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Giant Ragweed is a common variation of ragweed that can grow anywhere from 3 to 16 feet in height! It is more often recognized as a threat to farmland and crops than it is to people suffering from allergies.
It can be found everywhere in the US except for a few specific areas: the Pacific Coast, parts of the Southwest, and portions of Florida and Maine.
This giant weed is a threat to crops because it is very difficult to control with herbicides. It is very competitive and can easily outgrow plans such as corn and soybean.
It's fast growth and incredibly tall stature causes it to block sunlight from slower growing agricultural crops. This leads to significant losses in crop yield each season and can reduce the crop output of a single field by over 50%.
One important weakness of all types of ragweed is that it spreads only by seeds. Therefore, all control measures should be aimed at preventing seed production. In addition, in order to minimize allergies, plant removal should also occur prior to flowering.
Pulling out the stalks of smaller plants is the easiest method for removal as the plants can be resistant to many weed killing sprays. Using gloves is required as contact with the stalks of the plant can be very spiny and aggravate one's allergies even when pollen is not yet present.
Characteristics vary from smaller species of ragweed, and you should have no problem these weeds if you know what to look for.
First, they often look more like a small tree rather than a weed!The next easiest method of identification is looking at the leaves.
They tend to be large, hairy, 3-lobed leaves up to 10 inches long and 8 inches wide. Occasionally they can have five lobes, but the shapes remain very distinctive.