Tom's Blog

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mowing wild parsnip

We have eradicated wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) from Pleasant Valley Conservancy, but unfortunately one of our wet prairies (the Valley Prairie) is adjacent to a substantial parsnip patch of a neighbor. Although he chooses to ignore it, he is quite happy if we mow it. (Its area by GIS is about 2 acres.)

This field is an interesting phenomenon. Some years ago it was solid Canada thistle which we got rid of in one year by mowing. (This must have been pure luck, because we have never been able to get rid of Canada thistle anywhere else by a single mowing.) For a while thereafter the neighbor mowed this field early in the summer, but one wet year he got his tractor stuck and decided to let this field go.

Several years later the parsnips starting coming in. Some years we have been able to control them by spraying with 2,4-D, but this did not seem to work this year (our timing was probably off) so we turned back to mowing.

The bush hog on the back of the Kubota tractor works quite well for this sort of job, and Kathie was able to finish it in less than an hour. However, we'll probably have to mow again later to take care of any stragglers.


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