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Waterloo out with warning about giant hogweed

They say it has been found in a number of spots within the city
File photo from The Canadian Press

Giant Hogweed is an invasive perennial herb that poses a significant threat to human health and is dangerous to pets as well. The plant also outcompetes native plants, reduces biodiversity and degrades the quality of riparian habitats.

Giant Hogweed has been found in a number of spots within the city. In some of these areas, such as Bechtel Park,  there is a recurring issue as there are a lot of seeds in the soil. In these public areas, city staff have been actively monitoring/destroying the plants as part of the Giant Hogweed eradication program for the City of Waterloo. However, eradication is a difficult, ongoing process, as plants produce many seeds (an average of 10,000 seeds each, but large plants can produce over 100,000) and the seeds remain viable for a long time. This means that new plants sprout up year after year in areas where the soil already contains seeds.  

When visiting city parks and trails (including Bechtel Park), please take note: 

  • There is no Giant Hogweed in the Bechtel Park leash free dog area. City staff inspected the site on July 9, 2019 and found no sign of Giant Hogweed in it.
  • Please stay on the official trails at all times and not go into the naturalized areas. The official trails are wide and easily recognizable and staff regularly monitor and destroy Giant Hogweed along these trails. Over the years, people have created a number of footpaths in the park by wandering into the natural areas and these footpaths will often cross areas that contain Hogweed. Please do not use these footpaths, as natural areas that have no official trails are not meant to be disturbed.
  • If you come across any Giant Hogweed plants that are along the official trails, please contact our parks division by calling 519-886-2310 or by e-mailing and we will go out and treat/remove the plants as soon as possible. If possible, please take a photo that you can send to us via e-mail to confirm if the plant is Giant Hogweed. Please do not attempt to remove Hogweed yourself.

For more information about Giant Hogweed, please review this document prepared for the Canada/Ontario Invasive Species Centre and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry by the Ontario Invasive Plant Council. If you would like information about our yard maintenance bylaw regarding noxious weeds visit the trees and yards page of our web site.



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