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Community grapevines have been so overtaken with mumbles of concern about Poison Hemlock in recent years that the Dubois County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) partnered with the Dubois County Weed Board in 2022 for an outreach campaign about the invasive, noxious weed. The organizations plan to continue distributing educational videos, ads, public service announcements, and mailings to Dubois County Landowners to encourage continued efforts in getting Poison Hemlock under control.

The plant is common on the side of roads, fields, and creeks and is classified as an invasive plant and noxious weed partially because of its highly toxic effects on humans and livestock if ingested. The rapid spread of Poison Hemlock has shown that a reminder of the threat posed by the plant, and a reminder of the correct way to get rid of it, is needed.

An understanding of the flower is needed to effectively combat its spread. Dubois County SWCD Invasive Species Specialist, Emily Finch, explained that some efforts to control Poison Hemlock are ineffective because it needs to be controlled early in the year before the plants’ flower. Because the weed is biennial, meaning it only lives for two years before producing seed and dying, the only way to eradicate infestations is to prevent seed production.

Poison Hemlock can be controlled with multiple methods as long as the plants aren’t allowed to flower and produce seeds. Because the seeds have a very short duration in the soil, many populations can be eradicated with a few years of effective treatments.

Small populations can be removed by hand if an individual wears gloves or dug up with a sharp shovel to sever the root. Summer plants re-sprout regularly making cutting or mowing ineffective unless repeated regularly. In fact, Poison Hemlock seeds can be spread by mowing and cause further infestations. Large populations of the plant are best controlled with Herbicides and chemicals that have the benefit of not harming grass or freshwater supplies. Residents are encouraged to read the warning labels and instructions for whatever product they choose.

SWCD’s Emily Finch says the earlier you can take action against the spread of Poison Hemlock, the better. For the best results, she suggests only spraying on days over 50 degrees.

More information and options to eradicate Poison Hemlock from Purdue Extension/SICWMA’s presentation about the invasive plant are available at Landowners in Dubois County may qualify for funding to control Poison Hemlock and other noxious weeds. More details about the program are available by calling 812-482-1171 extension 3 or by email to

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