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.

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.

Identification

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.

Wild Parsnip Look-a-Likes

Heracleum mantegazzianum commonly known as Giant Hogweed

Stem:

  • 2.5 to 5 m high
  • Hollow, 5 to 15 cm thick
  • Prominent purple blotches
  • Distinct, coarse bristly hairs

Flowers:

  • Large, white umbrella-shaped clusters 30 to 90 cm across
  • Made up of 50 to 150 small clusters

 

Heracleum maximum commonly knows as Cow Parsnip

Stem:

  • 1 to 2.5 m high
  • Hollow, 5 cm thick at base
  • Green, few to no purple spots
  • Soft and fuzzy hairs

Flowers:

  • White umbrella-shaped clusters
  • 10 to 30cm across, made up of 15 to 30 small clusters

 

Daucus carota commonly known as Queen Anne’s Lace

Stem:

  • 0.3 to 1.5 m high
  • Green, 1 to 2.5 cm thick
  • Covered with fine bristly hairs

Flowers:

  • White flower cluster 5 to 10 cm across
  • Pale pink before fully opened
  • Often single purple flower in centre of cluster

 

Angelica

Stem:

  • 1.2 to 2.1 m high
  • Purple or purple blotched
  • Smooth (no hairs)

Flowers:

  • Greenish-white globe-like flower clusters
  • 8 to 25 cm across

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.

 

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

 2021 Roadside Spraying Program for Wild Parsnip 

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
  • Ten (10) metre buffer from freshwater habitat (boom spraying)
  • Sprayers are turned off at mailboxes or whenever a pedestrian is nearby

 2021 Public Notice - Wild Parsnip

Options for No Spraying – Mississippi Mills Roads

Adopt a Road

Adopt a Road Terms and Conditions 2021

Adopt a Road Indemnity Requirements 2021

Adopt a Road Agreement Form 2021 

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

 

Due to the pandemic, to mitigate risk, those involved in the Adopt-a-Road program must follow strict health and safety measures or the Adopt-a-Road program will be terminated.

 

No Spray Agreement

No Spray Agreement Form 2021

An 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.  Note: A No Spray Agreement form for each property must be completed.

 

All signed completed agreements should be returned:

 

By email: Roads and Public Works Department

Or

By facsimile:  613-256-4242

Or

By mail or drop off at:
Roadside Spray Agreement
Roads and Public Works Department

3131 Old Perth Road

Almonte, ON  K0A 1A0

 

Agreement Review Process

When the property owner has submitted the agreement, the Municipality reviews the submission, inquires with the property owner if required, approves the submission, and provides a copy of the submission to the property owner. Typically, this process takes approximately three (3) to four (4) business days. If a property owner has not received a signed copy of their approved submission within seven (7) business days please contact the Roads & Public Works Department at 613-256-2064 ext. 235 or email Abby Armstrong. Agreements are not guaranteed until the review process is completed, and approval is granted by the Director of Roads & Public Works. 

Wild Parsnip – Previous Roadside Spraying Maps

2020 Mississippi Mills Weed Control Map

2019 Mississippi Mills Weed Control Map

2018 Mississippi Mills Weed Control Map