Jack and Mark weed out the ragwort

Transition Year students at St Mel’s College in Longford town looked at the most effective way of killing and containing the growth of ragwort, a highly toxic weed which affects the health of livestock.

Transition Year students at St Mel’s College in Longford town looked at the most effective way of killing and containing the growth of ragwort, a highly toxic weed which affects the health of livestock.

The tall yellow weed is common on wasteland and pastures throughout Ireland. Its natural habitat is sand dunes although it is prevalent on light, low fertility soils and on grassland which has been overgrazed. It is often spotted on roadsides, railways and on rubbish tips.

As part of their project entitled ‘The most effective way of controlling ragwort after germination’, Jack Kelly and Mark Mulleady treated yearling ragwort known as rosettes with a range of chemicals. The boys discovered vinegar to be the most effective way of controlling the rogue plant.

Project mentor and science teacher at St Mel’s, Fiona Noone commended the boys endeavour and determination throughout the process. “Jack and Mark worked all through Christmas to have the study finished in time to enter the awards. They thoroughly enjoyed the whole process and I will be encouraging them to enter the project again next year”, she said.