The task is:

(1) A legal obligation on us all as owners pursuant to the Weeds Act of 1959, and

(2) A prudent financial step to take in order to maximize the yield from our fields of revenue-earning grass or crops in such forms as pasture grass, hay, and agricultural produce (if any of the fields were to be put under the plough at some time, e.g. as part of crop-rotation?).

The following five weeds are regarded as sufficiently undesirable to be classed as harmful to agriculture (“injurious weeds”) under a special act of parliament, i.e. the Weeds Act.

•    spear thistle (cirsium vulgare)

•    creeping or field thistle (cirsium arvense)

•    curled dock (rumex crispus)

•    broad-leaved dock (rumex obtusifolius)

•    ragwort (sensecio jacobaea) (also subject to the Ragwort Control Act of 2003)

* DEFRA comment: "If allowed to spread, the first four above compete with and suppress grass and crop plants."

Landowners are obliged under the Weeds Act “to take such action as may be necessary to prevent the weeds from spreading.”  If, in a worst-case scenario, owners fail to comply, they can be classed as being “guilty of an offence” and be subject to heavy fines.

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