Weeds, brush, targets of roadside spraying

Canadian thistle, wild parsnip targets of effort that starts July 22

Wild parsnip
Wild parsnip

Washington County begins two weeks of spraying noxious weeds and brush along 220 miles of rural roadsides on or around July 22, county officials announced earlier this week.

The weeds being targeted for spraying are wild parsnip and Canadian thistle, said Doug Johnson of Washington County Public Works. He added that wild parsnip, a plant with small yellow flowers, is common in southern parts of the county and secrete an oil that causes severe blistering from sun if it comes in contact with skin.

Canadian thistle is a tall weed that can grow six feet tall and take over roadside ditches if not controlled because no animal or insect eats it, according to Johnson.
“Canadian thistle can be all over in a field and cows will eat the grass down to the dirt and not touch the thistle,” he said.

Canadian thistle grows a quarter-size purple bulb that bursts and sends seeds air-borne to propagate, Johnson added.

The county will spray the chemicals Telor and Tordon 101 on the weeds. These two chemicals are commonly used along roadsides and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines indicate that doses of the two chemicals larger than what the county uses have no effect on wildlife. Also, livestock such as cattle, horses, sheep and swine cannot consume enough foliage to ingest dangerous amounts of the chemicals.

If residents living next to a county road do not want their properties sprayed, they can visit the Public Works Department at 11660 Myeron Road North in Stillwater Township before July 22 for “Do Not Spray” signs, Johnson said. Those signs must be placed at the beginning and end of a resident’s properties. Johnson added that all property owners requesting “Do Not Spray” signs must sign paperwork agreeing to control the weeds and brush themselves. A legal description of the property is needed to complete the paperwork.

Johnson said property owners can control the weeds and brush themselves by mowing. The county cannot mow roadsides until Aug. 1 except a top cut to protect any nesting wildlife.

For more information call 651-430-4369 or visit the Public Works Department at the address listed above. Business hours are 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Contact Amanda White at [email protected]