River Esk Giant Hogweed Year End Report 2023
We have reached the end of Year 2 of the upper Esk Giant Hogweed Eradication Project and Year 3 of the lower Esk Project.
I am very grateful to all the spotters who have send GPS sightings to Dave Quarendon to put on his unique GPS online map. I am immensely grateful for all that work.
With extra spotter support we have been able to survey some of the most upstream parts of the Esk this year and were pleased to find much of it Giant Hogweed free.
We have achieved more success than last year over the entire catchment area with more landowners beginning to get more involved, realising that this is a community effort. Ownership of some areas has proved difficult to establish as owners often prove elusive when it suits.
The Musselburgh area has achieved a greater success this year. I am especially grateful for all the work done by East Lothian Council and Musselburgh Golf course in that Musselburgh central area.
There are however many other landowners who have dealt with their areas perfectly well and removed all their Giant Hogweed plants. I am very grateful for that.
Despite this there were some noticeable gaps in thoroughness. Railtrack were a classic example of being a bad neighbour and given that the rail network runs right through the centre of our area that has been a great disappointment to us all.
We may need to look at other ways of enforcement of treatment for this invasive plant which is harmful to human contact and is illegal to deliberately allow the spread of seeds.
Some landowners using contractors have allowed them to begin spraying far too late when plants were well advanced in growth and heading to flower.
Remember where anyone is unsure where to find the Giant Hogweed on their land please visit the on-line link to the dynamic map to see where plants have been spotted and marked on the map. You can enlarge the map and see great detail and if you click on a sighting it gives you the number of plants and date spotted.
Link here www.elcv.org.uk/HogweedMapEsk
Every Giant Hogweed plant that flowers and produces seeds takes our project back again to year one as these seeds go back into the soil to germinate over the next 10 years starting the process all over again.
This is why our maxim is
“No plant must Flower”
This photo shows the consequence of leaving one plant to flower. Each of these little germinated seedling plants is a Giant Hogweed plant.
The map below shows the location of Giant Hogweed plants on the River Esk recorded during 2023.