County readies for battle with wild parsnip


Given the blanket of snow that hit Wright County almost simultaneously, it seemed a little strange to be talking about the growth of weeds in the county, but, at the April 15 meeting of the Wright County Board, the commissioners heard a presentation concerning the spread of wild parsnip in the county and the dangers it poses in rural areas.
Wild parsnip looks innocent enough, but it is an invasive noxious weed that is spreading throughout southern Minnesota and is making its way into Wright County. Kerry Saxton of the Wright Soil and Water Conservation District presented the board with a map of the county and confirmed locations with wild parsnip, which burns to the touch and can cause skin to blister. 
Concentrations have been found in Woodland, Albion and French Lake townships and Saxton said the problem is just getting worse.
“Quite frankly, it got entrenched in Wright County before we had a plan to attack it,” Saxton said. “What the board needs to decide is whether it’s a war we can win. We need the public to buy in if we’re going to fight it. We will not be able to eradicate it. The best we can do is try to contain it.”
Wild parsnip has been an issue in southern Minnesota for years. When plants flower, its spores are dispersed into the air and have been consistently moving north. Saxton said that some counties in southern Minnesota have given up trying to fight it, which only makes the problem worse for counties in which wild parsnip is beginning to invade.
More information appears in this week's Messenger.