also in the European Union. Therefore in 2016 it was declared an invasive species of the European Union. The European Commission has initiated the project EMPHASIS (Effective Management of Pests and Harmful Alien Species – Integrated Solutions) where one of the aims is to find more effective measures for combating Sosnowsky’s hogweed.

Communication Division

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas