It was a couple years ago I was at the studio and I heard Gordy talking with Rice County Highway Engineer Dennis Luebbe on KDHL's AM Minnesota. Dennis mentioned that a number of his staff had gotten severe burns from wild parsnip. I had never heard of wild parsnip. If you touch wild parsnip and some of the oil gets on your skin it reacts with sunlight causing a severe burn. It can even be a first degree burn with scaring.

I was at my desk so I searched wild parsnip on the internet. When the picture came up I was shocked. That was a picture of a weed I had seen growing in road ditches by a couple of my farms! I saw it growing many other places too! Wild parsnip is a very nasty aggressive invasive weed. Mark Henry does road maintenance up in Dakota County and for many years has been "on a mission" to control wild parsnip along his roads.

Mark is my expert on controlling wild parsnip because he has a lot of experience. He said wild parsnip is like dandelions on steroids. It has the same life cycle as a dandelion in your yard. However mowing wild parsnip later in the season is a very effective way to spread it. Late May and early June is a good time to spray or spot spray wild parsnip. Herbicides like 2-4-D are effective at controlling wild parsnip.


You want to be careful because herbicides that control wild parsnip will also kill pollinators like milk weed too. Clink on the link and listen to Mark discuss controlling wild parsnip.

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