Let's eradicate ragweed!
Blocked noses, watering eyes — from August until the first frosts of winter, ragweed still claims its victims. Don't wait any longer! Learn how to identify this weed that carries the Latin name of Ambrosia artemisiifolia. Once identified, uproot it!
A Description of Ragweed
What does this plant, which causes so much misery from hay fever, look like? It has a rather innocuous appearance and looks like a typical weed. That is its advantage: passing unnoticed!
Ragweed grows to an average height of 70 cm. Its hairy stalk is surmounted by narrow grey/green leaves that are deeply indented. The leaves grow in opposing pairs, alternating in direction up the stem. Through June and July, the plant grows a spike of little, green flowers at the top of each stalk. These flowers bloom in August and release millions of pollen grains, which disperse in the air like clouds, and are the cause of so much misery - by then it is too late; the plant should have been pulled out by the roots before the flowers bloomed!
An Urban Habitat
If you want to eliminate ragweed, you have to know where it grows. It loves to grow in clumps in sunny spots.
Ragweed has a preference for badly maintained, poor quality soil such as that found along railway tracks, next to sidewalks, on construction sites, on building lots that are not maintained, a corner of bare land, where road salt has killed off a lawn, in a corner of the garden, or where soil has been disturbed. It grows like… a weed!
The Most Unpleasant Symptoms
Though it looks quire innocuous, ragweed causes extreme discomfort to more than 10% of the population. Its pollen can provoke a severe reaction: nasal irritation, itching of the throat, continuous sneezing, swollen and runny eyes, congested sinuses, wracking coughs, and even chronic asthma for some unfortunate sufferers. That is what ragweed can cause!
Even if antihistamine pills and decongestants, available over the counter, can sometimes sooth the victims of this respiratory allergy, these medications can often cause unpleasant side effects.
Health problems, runaway social costs through medical expenses and absenteeism are just some of the consequences of this phenomenon that merits everyone's attention. A radical solution is required: get rid of the problem at the source — uproot every ragweed plant that you can find!
Not to be confused with poison ivy!
Poison ivy tends to grow in woodlands. This plant has trifoliate leaves, and fruit that vary in colour from yellow to off-white. Its leaves are almost smooth, sometimes glossy, and grow alternately on a woody stem. When the leaves come in contact with a person's skin, they cause immediate itching.
Ragweed, however, may be touched without danger and can be uprooted without risk at any time. When we realize that its pollen can remain dormant in the soil for over forty years, we begin to understand the necessity of pulling up this plant before it blooms.
And do it before August!
How should we get rid of this detestable plant? The simplest way is to pull it up. This is easy to do because it has a poorly developed root system. But remember, ragweed must be uprooted in June or July before it has a chance to flower in August.
Ragweed can also be discouraged by regular lawn maintenance, especially around the edges of the lawn, taking care to avoid leaving any bald spots.
Even though uprooting is the most practical method of eliminating ragweed, if an area of land has been completely covered by this plant, it can be controlled by regularly cutting it to the ground. This prevents the flowers form blooming and releasing their devastating pollen. If the job is too daunting, professional help can be used to deal with infested land.
Whether at work, at home, or just out for a walk, keep an eye open for ragweed. Together we will be able to eliminate this nuisance!