Stinging nettle is a rampant grower, especially in moister areas; however, no site is immune. It spreads by seeds and underground stems, which also cause pain if you touch them. If any part of the underground stem is left behind after weeding, a new plant springs up from each piece.
Stinging nettle foliage
Photo courtesy Rutgers University
Besides pain, stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) also can cause a rash that lasts about 24 hours. The irritation usually resolves on its own on people and pets.
The perennial weed, which is native to Europe, Asia, Northern Africa and North America, grows 2 to 5 feet tall. The weed’s leaves are distinctly serrated and are opposite each other on the stem. The flowers are pale green, but not showy.
Preen offers six products that either kills or keeps stinging nettle from germinating in the flower garden and around trees and shrubs. For a complete list of products, find stinging nettle in our Weed Solutions Center.