fast-growing thorny monster weed
This appeared a few days ago and has grown exponentially. Thick stalk has thorns. It is about 8 feet tall today. How can we safely destroy it? Should it be burned? We do not want to touch it in case it is hogweed or something like that. We are 70 years old and wonder who would be appropriate resource to hire to get rid of it.
Prince George's County Maryland
This looks like our native tree, Aralia spinosa, also known as Devil's Walkingstick (because of the thorns!) It is not Giant hogweed.
Here is more about it: https://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/trees/plants/devil_ws.html
This is an attractive native plant because of the beautiful flowers and berries, and is good for wildlife. However, it does sucker into small groves, though you should be able to control it by simply mowing or pruning off any suckers that some up. If you do not want it, cut it down like you would for any other unwanted tree.