Roadside weed spraying program to continue

Parsnip
File photo

Release from Lanark County Council

Council passed a motion to continue a roadside weed spraying program in 2016 for all county roads for two consecutive years, and then to proceed with biannual spraying of 50 per cent of the road system starting in year three. The decision follows a report from the public works department about the results of the 2015 trial program.

The program was initiated as a strategy to combat wild parsnip, which is a noxious, invasive plant that is becoming increasingly common in the county. In 2015, the public works department received many calls from the public expressing concern about the weed and about the health hazards associated with it. In the first year, controlled herbicide spraying by a qualified, licenced contractor was completed along 80 km of county roads using Clearview, which selectively kills broadleaf weeds but not grasses. Notification of the spraying was advertised through various means, and the county received no requests for “no spraying” signs.

The effects of spraying were monitored and an 80- to 90-per cent effectiveness rate was observed, with no indication of wild parsnip regrowth one month after it was completed. A weed audit completed on the entire county road system showed about 95 per cent of the road sections contained wild parsnip or other noxious weeds within the road allowance, and concern about safety of volunteers due to health hazards associated with wild parsnip led to the cancellation of the fall Adopt-a-Road program.

“Controlling wild parsnip would contribute to the safety of public works personnel and the general public,” says Terry McCann, Director of Public Works. Many residents have asked for greater controls of wild parsnip. Ongoing monitoring of the effectiveness will be undertaken, along with continuous liaising with industry experts and adjacent counties.

For more information, contact Terry McCann, Director of Public Works, at 1-888-9-LANARK, ext. 3190.