Poison Hemlock and Wild Parsnip: Control Them Now!

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on April 6, 2021


Poison Hemlock and Wild Parsnip

Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum L.) and wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa L.) are combined in this report because these invasive non-native weeds are increasingly found growing together in Ohio.  However, the defense chemicals of these weeds are very different and have vastly different modes of action.  This is important to understand relative to management options as well as medical treatments for exposure to these highly dangerous weeds.

Wild ParsnipPoison Hemlock

Life as a Biennial

Poison hemlock and wild parsnip belong to the so-called carrot family, Apiaceae (= Umbelliferae).  They superficially share floral characteristics with other members of the carrot family such as Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota); however, this non-native biennial blooms much later in the season.

Poison hemlock has a biennial life cycle. The first year is spent in the “vegetative stage” as a low-growing basal rosette; the stage that is currently very apparent.  Plants “bolt” during the second year “reproductive stage” to produce erect multi-branched stems topped with umbrella-like flowers.

Wild parsnip is also reported to have a biennial life cycle.  However, it may occasionally behave as a monocarpic perennial spending more than a year in the vegetative stage before flowering once and then dying.

Mature poison hemlock plants can measure 6 – 10 ft. tall.  Mature wild parsnip plants are shorter in stature but still impressive at up to 4 – 5 ft. tall.  Both are prolific seed producers with seeds remaining viable for 4 – 6 years for poison hemlock and around 4 years for wild parsnip.

Poison Hemlock and Wild Parsnip


Poison Hemlock

Poison hemlock was imported into the U.S. as an ornamental in the late 1800s from Europe, West Asia, and North Africa.  Rogue plants remained relatively rare until around 30 years ago.  Since that time, poison hemlock has elevated its profile from an uncommon oddity to a common threat.

This non-native is one of the deadliest plants found in North America.  It is the plant used to kill Socrates as well as the Greek statemen Theramenes and Phocion. Poison hemlock plants contain highly toxic piperidine alkaloid compounds, including coniine and gamma-coniceine, which cause respiratory failure and death in mammals.

All parts of the plant are poisonous: leaves, stems, seeds, and roots.  However, the toxins must be ingested or enter through the eyes or nasal passages to induce poisoning.  The toxins do not cause skin rashes or blistering.  Regardless, this plant should not be handled because sap on the skin can be rubbed into the eyes or accidentally ingested while handling food.  Immediate emergency medical attention should be sought if an accidental poisoning from this plant is suspected.

All stages of the poison hemlock plant have bluish-green leaves that are 3-4 times pinnately compound.  The deeply cut parsley-like leaflets have sharp points.  Flowering plants have hairless, light-green to bluish-green stems that are covered with obvious purplish blotches; Maculatum means ‘spotted’.  Clusters of tiny white flowers are borne on structures called umbels that look like upside-down umbrellas.


Wild Parsnip

Wild parsnip sap contains psoralen which is a naturally occurring phytochemical grouped in a family of organic compounds known as linear furanocoumarins.  Psoralen acts as a photosensitizing compound by inhibiting DNA synthesis in epidermal cells which kills these light-shielding cells responsible for protecting us from long-wave ultraviolet radiation (LWUVR) bombarding us in sunlight.

Severe blistering occurs when the affected skin is exposed to LWUVR. The synergistic effect is called phytophotodermatitis (a.k.a. Berloque dermatitis) and the burn-like symptoms, as well as skin discoloration, may last for several months.

Connecting skin blistering to exposure to wild parsnip sap can be a challenge.  It takes around 24 hours for symptoms to first appear after exposure to LWURV and severe blistering typically doesn’t peak until 48 -72 hours.  The time required for symptoms to appear after exposure to the sap means the effect may be disconnected from the cause.

Wild Parsnip

Psoralens are also found in several other members of the Apiaceae family including the notorious giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) which has captured national attention in the past.  However, giant hogweed has only been confirmed in Ohio growing in the extreme northeast part of the state primarily in and around Ashtabula County.  Wild parsnip is found throughout the state and is equally damaging.  Of course, giant hogweed has a more threatening sounding common name while wild parsnip sounds like a vegetable gone wild; which it actually is!

Parsnips have been cultivated as a root crop in Europe for centuries, perhaps millennia. The “L.” in the scientific name Pastinaca sativa L. means Linnaeus first described the species.  Both the cultivated and wild types share the same scientific name; however, it is clear that there are significant differences in toxic biochemical properties between the two types.

It is theorized that the wild parsnip plants in Ohio represent “escapes” from cultivated types brought to North American from Europe and a “reversion” back to a wild type.  The wild genes were always there but remained suppressed until revealed through natural selection.

Wild parsnip rosettes have celery-like leaves confined to growing from a short stem near the ground.  While in this stage, the plant produces a long, thick taproot.

Flower stalks that eventually arise from rosettes have leaves that are alternate, pinnately compound, branched, and have saw-toothed edges.  Each leaf has 5 -15 ovate to oblong leaflets with variable toothed edges and deep lobes.  The mature flowering plants have a single, thick, deeply grooved, greenish-yellow stem that sprouts lateral branches topped with hundreds of clusters of the yellow umbellate flowers.



Unfortunately, poison hemlock and wild parsnip are becoming more common throughout Ohio and many other states in the upper Midwest as well as states in the eastern U.S.  Worse, owing to the lack of awareness (e.g., identification) or poor management practices, or both, these dangerous non-native weeds are increasingly being found growing in close proximity to people which increases their risks to human health.

Additionally, it is not unusual to find poison hemlock and wild parsnip growing together which can create misinterpretations of exposure symptomology.  This may account for some online resources incorrectly attributing skin blistering to contact with poison hemlock.

Mechanical management of poison hemlock can be used if it is certain that no wild parsnip is lurking within the poison hemlock.  Still, personal protection equipment is strongly recommended particularly eye protection, gloves, and clothing to cover arms and legs to prevent sap from entering through the eyes or skin wounds.  Hand-pulling and tilling are effective options if the area is immediately overseeded with grasses or other competitive plants to help suppress poison hemlock re-establishment from seeds germinating this fall.

Mowing can also be used; however, given that a sizable percentage of the current low-growing rosettes may escape the blade, it’s best to delay mowing to target bolting plants.  String trimmers are also effective but present an even greater risk of flinging sap compared to mowing.  All mechanical control options should be applied before plants begin to flower!  Waiting until after plants flower, or worse after seeds are produced, can increase an infestation by removing canopy competition.

Given the extreme risk of phytophotodermatitis from wild parsnip sap, mechanical control is problematic.  Hand-pulling is a high-risk endeavor and not recommended.  Likewise, tilling could release a huge amount of harmful sap.  There have been reports of sap spattered by mowers and string trimmers producing phytophotodermatitis on exposed arms and legs of equipment operators.

The safest approach to controlling this invasive weed as well as poison hemlock is to use herbicides.  Of course, as always, read and follow label directions paying close attention to application sites, recommended rates, warnings against making applications close to desired plants (e.g. trees) or near water, and whether surfactants are recommended to enhance herbicide efficacy.

Both poison hemlock and wild parsnip are susceptible to several selective and non-selective postemergent herbicides.  However, keep in mind that non-selective herbicides such as glyphosate (e.g. Roundup) can also illuminate plants that compete with these weeds.  Herbicidal openings produced by non-selective herbicides provide perfect opportunities for more wild parsnip and poison hemlock to spring forth from previously deposited seed.  Thus, it’s important to have a plan for establishing competitive plants such as over-seeding with grasses.

Selective post-emergent herbicides will preserve competitive plants.  Herbicides effective against wild parsnip and poison hemlock include clopyralid (e.g. Transline), triclopyr (e.g. Pathfinder II), metsulfuron (e.g. Escort XP), and combination products such as 2,4-D + triclopyr (e.g. Crossbow), or 2,4-D + mecoprop + dichlorprop (e.g. Triamine).  Applications made now and before plants start to flower can significantly reduce infestations of both wild parsnip and poison hemlock.

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Don’t Let This Warm Weather FOOL YOU!

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This has been a long, cold winter.  Thank goodness spring is in sight, Saturday, March 20 marked the first day of spring.  With this being said, it’s time to start thinking about planning flower and vegetable gardens.  If starting a new garden, soil testing the site where the garden will go is a good idea.  If it is an existing garden and the soil has never been tested, now would be a good time to think about testing it.  Your local OSU Extension office can help with soil testing.

Another gardening task to be thinking about is seed starting.  Growing plants from seed is a lot of fun and now is the time to be doing this.  Below is a chart from The Old Farmers Almanac that will help determine when to start seeds indoors, transplant seedlings outdoors, and when to start seeds outdoors.

This has been a long, cold winter.  Thank goodness spring is in sight, Saturday, March 20 marked the first day of spring.  With this being said, it’s time to start thinking about planning flower and vegetable gardens.  If starting a new garden, soil testing the site where the garden will go is a good idea.  If it is an existing garden and the soil has never been tested, now would be a good time to think about testing it.  Your local OSU Extension office can help with soil testing.

Another gardening task to be thinking about is seed starting.  Growing plants from seed is a lot of fun and now is the time to be doing this.  Below is a chart from The Old Farmers Almanac that will help determine when to start seeds indoors, transplant seedlings outdoors, and when to start seeds outdoors.

Takeing a look at the chart above notice that some of the vegetable crops we like to plant in the garden can handle cooler temperatures and those are recognized as cool season crops.  Some of those include:

  • Cole crops (or brassicas) which are an amazingly large and varied family, whose edible portions span from   leaves to flowers to roots. This includes broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, arugula, Asian greens, and mustard greens (Brussels sprouts, a brassica, are planted in the cool season but take many months to mature).
  • Peas (both edible-podded and shelling) are another familiar cool-season crop.
  • Lettuce is yet another group that has a huge number of varieties.
  • Spinach is also included the cool season assembly.


Now that we have talked about testing the garden soil, starting seeds and cool season crops. We need to think about the frost free date in your county.  According to the Old Farmers Almanac the frost free date is May 10th for Morrow County where I live.  However, I caution folks of following this date.  I like to use Memorial day as a frost free date in Central Ohio because the last several years have presented us with a frost and or freeze near Mother’s Day.  Mother’s Day has always been a good rule of thumb for safely planting vegetables and flowers outside, but I caution folks to watch the weather and think about planting around Memorial Day, all threat of frost should be gone by then.


I know the temptation is always there to start earlier especially if we are experiencing 65 and 70 degree days.  That is why it is important to follow the planting guide above.  If you have raised beds or micro climates under cold frames the soil might warm up quicker allowing you to start a little earlier.  Ideally cool season crops would like soil temperatures to be above 40 degrees and warm season crops would like soil temperatures to be at or above 55 degrees.


If you do jump the gun and plant before memorial day your crops can potentially be protected from frost with old blankets, cardboard and row covers.


Whether you are starting transplants from seed or purchasing them, watch the weather forecast to ensure your little plant babies are protected.  Have a fun and successful spring.


If you have questions call your local OSU Extension Office

A flurry of tax proposals in Congress

Farm Office Blog

A flurry of tax proposals in Congress

Friday, April 9th, 2021

Written by Peggy Kirk Hall, Associate Professor, Agricultural & Resource Law

You can count on tax law to generate interest in the agricultural community and that’s certainly the case with several tax bills recently introduced in Congress.  Within the last month, members of Congress proposed a flurry of tax proposals that could impact agriculture if enacted.  Of course, passing tax legislation is always difficult and subject to partisanship, and we expect that to be the case with these bills.

Here’s a look at the tax proposals receiving the most attention.

Death Tax Repeal Act of 2021.  Sen. Thune (R-SD) and Rep. Smith (R-MO) are the primary sponsors of S. 617 and H.R. 1712, companion bills introduced March 9 that propose to repeal the federal estate tax, which the sponsors claim to be “the most unfair tax on the books.”  The Act would also repeal the generation-skipping tax and make modifications to the computation of the federal gift tax, beginning at 18% under $10,000 and incrementally increasing by an additional 2%.  Cosponsors of the Senate proposal includes 30 other Republicans, and the House bill has 137 cosponsors including one Democrat.  The bills were referred to committee but have yet to see any further action.

For the 99.5 Percent Act.  Introduced March 25 by Senators Sanders (D-VT), Gillibrand (D-NY), VanHollen (D-MD), Reed (D-RI) and Whitehouse (D-RI) to “tax the fortunes of the top 0.5% and reduce wealth inequality,” this bill would reduce the federal estate tax exemption from its current level of $11.7 million per individual.  Under the proposal, estates in excess of $3.5 million per individual and $7 million per couple would pay the estate tax, which would begin at 45% for estates between $3.5 and $10 million.  The tax would increase incrementally, reaching 65% for estates over 1 billion.  The proposal would also reduce the lifetime gift tax exemption from its current level of $11.7 million to $1 million but would not reduce the annual $15,000 per person per year gift tax exemption for cash gifts.  It would limit the exemption for gifts to trust at $20,000 per year.  Protections for farmland include allowing farmland value to be lowered by up to $3 million for estate tax purposes and increasing the maximum exclusion for conservation easements to $2 million.  The bill would also prohibit reduced valuation for assets held in a pass-through entity, affecting the 35% valuation discount that is typical for farmland LLCs.

Sensible Tax and Equity Promotion (STEP) Act.  A group of Democrats in the Senate introduced the STEP Act on March 29 in an effort to “close the stepped-up basis loophole by taxing unrealized capital gains when heirs inherit huge fortunes on which the original owner never paid income taxes.”  The proposal would tax the transfer of property that has a net gain either during lifetime or at death.  During lifetime, a completed transfer to a non-grantor trust or individual other than spouse would be subject to tax but the first $100,000 of cumulative gain would be exempt.  At death, the first $1 million of appreciated assets would pass without taxation.  Transfers to charity, spouses, charitable trusts, qualified disability trusts would be exempt, as would gains on residences up to $250,000 per individual or $500,000 for married couples.  Taxes on illiquid property such as farms and some farm assets could be paid in installments over a 15-year period, and any taxes paid under the Act would be deductible from the federal estate tax.  The bill would also require gains on non-grantor irrevocable trusts to be reported every 21 years.

Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act.  Another bill by Sen. Sanders (D-VT) would go after the corporate tax rate.  The bill would restore the top corporate tax rate to 35%, its level prior to the reduction to 21% by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  It also includes a number of provisions to reduce the ability of corporations to avoid paying federal taxes by moving income and profits offshore.

We are likely to see several more tax proposals in Congress in the coming year and time will tell whether any of them will have traction.  Some may merely be bargaining chips among the many legislative agendas in Washington.  One thing is certain–tax bills will continue to generate interest in the agricultural world, so we’ll keep readers updated on these and future proposals.

What is Your Growing Degree Day (GDD) Number?

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OSU Growing Degree Day Website

So what is your GDD – or growing degree day? Before you reach for a piece a paper, a pencil, and a calculator to figure out what your number is, check out the OSU’s Growing Degree Day website. This website does the ‘math’ or the calculations to determine your GDD for you. All you need is an Ohio zipcode – type it in and hit enter. The website uses weather stations across Ohio to determine what the accumulations, and provides website visitors their GDD and where they are in a biological calendar of certain plants in flower and insect activity.

It is important to note that microclimates in our own landscape, or landscapes that you manage, can sometimes be ahead of, or even maybe lagging behind, but this information can be so useful and interesting. It is important to note that even if you appear to be ahead or behind of what the website is indicating, the order of plant bloom and insect activity remains the same. The sequence of order remains constant.

This morning, when I checked the website, Toledo (zipcode – 43615) was at 205 GDD. What this means is that gypsy moth caterpillars have begun to hatch (192 GDD), Donald Wyman crabapple is in first bloom (197 GDD), snowdrift crabapple is in first bloom (198 GDD), full bloom of compact garland spirea (205 GDD), full bloom of Koreanspice viburnum (GDD 205), and on the horizon is the egg hatch of the azalea lace bug (206 GDD).

This is why GDD is so useful!

Additionally, it fun (at least I think so) to compare where we are today, compared to the past. Sometimes we think, this spring is so early, or it feels like we are far behind an average spring. This website can help us remember what was happening horticulturally on this same day in the past. And even more cool, you can change the date too! So let’s compare this spring, April 15, to year’s past on the same day, April 15.

  • 2021-205 GDD
  • 2020-90 GDD
  • 2019-85 GDD
  • 2018-83 GDD
  • 2017-201 GDD
  • 2016-129 GDD
  • 2015-78 GDD
  • 2014-80 GDD
  • 2013-69 GDD
  • 2012-275 GDD
  • 2011-66 GDD
  • 2010-206 GDD
  • 2009-103 GD

So if you look and compare we have definately accumulated more GDD than other years, except for 2012 when at this same time, we had accumulated 275 GDD.

Hopefully you have been using the website and tracking your GDD, and then heading outside to verify what the website says we are at, to what your plants are doing. It really has been spot on this season. I can look out from my office window and see many of the plants that are included on the website. Additionally, I can head out to the field and monitor for and observe insect activity that is included in this list.

The post would not be complete without thanking Dan Herms, Denise Ellsworth, Ashley Kulhanek and others who have worked on this project including the research and data collection that allows OSU to have such an excellent website that used by many.

More Information



How to Build and Maintain a Healthy Pond

Licking County Soil and Water Conservation District is hosting a Pond Clinic April 28th from 5:30-7:00 pm.

Brent Dennis of Soil & Water, will cover considerations for building a new pond, including soil types and how to determine the size based on your watershed.Steve Fender of Fender Fish Hatchery, will address pond concerns, fish stocking, fish habitat, methods to control aquatic vegetation and provide insight on how to maintain a healthy pond.

Soil & Water will be taking orders for our Fish Sale until April 29th. Pick up May 8th at Backyard Conservation Day.

Clinic will be hosted at a pond at 2400 Montgomery Road, Newark, OH, signs will be posted. There are two pavilions next to the pond where the class will be held.

In the case of inclement weather, the clinic may be rescheduled or cancelled.

Questions? Call Soil & Water at 740-670-5330 or email BrentDennis@LickingSWCD.com.  Register Here

Thank you to our partner, Granville Milling for supporting this workshop!

There’s still time….Perennial School

Ohio State University Extension Clermont County presents Virtual Southwest Ohio Perennial School as a four-part series held Thursdays in April (8,15,22 & 29) at 11:00 am.

Registration is now open: https://osu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwudu2rqzMrG9Kst3nuVkrG81-fVsJ6foAP

The series is free to attend, but registration is required. You can choose to attend one or more of the following sessions.


April 8  

Filling in the Blanks with Colorful Annuals – Pam Bennett, OSU Extension, Clark County

As a perennial gardener, you know at times, your perennial bed lacks massive color.  In between blooming seasons, while plants are getting established and other times, annuals can offer that extra WOW to your beds.  Learn about low-maintenance annuals that give color all season long in this fast-paced presentation of color that will leave you even more anxious for spring!


April 15  

Bad@$$ Trees for Poor Places – Scott Beuerlein, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Originally titled “Good Trees for Bad Places,” it was determined by a committee of sobriety-challenged but internationally renowned horticulturists that it needed an upgrade. The trees in this talk are the survivors. They laugh at incorrect planting techniques, mulch volcanoes, bad pruning cuts, and other poor maintenance practices. They embrace poor soil, and they spit at drought. Some of the usual suspects but some you probably won’t know. Enjoy this romp through trees so ornery they’ll resist the very worst that nature can hurl at them and be there to shade your children’s children.


April 22  

Spot this – Report It – Amy Stone, OSU Extension, Lucas County

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect that should be on everyone’s radar in Ohio. This session will cover basic information that will empower gardeners to do some scouting in their own landscapes for this sap sucking plant hopper. The nymphs have a much wider host range than the adult, and you may just have those plants that you can monitor and help us ‘spot the spot’ before populations build and their activity could be extensive. There will also be a discussion about how this insect is moving and get you thinking about the modes of transportation that might just be the avenue to your garden or community. In addition, cicada, cicada, cicada will be discussed for the 17-year brood emergence this year.


April 29 

Connect the Dots…2021 – Joe Boggs, OSU Extension, Hamilton County

Integrated Pest Management has always been a way to help improve your vegetable and flower gardens, as well as orchards and more. Learn new ideas and practices from this 2021 version for how flowering plant diversity in landscapes reduces the need to use insecticides?

2021 East Ohio Women in Agriculture Program Series

The 2021 East Ohio Women in Agriculture Program Series has offered (and continues to offer) a variety of financial, production, and home-related topics to help you as a woman in agriculture.


Recordings are available on the “2021 East Ohio Women in Agriculture Program Series” play list on the OSU Extension YouTube page and can be found at the following links:


Farm Income Tax Update – Barry Ward, OSU Extension – This update arms farm taxpayers with tax information on current critical issues including insight into new COVID related legislation.

Cooking with Cast Iron – Christine Kendle, OSU Extension – Are you not sure what pan to use? How to season it? How you should care for your cast iron cookware? This class is for you!

QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Prevention – Panel – QPR includes how to “ask a question to save a life,” recognizing warning signs, and referring for help. This session recording is available upon request only by contacting Erika Lyon at lyon.194@osu.edu.

Insurance – Get Covered! – Kim Davis, Kim Davis Insurance Agency, LLC – Just because you pay an insurance premium doesn’t mean you’re covered for everything! Don’t miss this fun, interactive session discussing all types of insurance.

LOL – Lots of Loans! – Mary Fannin, Farm Credit Mid-America and Stephanie Beatty, Farm Service Agency – Hear from our panel to find the right fit for your needs.  Including lines of credit, ag real estate, equipment & building loans/leases, home loans, home equity loans, youth loans, etc.

The Mystery of Fruit Tree Pruning – Paul Snyder, OARDC Secrest Arboretum – This session covers the basics of how and when to prune fruit trees, highlighting the most common backyard fruit tree, the apple tree. (This will be available soon on the play list.)


There is also still plenty to come!


Webinar Registration is available at go.osu.edu/eowiaseries2021 . Webinars are Thursdays from noon – 1:00 PM. Here are the remaining webinars in the series:


April 8 – Bury Seeds, Not Stress—Sarah Noggle and Bridget Britton, OSU Extension – When you live where you work, there are stressors that can go unacknowledged. Agriculture life brings unique challenges to us personally and professionally. Join us as we identify what makes us unique and talk about coping strategies.

April 22 – Reaching Your Educational Goals – Dennis DeCamp, OSU Extension – Regardless of age, educational opportunities are always available.  Explore options for obtaining and funding education to meet your goals while maintaining a balanced life.

May 13 – Veterinarians:  Building a Relationship & Knowing When to Call  –  A working relationship with your veterinarian can teach you when it’s appropriate to try something at home vs. having them out on a call to improve your farm’s husbandry & production.

May 27 – He Said, She Said – Emily Marrison, OSU Extension – Women in agriculture often work with men in agriculture. Explore ways to improve interpersonal communication for more productive work settings and peaceful home environments.


Field Day Registration is available at go.osu.edu/eowiafielddays2021   Field Days are 5:30 PM meal/ 6:00-8:30 PM program. Here are the remaining field days in the series:


April Field Day – Tuesday, April 6 – Soils & Sustainable Agriculture with Erika Lyon and Heather Neikirk, OSU Extension and Clint Finney, USDA-NRCS (Jefferson County) – What is sustainable for you? Dig into improving the health of your soils and the basics of soil testing services and kits. Explore sustainability and stewardship practices and opportunities for utilization in small farm animal and plant-based enterprises. Please register by Friday, April 2.

May Field Day – Tuesday, May 4 – Raising Livestock on 5 Acres or Less with Sandy Smith, OSU Extension (Carroll County) – So you have some land and you want some extra income or a supply of food for your family. This session will investigate all of your options and possibilities. 

July Field Day – Wednesday, July 14 –  Hands-On Tractor Operation Skill-Builder with Dee Jepsen, OSU Farm Safety Specialist (Stark County) – Examining the utility of the compact tractor – safety, parts, color coding, hand signals and operation will be discussed in this interactive audience driven session.



Pond Management Should Be on Your Mind

By Gary Graham, Holmes County Extension
Originally written for the Bargain Hunter

This past February has brought us one of our first great ice skating and ice fishing opportunities on our ponds in a long time. Shallow ponds and those with low inflow may have seen some fish kills due to the thick ice in 2021. If you experienced a fish kill, know that the key to preventing this is to have open water in your pond. But do remember that open water is dangerous if the pond is used for skating or fishing purposes.

As always, you should have some safety equipment up at your pond year-round. Especially if used in winter for ice fishing and skating. Safety equipment is not just for swimming season. Drownings happen in seconds and too often. In many cases, the would-be rescuers become drowning victims themselves. It is best to throw something to the person in the water from the shore, anything that floats will help. Pond safety is too often overlooked, but is a vital, critical part of being a pond owner. We have pond safety kits available at the Holmes County, Ohio State University Extension Office. If you need a kit for your pond, call 330-674-3015 for details.

Now that spring is here, it’s time to control the weed issues you may have experienced last year. Vegetation is not a bad thing in ponds. Aquatic plants add necessary food and oxygen to the aquatic life that reside in your pond. Some of the good weeds are under the water’s surface and are not a visual issue. It’s the vegetation on top of the pond’s water that can cause so much anguish. The first issue to typically appear (and the one that frustrates pond owners the most) is not a weed at all, it is Filamentous algae.

Filamentous algae is a fibrous mat that looks ugly when floating on the pond’s surface and seems to appear overnight. This alga starts its growth cycle on the pond’s bottom. As it grows, it builds oxygen under its fibrous mat. Once buoyant it floats up to the surface. At first, a couple mats will appear and within a few days, the entire pond surface can be covered. It looks bad and if you use your pond for swimming, it is gross to walk/wad through. Fishing can become annoying when the algae snags on the fishing line and hook each time you reel in the line. A little bit of this menace can lead to some major headaches. Left unchecked, it can explode into a real issue that is bad for the pond.

Of course, the next question is, “How do I kill it?” The time to treat for Filamentous algae is when it is growing on the bottom of the pond. Once it floats to the surface, it is too late to treat as it is already dying. Filamentous algae is controllable with some effort. Management needs to be a multi-front approach including mechanical, chemical, biological and structural control strategies to reduce and rid the pond of this unwelcome guest.

Mechanical Strategies
Once the algae floats to the surface there is no sense to treat it with chemical as it is already dying. The best strategy is to mechanically remove it with a rake by pulling it out of the water and away from the pond. You can also drag a rake on the pond bottom, close to shore, to break up the mats making them come to the surface quicker to remove them from the pond. The best time to do mechanical removal is on a windy day as mother nature will help you by blowing the floating algae to one area, making for easier removal. Do not leave the removed mats on the pond bank. As it dies, the nutrients flow back into the pond aiding to the next cycle of

Chemical Strategies
Many copper-based chemicals work very well on filamentous algae. Again, once it comes to the surface it is a waste of money to treat then. Chemical application works best after physical removal of mats, both floating and on the pond bottom. Following this order will require lower volumes of costly chemicals and lessens the potential of killing fish. When treating a pond with any chemical only treat a quarter of the pond at once. If you treat and kill all the plants at the same time, you can create a very low dissolved oxygen zone in the water. It takes large volumes of dissolved oxygen to break down the now dying or dead organic matter. Robbing the water of its dissolved oxygen starves the fish of oxygen and can lead to their death.

Biological and Structural Strategies
This is the hardest one to work on as it often means changing what is happening on the land around the pond. Adding more White Amur fish (biological) is not the answer. They eat bottom rooted pond plants, not algae. If runoff from the landscape runs into the pond this can be a source of nutrient loading. If you do not stop the source of nutrients getting into the pond then it will be hard to get ahead of the algae. Reducing the pathway (structural) of nutrients getting into the pond will help greatly.

One thing that helps all ponds is the use of an aerator to add oxygen to the water column. Especially in ponds that are trying to breakdown organic material that robs oxygen from fish. Two types exist; the best method is a bottom bubbler (called a diffuser) that forces air from the pond bottom up to the surface with a series of fine bubbles. The other is a fountain. Although they look nice, they do not do as good of a job getting the oxygen back into the water column. Wind and fresh water flowing into the pond will also add a little oxygen, but if the incoming water is laden with nutrients, then it is just adding to the weed and algae growth.

Lastly, keep the Canada Geese off your pond. They are neat to look at, but they are dirty, annoying and just a couple can really throw off the water quality (especially in small ponds). Their manure, which they deposit at the ponds edge, (where you walk) is very high in phosphorus. Soluble phosphorus is the nutrient that best grows algae. A mature goose at 14 pounds of weight defecates more than 28 times a day, depositing 2 pounds of high nutrient goose stuff. Plus, if you let two geese take up residence, the next year you will have more as many of the offspring will stay.

So again, now is the time to start developing your plan of attack or treatment plan for your pond. Be realistic in that if you want no weeds, you’ll need to build a cement pool, which you will have to treat to keep the algae out of too. To reach the Holmes County Extension office call 330.674.3015, or stop in at our NEW office space at 111 East Jackson Street, Millersburg (the old BP gas station east of the Courthouse).

Mycotoxins in corn

From Marion County ANR Educator Tim Barnes
We are learning more about the control of mycotoxins!
What can you do????
-infection occur at silking (fungicide application timing)
-temperature & moisture effect infestation
-plant resistant corn variety
-wheat scab is caused by the same fungus
click below to view four videos to further answer your questions….    
Grain Producers Dealing with Vomitoxins in Corn
by John Barker, Knox County Extension Educator
video – HERE
Management of Gibberella Ear Rot & Vomitoxins in Corn
by Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Corn/Wheat State Specialist
video – HERE
Mycotoxin Testing at the Point of Sale
by Rob Leeds, Delaware County Extension Educator
video – HERE
Livestock Producers Dealing with Vomitoxins
by Jacci Smith, Delaware County Extension Educator
video – HERE

Poison Hemlock Control

I have seen a lot of poison hemlock coming up already.  Now is the time to prepare to treat it.

By Mark Loux and Curtis Young
Source: https://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/2020-07/poison-hemlock-control
Re-print from 2020
Poison hemlock remains one of the more persistent and prevalent poisonous weeds that we deal with in Ohio. It’s most typically a biennial plant (sometimes perennial), emerging from seed in year one and developing into a low-growing rosette by late fall. The rosette overwinters and then resumes growth in the spring of year two. Stem elongation initiates sooner in spring than many other biennials, and this is followed by continued growth and development into the often very tall plant with substantial overall size. Flowering and seed production occur in summer.
Failure to control poison hemlock occurs partly because, while it often grows in edges and fencerows around crop fields, no one really pays much attention to it until it does reach this large size when it’s less susceptible to herbicides. And everyone is busy getting crops planted in spring anyway so control of hemlock gets low priority. Stages in the poison hemlock life cycle when it is most susceptible to control with herbicides are: 1) fall, when in the low-growing rosette stage; and 2) early spring before stem elongation occurs. It’s most easily controlled in fall, but several products can work well in spring. Herbicide effectiveness ratings for poison hemlock can be found in Table 21 of the current Weed Control Guide for Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Herbicides rated 8 or 9 on poison hemlock include the following: 9 – Crossbow, Remedy Ultra; 8 – Cimarron Max, Curtail, dicamba, glyphosate. Mixing glyphosate and dicamba can improve control compared with either applied alone.
Several online resources cover poison hemlock more comprehensively than this article does, including one from the University of Missouri accessible at: https://ipm.missouri.edu/IPCM/2012/2/Weed-of-the-Month-Poison-Hemlock/ Information on toxicity can also be found via an internet search or by contacting OSU Extension if help is needed to resolve a specific concern.