Weeds and other vegetation grow along roadsides. There are several reasons to control roadside vegetation: motorist safety, to maintain sight lines, proper drainage, prevention of road surface erosion, as well as preventing the spread of invasive species onto adjacent properties. Some toxic weeds can grow in areas where humans are working or enjoying recreational activities. Serious burns and rashes due to human skin encountering these weeds, as well as vision loss, are just a couple of health risks associated with toxic weeks.

It is essential that vegetation does not block traffic signs and hazard markers. Vegetation can obstruct driver vision at intersections and block the line of sight around curves and obstruct the view of oncoming wildlife crossing the road, therefore vegetation must be treated and controlled. Roadside delineators and traffic signs being visible are crucial to ensure motorist safety.

Weed Inspector

The main purpose of the Weed Control Act R.S.O. 1990, is to reduce the impact of noxious weeks on the industries of agriculture and horticulture.

Darren Umpherson, Weed Inspector for Lanark County, is appointed by by-law to carry out and perform the duties, as required of him under the provisions of the Weed Control Act. The Weed Inspector performs inspections and provides enforcement with respect to complaints regarding nuisance weeds affecting lands used for agricultural and horticultural purposes.

If you require further information or wish to initiate an inspection by the Weed Inspector, please contact the office at 613-267-1353 or toll free 1-888-9-LANARK. 

What is a Noxious Weed 

The Province has currently classified 25 species of weeds as noxious.

Noxious Weeds

Ontario Weed Gallery

For more answers to other frequently asked questions you can also refer to the Ministry of Agriculture & Food’s Frequently Asked Questions and the Weed Control Act. 

Wild Parsnip 

Wild Parsnip is an invasive plant that is increasingly common within Mississippi Mills. The plant is found in areas such as road shoulders, roadside ditches, rail corridors, trails, and uncultivated lands. There are several look-alikes to Wild Parsnip. For more information visit the Ministry of Environment.

Wild Parsnip may pose a health risk to humans. The plant sap may cause skin and eye irritation and make the skin prone to severe burning and blistering when exposed to the sun. The blisters typically occur two days after contract with the plant. In some cases, this can result in long-term scarring of the skin.

The best way to avoid contact with wild parsnip is to become familiar with what the plant looks like and the proper handling techniques when dealing with the plant.


Wild Parsnip has a single light green (sometimes purple tinged) deeply grooved, hollow stem (except at the nodes) and stands between 5 and 150 cm tall. It is smooth (with few hairs), and typically 2.5 to 5 cm in diameter. The stem of Wild Parsnip is light green and deeply grooved.

Early growth: In the first year of growth, low-growing non-flowering rosettes of leaves form with a cluster of spindly, compound leaves that resemble celery leaves.

In bloom: When wild parsnip is in bloom usually in the second and third year plants have tall, branched yellow flowering stalks that usually bloom in early June to late July.

Mature plant: Starting in August ‎the blooming plant will begin to turn brown, and the leaves and stems will begin to dry up. This means that the toxic sap from the plant will also begin to dry up and contact with the plant is less likely to cause a reaction. Once the plant is completely dry the seeds will fall to the ground.

Seeds are flat and round. It is a biennial plant, reproducing only by seed. The seeds can lie dormant for years making it even more challenging to control.

Wild Parsnip on Private Property

Strategies to remove wild parsnip include the digging out the plant roots, targeted mowing, the use of herbicides and ongoing monitoring.

Digging the root up: Residents that have a small infestation in a yard or garden (fewer than 100 plants) or who do not want to use pesticides can dig out as much of the taproot as possible with a sharp shovel or spade. Follow-up digging will be required every few weeks to deal with re-growth (if the taproot was not completely removed) or missed plants.

DO NOT burn or compost wild parsnip plants that have been cut down or dug up. Plants and roots that have been removed should be placed in a dark plastic bag and placed in the sun, if possible, away from areas children or pets could access them. After the wild parsnip plant has been left in a black bag for one to two weeks in the sun, it can be collected through your normal waste collection as garbage, not as leaf or yard waste. The bags do not need to be labelled.

Targeted mowing: Mowing can be effective if begun just after peak blooming, but before the seeds set in the late summer or early fall. Cut plants will likely re-sprout after mowing, so it is important to combine mowing with other control methods such as bagging and removing the plants, especially those that are flowering and spot spraying with an approved herbicide. Be especially careful when using mowers, weed whips, mechanical string trimmers as they can spray users with sap and bits of the plants, leading to redness and sometimes hundreds of blisters on exposed skin. Wear goggles and protective clothing when mowing.

Use of herbicides: When a weed such as Wild Parsnip is declared a noxious week, both the Municipality and members of the public can purchase herbicides to control it. Use for control of noxious weeks is not considered a cosmetic use of pesticides because the plant can pose a health risk to people. Further information is available on the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) website.

Monitoring: Long-term monitoring is important in keeping this weed under control, as seeds will continue to germinate for several years.

For important safety information on Wild Parsnip hazards, control and disposal review the Wild Parsnip – Best Practices in Ontario.

Residents can also contact the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit for more information relating to Public Health in regards to Wild Parsnip or the use of Herbicide Products at 613-267-4114 or visit the Health Unit website.

Roadside Spraying 

Spraying occurs from the edge of the gravel shoulder to the property limits and uses herbicide to control the growth of undesirable vegetation. The contractors performing the work are fully licensed. Spraying occurs in areas identified during weed audits.

2024 Public Notice - Pesticide Use 

2024 Road Spraying List 

Per legislation, the Municipality is required to put signs at regular intervals (i.e.: road intersections); this DOES NOT mean that the property was sprayed.

The following locations will not be sprayed:

  • Roadside ditches maintained through either a No Spray Agreement or Adopt-A-Road agreement entered into with the Municipality

  • Sprayers are turned off at mailboxes or whenever a pedestrian is nearby

Herbicide Safety Data Sheet

Herbicide FAQ

Opting Out of Roadside Spraying

Should a property owner or occupant wish to opt-out of the roadside spraying program, two options are available.  

No Spray Agreement

An opt-out agreement between the Municipality and a landowner/occupant who takes alternative vegetation control actions to control noxious weeds within the road allowance adjacent to their lands, and therefore, the Municipality does not spray the zone. Property owners or occupants must submit an application to enter into an opt-out agreement.

No-Spray Applications are now online! Use the link below to access the form.

No-Spray Application Form

Hard copies of the agreement are available upon request. Please contact the Roads and Public Works Department.

By email: Roads and Public Works Department or by phone: 613-256-2064 ext. 405.

The typical application process is as follows:

  1. Property owner submits opt-out application.

  2. The Municipality reviews application. Additional information may be required.

  3. The Municipality issues a decision on the opt-out request. Notice of the decision will be provided typically within seven (7) business days. If the application is approved, a copy of the finalized agreement will be provided to the property owner. 

If you have not received a decision on your request after seven (7) business days or if you need to provide additional information, please contact the Roads and Public Works Department at 613-256-2064 ext. 405 or email Environmental Compliance Coordinator, Zack Moshonas. Agreements are not guaranteed until the review process is completed. 

Adopt a Road

A program where groups (minimum 3 individuals) can enter into an agreement with the Municipality to complete various vegetation management activities.

Those involved in the Adopt-a-Road program must follow strict health and safety measures or the Adopt-a-Road program will be terminated.

Adopt-a-Road agreements expire at the end of the year, so a new application must be completed every year. Completed forms must be submitted to the Roads and Public Works Department. The Municipality will review the application and provide a decision, typically within seven (7) days.  

If you have not received a decision on your request after seven (7) business days or if you need to provide additional information,  please contact the Roads and Public Works Department at 613-256-2064 ext. 405 or email Environmental Compliance Coordinator, Zack Moshonas. Agreements are not guaranteed until the review process is completed.

Adopt-a-Road Agreement Form

Adopt-a-Road Indemnity Requirements

Adopt-a-Road Terms and Conditions

Wild Parsnip – Previous Roadside Spraying Maps

2023 Mississippi Mills Weed Control Map

2022 Mississippi Mills Weed Control Map

2021 Mississippi Mills Weed Control Map

2020 Mississippi Mills Weed Control Map

2019 Mississippi Mills Weed Control Map

2018 Mississippi Mills Weed Control Map