Wild parsnip strategy launched May 21

WEST CARLETON – The city’s efforts to deal with one of its rural areas most dangerous invasive species, launched at the end of May.

“Wild Parsnip is an invasive plant that is increasingly common within the City of Ottawa in areas of uncultivated land, roadside ditches, nature trails, as well as on and surrounding rural and residential properties,” city staff released in a statement. “Wild parsnip may pose a health risk to humans. The plant sap contains chemicals that may cause skin and eye irritation and make the skin prone to burning and blistering when exposed to the sun.”

The blisters typically occur one to two days after contact with the plant. This can result in long-term scarring of the skin.

The city’s Wild Parsnip Program for this season will started May 21, and will end on Oct. 15.  Similar to past years, the goal is to reduce the growth of wild parsnip in areas city-wide along rural and suburban roadsides. The 2019 Strategy consists of using Clearview Herbicide (PCP #29752, containing aminopyralid and metsulfuron-methyl) and Gateway adjuvant (PCP# 31470, containing mineral oil – paraffin base [adjuvants], surfactant blend) under the Pest Control Products Act (Canada). 

The city’s Public Works and Environmental Services department has been proactively mapping out wild parsnip infestation levels across the city along roadsides, parkland and pathways. The strategy includes monitoring, mapping, the use of herbicides, mowing and evaluation.

Also, given the large number of public access points for parks, signs will continue to be posted every 100 metres. Similar to last year, rural residents who do not wish to have the roadside adjacent to their property sprayed have been given the option to opt-out of the Wild Parsnip program. The best way to avoid contact with Wild Parsnip is to become familiar with what the plant looks like. Visit ottawa.ca for photos and more information on this plant.