In response to my earlier post on Wild Parsnip, Wild Parsnip – Another Non-Native Look-Alike, I got an e-mail from Wild Ones friend Tim Lewis who reminded me about the Parsnip Predator. Tim wrote, “I have this tool and I use it to sever the roots of small trees, dig up some sturdy plants and to dig holes to put my nursery plants in the ground. A very useful tool!” Sounds like a good tool to have for use around the landscape.
The Parsnip Predator is a tool sponsored by the Prairie Enthusiasts. It was developed and constructed by the Prairie Enthusiasts Prairie Bluff chapter of Southern Wisconsin. This hand-adapted, specialized tool makes the removal of WildParsnip not only easy, but permanent.
To eradicate Wild Parsnip, the goal is to slice the taproot to sever the crown buds and then to remove the top portion with a gloved hand. Remember! Wild Parsnip sap is toxic and can cause phytophotodermatitis. This will kill the root, but not disturb the soil. It also limits potential damage to the surrounding prairie plants.
You could use a garden shovel to do the same thing, of course. But because there is typically never just one non-native plant to be eradicated, members of the Prairie Bluff chapter wanted less cutting resistance than is offered by the typical garden shovel. They also wanted a tool that was light-weight and ergonomic.
These invasive plant species can be removed in this way at any time, but be certain to remove them before they go to seed. In the case of Wild Parsnip, make certain you remove them before mid-July so the seeds do not drop. Also make certain you dispose of the severed Wild Parsnip plant into the landfill. DO NOT COMPOST WILD PARSNIP!
How to Buy?
Prairie Enthusiasts is a land trust that educates about, protects and restores prairies and savannas of the upper Midwest. They are headquartered in Viroqua, Wisconsin and have protected over 35 sites totaling over 2,273 acres in Wisconsin and northwest Illinois. You can order the Parsnip Predator from them.
Thanks, Tim Lewis, for reminding me of this useful tool. Tim is Past President of national Wild Ones.