The Problem With Wild Parsnip

Parsnips. They probably aren't your favourite vegetable, but even so, they're far from dangerous, right?

Well, that depends on the type of parsnip you're talking about.

Wild parsnips, the kind that grow on unruly rural properties in the Ottawa area are actually extremely dangerous, thanks to the toxic sap that curses through their plant veins. Commonly found within the City of Ottawa, especially in roadside ditches, and along nature trails, wild parsnips can pose some serious problems for homeowners with Ottawa inground sprinkler systems.

Why Wild Parsnips are Problematic
Wild parsnip is similar to giant hogweed in that it produces a toxic sap. A highly branched plant with hollow green stems, the wild parsnip's sap can cause serious skin irritation, sometimes to the point of photodermatitis (severe skin burns and blisters). These blisters, which typically appear one or two days after coming into contact with a plant, can result in long-term scarring if left untreated. What's more, the edible roots contain enough furcoumarins to be physiologically active in some cases. It's for this reason that homeowners with Ottawa inground sprinkler systems need to take extreme caution if ever they come in contact with one of these dangerous plants.

What Do Wild Parsnip Plants Look Like?
Homeowners with Ottawa inground sprinkler systems can easily recognized wild parsnips based on their high branches and compound, green leaves. When the plant is in flower it boasts clusters of yellow buds that can span nearly 20 centimetres. The plant itself can grow to be almost 1.5 metres high. A biennial plant, the wild parsnip requires seeds to reproduce.

Stay Away From this Pesky Plant
Wild parsnip can pop up where you least expect it. If you notice one growing by your Ottawa inground sprinkler system, be careful. Before you remove it, be sure to show it to your children or housemates. This will ensure that they have the ability to identify a wild parsnip in the future.

If you have a particularly overgrown patch of lawn on your property, be careful – wild parsnip could be hiding in amongst the other weeds. If you're going to be working in this area, always be sure to wear protective gloves and goggles to protect yourself from the parsnip's sap. You should also wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants in order to protect the skin on your legs and arms.

If you ever accidentally come into contact with a wild parsnip your best option is to wash the area of contact thoroughly with soap and water. The sooner you can do this, the better your chances will be off removing the sap. You should also try to avoid the sun for at least 24 hours as sunlight is what will cause your skin to blister and burn. Contact a doctor is skin irritation occurs.

What To Do If You Find Wild Parsnip on Your Property
The only way to ensure that wild parsnip doesn't spread on your property is to remove it entirely before it has had the chance to go to seed. If you require assistance with this eradication process, don't hesitate to contact the lawn maintenance professionals at Nutri-Lawn's Ottawa inground sprinkler system department.

The sooner you can identify and remove this invasive plant, the more likely your chances are of preventing further growth in your yard. When removing the plant, remember to wear protective gloves and goggles.

It's important that you let the plant dry out before you dispose of it. You can do this by placing the plant in a black garbage back and then leaving the bag in the sun for a good week. Once the plants are dried out don't compost them or burn them. Instead, toss them in the trash for proper disposal.

Wild parsnips can cause serious problems for homeowners with Ottawa inground sprinkler systems. Catch them before they catch you off guard. Contact a lawn maintenance expert at Nutri-Lawn to learn more about our safe identification and wild parsnip removal services.