Group out to kill invasive species giant hogweed in Oswego County

Giant hogweed plant
Giant hogweed plant

Partners of the SLELO-PRISM (St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario – Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management) will again be busy controlling giant hogweed plants in the eastern Lake Ontario region.

More than 61 sites spread across five counties — including Oswego County — are scheduled to be treated. Counties included in this effort are St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida and cswego Counties.

“Giant Hogweed poses a serious threat to anyone who comes into contact with the sap from the plant,” said Rob Williams, PRISM coordinator. “The sap, combined with sunlight, creates a photosensitive reaction on human skin which can cause serious burns and blisters and eventual scarring.”

“Due to the biology of this plant, we believe it is still possible to eradicate local populations of Giant Hogweed,” Williams said. “Since the beginning of the program in 2011 we have achieved a 33 percent reduction in active hogweed sites.”

Techniques used to control this plant include cutting the root of the plant just below the ground surface, applying herbicides and removing the flowering seed head just before seed drop.

The main stem/stalk of the giant hogweed plant with identifying purple blotches and white hairs
The main stem/stalk of the giant hogweed plant with identifying purple blotches and white hairs

The group’s work takes place primarily on public property and rights-of-way. The most effective and “safe” way for landowners to control this plant on private property is to apply over-the-counter herbicides in accordance with their labels.

Invasive species of plants, animals, insects and microorganisms are among the most serious threats to native species, habitats and ecosystems within the five-county areas that define the St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario (SLELO) region.

Invasive species interfere with many types of outdoor recreation. They reduce crop yields and interfere with harvest operations on local farms.

Along public roads and highways, invasive plants restrict visibility and create roadside hazards. Invasive insects and diseases kill trees in forested areas as well as along community streets.

The economic impact of invasive species in the United States alone has been estimated at 120 billion annually.

Local communities have been challenged with controlling invasive species or remediating their impacts at costs ranging from several thousand to millions of dollars.

For more information on Giant Hogweed, visit the SLELO website at

To report a sighting call the Giant Hogweed Hotline at 845-256-3111.

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