By Carl Axel Magnus Lindman - Bilder ur Nordens
Flora no. 20 and en:File:Seneciojacobaea.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74077
Common Ragwort appears to be less well managed than it once was and I often find it growing on allotment sites. This in itself is not a problem provided it does not spread to areas where might eat the plant
when grazing or where their forage is grown.
Composting in the open is not recommended as a means of disposing of Ragwort, as there will be a risk of the ragwort spreading. However on-site composting may be used for small
quantities of common ragwort if care is taken to prevent the spread of seeds i.e. it can be rotted down on-site a sealed lidded container i.e. a rigid plastic compost bin..
The 2005 DEFRA advice, now withdrawn,
is included here for those outside the UK. It was recommended that the Ragwort should be collected in sacks. If plastic sacks are used, these must be emptied into the compost bin directly. If paper sacks are used, these could be loaded into the compost bin,
sliced, and consolidated, to increase the rate of biodegradation. The ragwort should be covered with a layer of grass clippings to help start the biodegradation process and help prevent the material drying out. As drying increases the risk that some seeds
or root material may not be destroyed and may lie dormant. Sufficient water should be added to keep the material moist.
There is still a risk of spreading viable material when the compost bin is emptied but these can
be reduced by allowing the keeping the material in the original compost bin for up to 12 months to mature. During this period, no fresh material should be added. If there are any concerns as to whether seeds of root have survived in the residues, they should
be transported to landfill
The current official advice is that common ragwort may be composted on-site or off-site if the facilities and expertise are available to compost ragwort, or green waste containing ragwort, to the
British Standard PAS 100:200512. This will ensure that all material is composted effectively. Where there are any concerns that, this standard cannot be met, i.e. when home composting, then the residues should be disposed to landfill in accordance with Environmental
Agency advice. Small amounts can be disposed of using the domestic waste collection service subject to Local Authority approval. The ragwort should be double bagged in plastic sacks for collection, or placing it into a refuse wheelie-bin for collection as
domestic refuse, Ragwort should not be mixed with the ‘Green Waste’, unless the Local Authority permits its inclusion.
If home composting is undertaken, outside the UK, despite the risk of spreading the
plant, it should be by hot composting in a sealed container. The temperatures reached in hot composting should be enough to destroy viable seed and breakdown the toxic alkaloids contained in ragwort. Ragwort seeds can ripen after being pulled or cut so temperature
control when hot composting is vital. The compost should be matured for a minimum of 12 months so that it is completely composted