Tag Archives: wild parsnip

NOTEBOOK: Wild parsnip, mosquitos, and a cross-Canada bike trip

DOG WALKERS BEWARE

Wild parsnip south of Abbott Street. Photos by Jonathan Seguin

Wild parsnip south of Abbott Street. Photos by Jonathan Seguin

Jonathan Seguin sent along some photos and warning about wild parsnip along the trails south of Abbott Street and east of Shea. Colloquially known as the “Abbott Street Dog Park”, it’s a very popular area for dogwalkers, even though it’s on private property.

The yellow weed is all over the place in our area, especially near ditches, pathways and fields. The plant’s sap can cause skin and eye irritation, and make the skin prone to burning and blistering when exposed to the sun.  (It’s not as big a risk for dogs, although sap could be transferred from their fur to human skin.)

Seguin knows all about the dangers of wild parsnip: he works for one of the companies the City has contracted to do the spraying. “I’ve had the rash multiple times so I’m just looking out for the Stittsville locals so they can avoid it. It is not fun and gets quite bad unless you know how to handle it,” he says.

The City of Ottawa is spending close to $200,000 to combat the weed this year, including mowing, herbicides and a public awareness campaign. If you see wild parsnip on public property, you can report it to the City by calling 3-1-1.

The Abbott Street land is private property, so the city won’t touch it.  (And technically, dog walkers are trespassing.)  Wear shoes, long pants and long sleeves, stay out of the weeds, and if you do come in contact, wash the contaminated area as soon as possible. See a doctor if you notice any skin irritation. More about wild parsnip here…


BUZZ KILL

Kanata North Councillor Marianne Wilkinson says her ward’s Nuisance Mosquito Control Program is working.

“They’ve told me that they can finally enjoy their backyards, eat outside and encounter no mosquitoes rising out of the grass when they’re cutting it,” she wrote in a recent email to residents.

Every household had a levy of about $20 added to their tax bill this year to pay to spray larvicide in wetland areas to prevent mosquito larvae from hatching.

I live in the north east part of Stittsville and I’ve noticed fewer mosquitos buzzing around my porch and backyard this year.

Meanwhile, the City of Ottawa, university of Ottawa and G.D.G Canada are collaborating on an ecological impact study to better understand the effects of the larvicide treatment on insects closely related to mosquitos. You can read about that research here…


JESS BIKES CANADA

Jess Bikes Canada / Photo by Kim Bonin
Jess Bikes Canada / Photo by Kim Bonin

Thanks to Kim Bonin for snapping this pic of Jessica Phelan while she passed through Stittsville along the Trans Canada Trail on Saturday. She’s on a 9,000km trek across Canada called Jess Bikes Canada, raising money for Gillian’s Place, a shelter for abused women. You can read more about her trip here.


KANATA CENTRAL BIA IN THE WORKS

Businesses in Kanata Centrum and the surrounding area are looking at forming a Business Improvement Area (BIA).  The group would be known as the Kanata Central BIA and include shops and businesses in Kanata Centrum, Signature Centre and Kanata Commons, along with Canadian Tire and the Marriott hotel. They have a Facebook page set up here and an email address, kanatacentralbia@gmail.com.

Stittsville doesn’t have a BIA in place, although Councillor Shad Qadri met with business owners last November to talk about establishing one.

Kanata Central BIA boundary
Proposed boundary for the Kanata Central BIA.

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CBC: Stittsville farmers lose crops, cry foul over wild parsnip purge

(FILE PHOTO: Wild parsnip growing along the ditch on Huntley Road south of Stittsville. Photo by Barry Gray.)

From CBC Ottawa:

Organic farmers near the Ottawa community of Stittsville say they’ve had to destroy portions of their crops because the city botched its notification process for spraying herbicides to kill wild parsnip.

Wild parsnip — officially labelled a noxious weed in Ontario last year — has become a concern because the plant’s toxic sap can cause skin rashes. The weed also wipes out other species, including flowering plant species that attract bees.

The city sent certified organic farmer Dick Coote of Littledown Farms a notice in the mail saying he could opt out of herbicide spraying along his fields on Mansfield Road. The notice said the city would put up signs in advance in areas it planned to spray to give Coote time to opt out.

But the signs never appeared, he said.

Read the full story…


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NOTEBOOK: Wild parsnip, Coyote near the Trans Canada Trail

COUNCILLORS GET UPDATE ON WILD PARSNIP STRATEGY
The City’s Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee (ARAC) meets on Thursday morning and one of the items on the agenda is a look at the wild parsnip strategy.

The yellow plant was a common sight in Stittsville: along roadways, in ditches, along pathways, in fields. Its sap contains chemicals that can cause skin and eye irritation and make the skin prone to burning and blistering when exposed to the sun.

The City launched a pilot project last year to combat the weed, applying herbicide to over 200km of roadways and parkland, and mowing some of the infested areas.  The city also mapped infestation areas, and launched an awareness and education campaign.

Continue reading


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Section of Rideau Trail south of Kanata closed due to wild parsnip

Wild parsnip growing along the ditch on Huntley Road south of Stittsville. Photo by Barry Gray.
Wild parsnip growing along the ditch on Huntley Road south of Stittsville. Photo by Barry Gray.

Part of the Rideau Trail has been closed south of Kanata due to wild parsnip.  From the Rideau Trail Association web site:

Regrettably we will be closing a portion of the Rideau Trail, approximately 3.2 kilometers in total, that being unopened road allowances east and west of Eagleson Road (south of Rushmore Road) and west of Richmond  Road due to the danger posed by wild parsnip growth.  We have contacted the City of Ottawa public works manager who has advised that they are looking into the situation but cannot yet provide us with a definite time as to when the wild parsnip will be eradicated. We will be posting signage in the near future redirecting members to an alternate route. In the interim, we ask your co-operation to avoid  this area.

It grows in the ditched along the roads, just off our soccer fields and along our walking and bike paths. It looks pretty with it’s golden flowers, but it is nasty!

The City of Ottawa says: “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. 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 severe 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 best way to avoid contact with wild parsnip is to become familiar with what the plant looks like so you do not accidentally get burned.” (You can learn more about how the city is combatting the problem here…)

Be careful! It is out there… everywhere.

Wild parsnip growing along the ditch on Huntley Road south of Stittsville. Photo by Barry Gray.
Wild parsnip growing along the ditch on Huntley Road south of Stittsville. Photo by Barry Gray.

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Herbicide to be used to combat wild parsnip south of Stittsville

(Adapted from an article originally published on the City of Ottawa web site.)

For a plant with such an innocuous name, the wild parsnip is a troublemaker. Like any invasive species, this plant is quick to spread, and seems to make itself at home just about anywhere, particularly in Eastern Ontario.

Unfortunately this intrepid greenery isn’t just a visual nuisance, but can in fact do real harm to humans. The plant sap contains chemicals that can cause skin and eye irritation and make the skin prone to burning and blistering when exposed to the sun.

The south and west areas of Ottawa are the most heavily impacted, so if you spend much time in the rural areas of Kanata or Barrhaven, be on the lookout.   It’s commonly found in rural areas on uncultivated land, roadside ditches, nature trails, and areas surrounding rural and residential properties.

Most rural roads south of Stittsville have been identified as having light growth, with some parts of Shea, Flewellyn and Faulkner Trail listed as “medium” or “heavy”.  The south end of Iber Road near Abbott was also identified as having “medium” growth. (See a map of growth areas here…)

You’ll know wild parsnip by its long stem and small yellow flowers.  You should treat it the same way you would poison ivy: stay away.

The City of Ottawa is looking at herbicides as a one way to combat the problem.  The plan is to target areas with the highest infestation, and areas where it’s most likely that people would come in contact with the plant. Signs will be posted every 100 metres in advance of the spraying so it’s very clear where herbicides will be sprayed. City crews will also be increasing roadside mowing in some areas to see how effective it is in reducing the spread of the plant.

The city plans to use herbicide on some parts of Shea, Fernbank, and Flewellyn to combat the plant.

Part of a map showing wild parsnip problem areas and measures planned to reduce the plant. Herbicide will be used in the areas highlighted in light green.
Part of a map showing wild parsnip problem areas and measures planned to reduce the plant. Herbicide will be used in the areas highlighted in light green. The area in blue along Faulkner trail will get extra mowing this year. Click here for a full map and legend.

 

To keep wild parsnip from spreading on your own property, mow your lawn frequently.  If you spot it, you can dig out the root, but be sure to wear protective clothing and dispose of the plant extremely carefully.

Get more tips and information on how to manage wild parsnip. If you see wild parsnip or any other invasive species on city property, report it online or by calling 3-1-1.


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