The town of Middlebury issued the following advisory regarding wild (poison) parsnip plants. This advisory is important to all Vermonters as the plant is prolific throughout the state.
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The growth and spread of poison parsnip has exploded this summer. This is an invasive species that originates from Europe and Asia. It is found virtually everywhere in our area – roadsides, meadows, fields.
Most of us are familiar with the plant as its growth has become ubiquitous in recent years. Still it represents a danger to children and to those unfamiliar with it.
The plant produces a sap that can cause painful rashes and raised skin blisters similar to second degree burns when exposed to sunlight.
The plant is identified by pods of yellow flowers and a stalk that can grow to six-feet.
Should you come in contact with the plant:
· Wash your skin thoroughly with soap and water as soon as possible
· Protect exposed skin from sunlight for 48 hours
· If you experience a skin reaction, call your health care provider.
Should you have parsnip on your property and need to remove it:
· Get to it early, before it goes to seed
· Wear clothing that protects arms and legs and hands
· Work on cloudy days to reduce the potential for reaction
Control and management:
Manual removal of plants can be effective for small areas. Cutting roots 1-2″ below the soil or pulling plants by hand should be done before they have gone to seed. If removing plants after seeds have already developed, cut off the seed heads and put them in plastic bags.
Leave the bags out in the sun for one week to kill the seed heads before disposal. Mowing wild parsnip after flowers have bloomed but before seeds have developed can kill the plants. Some plants may re-sprout, making it necessary to mow the area again. General herbicides can be applied as spot treatments to new shoots.