Common Nettle

Common Name

  • Common nettle

Latin Name

  • Urtica dioica

Habitat & Distribution

  • Common nettle is a native species that can be found throughout the UK, favouring damp fertile and disturbed ground. It is found growing in a range of habitats including; farmland, grasslands, hedgerows, road side verges, woodlands and gardens.

What’s the problem?

  • Common nettle can quickly spread creating dense stands which outcompete other species for water and nutrients.
  • It germinates readily from seeds and also spreads by rhizome.
  • Plants are very tolerant of extreme climatic conditions.
  • Common nettles are covered in many stinging hairs (trichomes) which cause painful stings when touched.

What are the legal implications?

  • Common nettle is not covered under any legislation.

In detail

  • Individual plants are either male or female, when growing together fertilised female plants can produce large numbers of seed.
  • The plants can also spread via creeping root system. Surface stems can root at nodes, producing new aerial shoots.
  • Nettles are great for wildlife and are the food source for the caterpillars of a number of butterflies including small tortoiseshell and peacock.


  • Common nettle is a perennial species which can grow 1m to 2m in height.
  • It forms soft green leaves, 3cm to 15cm in length which are strongly toothed.
  • Leaves and stems are very hairy
  • Forms numerous drooping, catkin flowers which are greenish or brownish in colour.

Control methods

Chemical Control:

The best time to apply herbicides is when the plant is vigorously growing and before flowing, a second application may also be required later in the season to effectively control the infestation.

Mechanical Control

Mechanical excavation can be effective at removing infestations, however, it is important to remove all of the creeping stems as each node section has the ability of producing a new plant. Repeated mowing over a number of seasons is also effective at reducing cover.

If you have concerns over Common nettle on your land, or if you would like a quotation for control, please contact one of our specialist surveyors. Treatment costs start from £380.00 + VAT.