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Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioic)

Crop Impacts: Pastures

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About Stinging Nettle:

Stinging Nettle is a perennial plant the reproduces by seeds and rhizomes. It is native to North America, and will reproduce and regrow from its rhizome roots. The rhizome root system also creates large clumps of plants infesting areas that are typically uncultivated. When Stinging Nettle comes in contact with human skin, it typically turns into reddish patches on the skin that are quite itchy and can give a burning sensation. There can be tingling in infected areas for more than 12 hours after contact.

Family: Nettle Family (Urticae)

Stinging Nettle 2 Stinging Nettle 3

Stinging Nettle Scouting and Prevention:

Stinging Nettle is an erect broadleaf weed that typically grows in colonies. The seed leaves can be round to oval, and have minimal to no hairs. The leaves of a mature plant have margins that are coarsely toothed, that sit on the ends of short stalks with the surface of the leaves covered in stinging hairs. They sit opposite of each other, have 3 to 5 prominent veins, and can grow from 2 to 5 inches long. A fully mature plant can grow from 3 to 10 feet tall, and under extremely exceptional circumstances, it can reach 20 feet. The branches of a mature plant grow from the base of the plant and have long stinging hairs and short non-stinging hairs. Separate male and female flower clusters form at the bottom of the leafstalks, and are whitish green and quite hidden. The seeds of the plants are very small and egg shaped. The flowers bloom between the months of March and September.

Common locations

  • - Moist uncultivated areas
  • - Along fence rows
  • - Pastures


Prevention of Stinging Nettle is less expensive and less time-consuming than trying to control it. Make sure when you are seeding a new area you are doing so with certified weed-free seeds. If there is an infested area on your property, be sure to drive around, instead of through it. Finally, make sure to give all equipment that has been in infested fields a good clean, to make sure no seeds are transferred.

Stinging Nettle Control:

Cultural Control

Removing Stinging Nettle by hand is an adequate form of control. However, it is crucial that you wear gloves to protect your hands from the hairs of the leaves and stems. It is very important when removing Stinging Nettle that you get rid of all roots to prevent regrowth. Close mowing is another option that can prevent Stinging Nettle from developing fruits. Finally, cultivation is another form of cultural control that can work, it is important that you repeat the cultivation process several times to make sure the root system does not reestablish.

Chemical Control

It is important when applying herbicides that you carefully look over the label to understand the using conditions which might include method of application, precaution and rates. These are a few suggestions that may help eradicate Stinging Nettle from your land. Tumnleweed pro, roundup pro bioactive and roundup pro Green are herbicides that contain different levels of the active ingredient glyphosate. The downside about using these herbicides is that they will kill all green plants they come in contact with, and should not be applied in areas where desirable plants can be harmed. Finally, the best time to use these chemicals is when the plant is actively growing which is typically tween April and October.

Latin / Alternative Stinging Nettle names:

  • - Urtica dioic
  • - Tall Nettle
  • - Slender Nettle

Additional Stinging Nettle Resources