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Urgent! Monkshood/wolfsbane and digging doggies.

My mother has asked me to find out if anybody has good advise on getting rid of a lovely patch of Monkshood. :/ She found out (after 30 years) that it is toxic, especially the roots. She now has a small dog that loves digging, and is concerned that the said dog will launch into some rooting and chewing before she notices :/ It is half jack-russel so there is a fair chance!

She is gardening organically close by, so doesn't want to use weed killer, and it has surrounded some preciouse shrubs which she wouldn't want to poison anyway. I can't get over there to dig it out, so I was wondering if she could buy and use a weed burner?

If you have any ideas on whether this would work, and when would be the best time to use it let me know please. Is there anything else she needs to know regarding the job?

Many thanks for your attention, I would welcome any thoughts :)

Dinah (on behalf of Margaret and Pippa).



  • DampGardenManDampGardenMan Posts: 1,054
    Is there much difference between using a weed burner and just cutting the plants off at ground level (wear gloves when you do this)? And keep cutting until they stop coming if your mother is unable to dig the roots out.

    Could you hire an odd-job man to dig the plants out?
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,568
    While the odd-job man is there, he might as well remove any of the following while he’s at it as they are all toxic to dogs.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • BijdezeeBijdezee Posts: 1,484
    With that list 3/4 of my plants would be gone Pansyface  ;)

    I think many dogs have been raised in gardens with toxic plants over the years (including mine) so i think the risk is low. As your mother has already decided that she wants them gone then i think digging them up including the roots is the best option. Like suggested, can she get a neighbour or odd job man to do it ? Should be a relatively quick job unless she has an acre of it  :)
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,841
    In my experience dogs dig but don't eat plants or roots except grass.   I have two dogs aged 11 and 8 and had most of those plants in my Belgian garden and some in my new French garden.    No oleander or laburnum cos I don't like them.

    One is a terrier who digs and the other is a Lab who eats anything remotely edible.

    Both are alive and well and very healthy.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DinahDinah Posts: 294
    That is all very reasuring, thank you. I think we will forget about it being removed - my mother will be very pleased about it. To be on the safe side, we'll organise a bit of wire mesh and stones on the ground around it so the dog doesn't do any major excavations. Hopefully the stones will hold the plant back from spreading too. It is quite big now, so does need hindering a little.

    Many thanks to all who have helped,

    Dinah (also from Margaret and Pippa!)
  • Mark56Mark56 Posts: 1,653
    We have a border terrier and I happily grow half of the list provided by PF, the only time to be extra cautious is when they are puppies and chewing everything but he made it through perfectly safe. 
  • DinahDinah Posts: 294
    Mark, that is good to know. She is past the puppy stage, but is keen on chewing (jackadoodle - bit of a hyperbundle!) so we'll put a bit of chicken wire down and around it. There are lots of big stones to weight it and hide it too. Thank you for the reasurance, and everyone else who has contributed. :):)
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 10,819
    The roots are the most toxic part and it's very important to wear thick gloves when cutting back or digging up this plant. I've never heard of dogs being poisoned though.
    I put warning signs on mine when we open the garden for charity just to deter visitors from picking any bits off. 
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • LynLyn Posts: 21,383
    Is it just poisonous if you eat it? I cut mine down, take seeds, sow them, pot them on, plant them out.never worn gloves. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 26,991
    edited April 2018
    yes, I think you must need to eat it Lyn so don't :) I only where gloves for prickly and muddy and cold, not for handling plants. I'm still here and have never had the slightest problem after handling aconitum

    In the sticks near Peterborough
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