Seed development of wild parsnip #411919 - Ask Extension


Seed development of wild parsnip #411919

Asked July 05, 2017, 1:49 PM EDT

Hello, I am attempting the monumental task of controlling wild parsnip on my prairie, roadsides, and other areas of my property. Mostly, I have been hand pulling as mowing seems to just make the roots stronger and they come back flowering later on anyway. My question is this: some of the plants have seeds developing on them. The ones where the plant looks nearly dead and the seeds are brown and dry, I know have reached the stage where those seeds are viable and can easily spread. But some of the plants have immature seeds (I think) - they are light yellow and don't come off the plant when shaken. If I pull these and leave them in the field in full sun to wither, can the seeds still develop enough to become viable? (I know that some weeds I've pulled in the past other than parsnip can still flower after they've been pulled.) If so, how much time would this process take? It would be nearly impossible to gather up all the parsnip I'm pulling and bring it to one place, so I'm hoping that just leaving it in the field to die will be okay. Those plants that do have the brown seeds I am removing. Thanks! Angela

Olmsted County Minnesota

Expert Response

I've not been able to find a good source for the exact information you want. Specifically, I don't know if immature seeds will mature off the plant. It takes three weeks from flower to viable seed and seeds remain viable for 4 to 5 years, so the maturation process happens pretty quickly. Here are some references with tips on dealing with wild parsnip:
Dennis White Replied July 06, 2017, 3:52 PM EDT

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