Iradicating wild parsnip safely
We have an area we want to make safe for children that has a lot of wild parsnip. How do we remove it? What precautions do we need to take?
Cheboygan County Michigan
Hand pulling and digging (protect skin using gloves and long sleeves, closed shoes, long pants and socks) is one method of control. Prevent seeds forming by mowing plants until you can remove them. Chemical controls are safe when applied and used according to the label, restricting access to the area for the amount of time designated on each label.
I couldn’t find specific information that indicated solarization or smothering would kill wild parsnip, but it may work and these are organic options. Solarization or smothering can be successful in Michigan if you cover the area for a season and then replant desired plants. If not smothering the area, pre-emergent chemicals or corn gluten can be used to suppress some seed germination each season.
Here are a couple articles describing this in detail:
See the solarization and smother options under “Site Preparation” here:
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