Wright Co. Soil & Water needs volunteers to eradicate Wild Parsnip

June 23, 2008

The Wright Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is looking for volunteers to help control the spread of wild parsnip throughout Wright County. To see a picture of the weed, click here.

Wild parsnip is an invasive specie, surviving in nearly any condition and is commonly found in disturbed areas along road ditches, rail road tracks, pastured land, and agricultural fields.

The SWCD has confirmed approximately 40 acres of infested land on various public and private properties.

If wild parsnip is not controlled in known areas today, your land may become infested and overrun in the future.

It invades slowly, but once established and seeded spreads rapidly choking out other forms of vegetation. Individual plants stand erect at 2-5 feet tall. Leaves are alternate, with variably toothed leaflet edges consisting of 5-15 leaflets per leaf. Small 5 pedaled yellow flowers sprout in 15-25 primary rays and are arranged in 2-6 inch wide clusters during the June through September flowering season.

Avoid skin contact during the flowering months from June through September. The sap of wild parsnip in contact with skin and presence of sunlight can cause a rash, blistering, or discoloration of skin (phytophotodermatitis). A very painful rash may develop which can lead to scaring for several months or longer. Wearing gloves, long sleeves, and long pants are some precautions to avoid direct contact with wild parsnip.

Wild parsnip can be controlled manually by hand pulling or cutting the plant just below the crown of its long tap root. If mechanical methods have failed wild parsnip can be treated chemically by sparingly applying glyphosate (Roundup) to individual plants.

To help fight this battle please contact the Wright SWCD by calling (763) 682-1970 or stop by our office located at 311 Brighton Avenue South Suite C, Buffalo.

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