Scientists have finally found a remedy for hogweed: it's an earthen pear

Scientists have finally found a remedy for hogweed: it's an earthen pear

11 January , 14:03Science
It turned out that earthen pear (Jerusalem artichoke) easily displaces the weed, which has become a real disaster for rural Russia.

The news that scientists from the St. Petersburg Agrophysical Research Institute had found an effective way to defeat the Sosnovsky hogweed went almost unnoticed.

It is known that this problem has worried rural residents for several decades: agricultural lands abandoned after the collapse of the USSR are wildly overgrown with hogweed, a plant that, not only spreads very quickly, reaching two meters in height, it is also poisonous. No wonder in the Soviet Union there was a legend that the seeds of the hogweed were thrown to us in spite of the Americans, well, like the Colorado potato beetle.

The search for an "antidote" against a werewolf plant, which has turned from a forage grass into a weed that is deadly to humans, has been going on for several decades. And here is the encouraging news: in the fight against the hogweed, scientists relied on Jerusalem artichoke (otherwise called an earthen pear): last summer, at an experimental station in the Leningrad Region, it was landed right in the thickets of the hogweed, which stood as an impregnable wall.

A few months later, the organizers of the experiment made a presentation to the participants of the Russian-Chinese conference on Jerusalem artichoke and its possibilities. It turned out that at the Jerusalem artichoke planting site, Sosnovsky's "indestructible" hogweed disappeared, as if it had never existed: instead of this noxious grass, a whole thicket of Jerusalem artichoke rose!

It is not without reason that the North-West has become a pilot region, where a program for combating hogweed with Jerusalem artichoke starts; in this region, Sosnovsky's hogweed occupies about 500 thousand hectares, constantly expanding its area. While, according to Petrostat data, in 2019 the sown area following the results of spring sowing in farms of all categories amounted to 237.6 thousand hectares, and not used in agricultural turnover - 123.1 thousand hectares (34.22% of arable lands of the region or 1.46% of the total area of the Leningrad region, which is 8 390 800 hectares).

The research results were transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation in order to scale up to other regions. If the experiment with the destruction of hogweed with Jerusalem artichoke shoots, then an earthen pear may well press the potatoes. In terms of taste, vitamins and minerals, it is no worse. It's just that, according to scientists, he has not yet received mass support.

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