Weeds: Stinging nettle – Urtica dioica

categories: Sh-Z Weeds

revision date: 2024-06-22 11:03

  • Family: Urticaceae
  • Cycle: PerennialBroadleaf
  • Plant type:
Stinging nettle flowers.
Stinging nettle flowers
Photo by: R. Parker


Stinging nettles are typically erect, slender plants reaching two to nine feet high. The opposite leaves are coarsely toothed and often about twice as long as broad. Some varieties have narrower leaves. The petiole is usually about 1/3 the length of the leaf blade. Plants are more or less hairy or bristly, with the characteristic stinging hairs typically occurring along the stems and on the undersides of the leaves. The stems are square in cross-section. Greenish (later brown) flower clusters occur in the axils of upper leaves and are typically loose or compact and drooping. Stinging nettle reproduces by seeds and by creeping rootstocks. SPECIAL INFORMATION: Minor to severe reactions can result from skin contact with the stinging hairs or bristles of stinging nettles. The stinging sensation results from the presence of irritating chemicals in the hairs.


Stinging nettles occur in moist woodlands and shady areas throughout the region. Stream banks are a common site.

Management Options

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Mowing to prevent seed production is a very effective means of management.
  • In lawns, mowing regularly at the proper height for the grass species may help minimize weed growth and invasion.
  • Not a problem in healthy established turf.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • Apply according to label directions.
  • Glyphosate products should be applied as spot treatments only!
  • NOTE: Some ingredients listed here are only available in combination.
  • Read the label carefully on combination products to make sure the product is suitable for your specific situation.

Landscape areas

  • glyphosate

Turf areas

  • 2,4-D + MCPP + dicamba

Bare ground areas

  • glyphosate

Additional Images