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It’s that time of year again when this invasive pest is flowering and producing its seeds. We NEED your help in controlling this harmful plant.
Wild parsnip was introduced into the U.S. because of its edible taproot. Spreading beyond gardens, wild parsnip is now found all over the country and commonly grows in sunny areas such as roadside ditches, fence rows, wood edges, and meadows. It is harmful because of its ability to displace native vegetation, decrease biodiversity, and cause painful blisters on the skin. Because of this harmful characteristic, extreme caution should be taken for children and pets that enjoy playing outdoors in fields, pastures, roadsides, and wood edges. Adults who regularly hike, fish or hunt should be cautious as well, as this plant will regularly invade stream banks and trail sides.
The best way you can help slow the spread of wild parsnip is by carefully cutting off the flowering crown of the plant, placing it in a garbage bag, and putting in the trash. Entire plants can also be pulled or dug up, but if the seeds are already ripening the entire plant needs to be removed from the area and disposed of because the seeds will still mature even when the plant is pulled out of the ground. Seeds can remain viable in the soil for up to four years so yearly control is necessary. Broadleaf herbicides containing triclopyr or 2, 4-D can also be applied to early stage plants but should be used with caution and preferably late in the fall after other plants have become dormant. (If you are not sure what to use or how to use it, please contact St. Croix County Resource Management.
WARNING: Wild parsnip can cause painful skin irritation. There are chemical compounds in the sap of parsnip plants called Furocoumarins that cause the skin to become hypersensitive to sunlight. This causes a magnified sun-burn like reaction on the skin that can range from a mild redness to large painful blisters. These chemicals can also affect pets with light colored skin or thin fur. This is why proper precautions must be taken when trying to control wild parsnip including wearing proper clothing such as long pants and long sleeve shirts, gloves, and boots.
If you have wild parsnip in your area and would like help with proper identification or removal, please contact St. Croix County Resource Management at (715)-531-1922 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org