The tip of a stinging nettle shoot

Stinging nettles

Learn how to eradicate stinging-nettles, with help from our expert guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
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Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) are able to survive in a wide range of conditions but are most common on ground that’s been left uncultivated for a long period. Plants can spread to form clumps, and seed is also distributed to infest new areas. Stinging nettles die down to tough yellow roots in autumn, over-wintering to grow up again the following spring.



Tall-growing perennial plant which spreads below ground by rhizomes or across the surface by creeping stems or stolons to form dense clumps of stinging foliage.

Find it on

established borders, uncultivated ground


Remove seedlings and young plants on freshly cultivated ground before they get chance to establish and spread. Dig out established clumps, ensuring that all of the thick, yellow roots are removed. Where growing nettles to encourage beneficial wildlife, pinch out the flowers as soon as they appear to prevent seeding. The unflowered top growth of nettles can be added to the compost heap but roots should be burned or binned.

Discover 10 uses for nettles



Apply systemic weedkiller to the newly emerging shoots in spring and make further applications as necessary. If treating in summer, cut down foliage and apply weedkiller to the regrowth that appears.