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 Wild Parsnip ID Video- Dr. Mark Renz and UM Extension

2018 Noxious Weed Notice
PDF Posted 5/14/18

Program Contacts

Erik Heuring – Wright County Ag Inspector 763-355-8639

Dan Nadeau – Wright SWCD 763-682-1970



The CWMA was formed due to concern of negative threats to native aquatic, wetland, and terrestrial system posed by invasive plant species in Wright County. Currently, Wright County Townships, Wright County Highway and Parks Departments, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Wright Soil and Water Conservation District, and some private landowners have come together to control the spread of Wild Parsnip. More participation from private landowners and adjoining counties is needed to make the control possible over time.

What is being done?

Continue what was started in 2008 and work within our cooperative system which is Wright County Townships, Wright County Highway/Parks, MnDOT, and private landowners to control Wild Parsnip thru education, spraying, and timely mowing.

We need greater participation from private landowners.

“Plan of Action”

  • Site visit with landowners, show them what Wild Parsnip looks like

  • Explain reasoning behind controlling the spread of this noxious weed (Wild Parsnip)

  • Explain 100% cost reimbursement on herbicide is available to landowners

  • Time limit deadline, allowing flexibility for the landowner for treatment

  • Enforcement by Ag Inspector


100% cost reimbursement on herbicide for treating Wild Parsnip and Common Tansy is available to:

  • Wright County Private Landowners

  • Wright County Townships

  • Wright County Parks & Highway Departments


Wild Parsnip Location by Township

 Reimbursement Requirements

Wild Parsnip Life Cycles

Early Spring

Late Spring or Fall

Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is the most recent addition to the Wright County invasive species list. This rapidly spreading plant is a native of Europe and Asia escaping from agriculture, grown as a root vegetable. Wild parsnip is biennial meaning its presence remains all year long while reoccurring and seeding the following year. Wild parsnip moves into disturbed habitats, along field edges or in disturbed patches of ground. It invades slowly, but once established and seeded spreads rapidly choking out other forms of vegetation. Wild parsnip survives in nearly any conditions and is commonly found along road ditches, in pastures, along railroad tracks, and fields.

Avoid skin contact with the toxic sap of the plant tissue. 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. Wild parsnip is most irritating at the time of flowering from the months of June through September. Wearing gloves, long sleeves, and long pants are some precautions to avoid direct contact with wild parsnip.

Early Summer

Flowering Summer

Late Summer or Fall


Control Methods

Hand Pulling
Grip the plant stalk just above the ground and pull the plant from the ground.
Effective: All year round before the plant goes to seed. If hand pulling after viable seeds are produced, the plants must be collected and burned.

Cutting the Root
Using a spaded shovel or object with a blunt edge, cut the wild parsnip root approximately 1” below the ground.
Effective: All year round before the plant goes to seed.

Burn the Seeds
After the plant has gone to seed and chemical spraying is no longer a possibility, burning the seed from the plant with a torch is a possibility.
Effective: After the plant has turned brown and seeded. When green flowering plants and plants with green seeds were burned there were hardly any impacts to the plant.

Cut and Collect the Seed
Once the plant has gone to seed and is viable, cutting the tops of the plants with a scissors or clippers, bagging the seed, and burning will reduce the number of viable seeds.
Effective: After the plant has turned brown and seeded.

Cutting wild parsnip with a mower can cause more harm than good when trying to eliminate. If mowed too early in the year wild parsnip will re-sprout like a stump sucker on a tree sending out 2-3 plants.
Effective: From early spring until plants produce seed.

2, 4-D and Weed-B-Gone
Effective: Early spring when rosettes are first visible until plants grow to 8 inches in length

Curtail and Crossbow (with a surfactant) -Broadleaf
Effective: From early spring until the plants turn woody and produce viable seed.

Round Up and Ranger - Glyphosate
Effective: From early spring until the plants turn woody and produce viable seed.