Wild Parsnip is in flower and quickly flourishing all around the area. Wild parsnip is classified as a noxious weed in Minnesota and can grow to six feet tall. It can be seen in roadside ditches this time of year with its yellow flower heads that produce the seeds which readily cause the plant to spread.
Wild parsnip is an invasive plant and is dangerous because the sap causes phytophotodermatitis, a skin reaction ranging from sunburn-type redness to severe blistering burns when skin is exposed to the sap and sunlight. The amount of sap and sunlight exposure determines the severity of the reaction and both people and animals can be affected. All parts of the plant are toxic and extreme care should be taken when dealing with it. Be sure all skin is covered and wear gloves to prevent contact.
Chemical herbicides work well to control the plant and are best applied in the spring when the plants are smaller in the spring and again in the fall. Multiple applications are needed as seeds the area will continue to sprout. Sargent’s Nursery can help you find the right product to treat and help control wild parsnip. For more information on wild parsnip, visit the MDA.