Do you have a stinging nettle in your yard? You’re not alone. Stinging nettles is an incredibly common weed in the US and Europe, and can be a nuisance in lawns and gardens. Although they’re common, but many people don’t know how to identify them and therefore aren’t sure what to do about the plant.
However, if you find yourself with an overgrown patch of this plant or one too close to your garden produce then read on! This blog post will help you figure out if there is a Stinging Nettle on your property and how to get rid of it if so.
What Is Stinging Nettle Exactly?
Urtica Dioica, more commonly known as Common Nettle, Burn Nettle, and Stinging Nettle, is as perennial flowering plant native to Europe and temperate parts of Asia and North Africa, but nowadays can be found in many temperate climates and countries all over the world.
Stinging nettle is so called for its infamous sting that it gives any people passing by if they touch it with bare skin. Many people are not aware of the dangers of coming into contact with this plant because it does not look like anything dangerous to them.
A person who touches this plant may experience redness, burning, itching, and swelling on the part of their body where they touched it. Sometimes even more severe reactions such as nausea and vomiting can occur if enough sap gets onto someone’s skin!
However, it’s not all bad. This plant has many uses as it contains vitamin A, C, K, iron and magnesium which are all essential for good health. Nettle soup is a very common dish in Northern and Eastern Europe. It can even be used in textiles as a fiber similar to linen.
If you are able to identify stinging nettle before you step on it, there are steps you can take to minimize the effects of the plant’s sting. Dock weeds, which often grow next to nettle weeds, supposedly have a soothing affect if their leaves are rubbed on the affected area, although this is not scientifically proven.
How Does Stinging Nettle Grow and Where?
Nettle is most common in temperate and northern climates, and is found less in southern Europe and North Africa, due to its need for moist soil conditions. It is found in every state in the U.S. except for Hawaii, and is especially prevalent in the northwest region due to its heavy amounts of rainfall.
This plant likes to grow near the edges of sidewalks or paths, as well as in places that have or have had human habitation. It thrives in soils that have elevated levels of phosphate and nitrogen.
What Does Stinging Nettle Look Like?
Stinging Nettle can grow between 3 and 7 feet tall in the summer, but dies down in the winter. Each plant grows a single wiry green stem, and from this stem branches off all of the leaves.
These leaves are shaped like hearts at the base and have very pointed tips. The leaves are serrated with jagged edges that resemble teeth or claws.
Both the stems and leaves also have many small hairs all over them. It is these tiny hairs – or spines – that make any direct skin contact with the plant feel very uncomfortable and cause itching sensations.
It also has small, green and brownish flowers that grow from the stem towards the top of the plant.
How To Eliminate Stinging Nettle From Your Garden
You’ve established there is Stinging Nettle in your yard and you want to eliminate it. What’s next? There’s a few techniques you can use to get rid of Stinging Nettle.
Whether you prefer organic or chemical ways to eliminate the plant from your yard, there are plenty of options available that should suit anyone’s needs and budget.
The first option to try when eradicating stinging nettle is to pull it out by hand. You could manually remove these weeds with some gloves and maybe even tongs or clippers, though it will be quite non-trivial if your infestation is large enough.
Pull up the nettle at least six inches from root level then discarding these plants into black plastic bags before throwing them away. Do this early in the spring or summer before the plant starts to flower, and use a fork or hoe to get the roots under the soil.
To avoid any painful potential side effects you should wear gloves and long sleeves and trousers when working around your yard so you don’t come into contact with it.
These chemical options can be purchased at your local hardware store and sprayed onto the plants until they turn brown, dying off over time. Read all the instructions before using weed killers, and be sure to wear protective clothing when spraying your garden.
How Does One Stop Stinging Nettle Before It Grows?
So, you’ve successfully eliminated all of the stinging nettle from your garden. How do you keep it that way?
One way to stop the growth before it begins is by removing any weeds that will grow into plants, then rake up all debris around your flowerbeds so they don’t provide an area for seeds to take root.
You can also apply a thick layer of organic mulch around any flower beds or garden areas. Compost or bark both work well. This will block the light from penetrating into the soil and keep the nettle seeds from germinating.
Maintaining good lawn-care practices will also help keep nettle out of your garden. When caring for your lawn, be sure to mow regularly and fertilize once a year with an organic fertilizer to ensure that your grass stays healthy and won’t provide the nettle with nutrients to grow.
Stinging nettle is a plant that can be found in many areas of the world, as well as many homeowners’ gardens. It often grows alongside other plants, so it may not even stand out to the untrained eye until too late.
We hope this article has helped you learn to identify stinging nettle and tell you how best to get rid of it from your garden. So if you’re ready to get started with eliminating this pesky weed once and for all, don’t hesitate!