Rho decrees ragweed eradication

To combat common allergies.

Milan’s north-western suburb of Rho has ordered property owners to kill any ragweed growing on their land – or face a €500 fine.

The common weed’s pollen, due in August and September, can trigger serious allergies. A single plant can produce up to a billion grains of pollen in a season, and these can be carried hundreds of miles on the wind, causing oral allergy syndrome in sufferers. This in turn causes itching, burning and swelling in the mouth and throat, triggered by contact with a wide range of foods. It can also kill animals.

Ragweed pollen is said to be responsible for some 50 percent of allergies in North America.

The ordinance decrees the eradication by city squads on public land. But owners are responsible for cutting down ragweed on private property.

The first treatment must take place by the end of July, and the second during August. If the weed regenerates, a third treatment in the first 10 days of September may be necessary.

And if the fine doesn’t move property owners to action, the city will intervene and present them with the bill.

There are about 50 species of ragweed, both annual and perennial, and they only react to some of the most aggressive herbicides. It is therefore advisable to get expert advice on methods of control.