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Pesky Plant Trackers badge, plants and text

Pesky Plant Trackers is a citizen science opportunity focused on wild parsnip and knotweed. 

What are folks seeing now?

Do you see initial growth? Yes at some sites, no at others.

Where snow has melted, check for initial growth by removing and then replacing leaf litter and other debris that may obstruct your view of the ground. In the Twin Cities, observers have reported initial growth in knotweed (March 4, 2021) and wild parsnip (March 14, 2021).

Wild parsnip initial growth. March 26, 2021 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Photo by Byju Govindan.
Japanese knotweed shoot (initial growth) on April 4, 2021. Photo by Elizabeth Heeren.

Checking for initial growth of knotweed

Checking for initial growth of knotweed
Photo by Ilene Krug Mojsilov

If possible, gently lift and then replace debris that could obstruct your view of shoots or early leaves. Materials such as dead leaves and other debris can play an important role for newly emerging plants by regulating their microclimate. Every site is slightly different so find a balance between detecting early signs of growth and leaving site conditions unchanged.

Spring Activities

Training: Learn how to volunteer by taking the self-paced course or attending the scheduled sessions.

Locate plants: Volunteering works best if wild parsnip or knotweed plants grow nearby, in a place that is accessible and convenient to you. If you're unsure if these plants can be found near you, check out these resources on locating wild parsnip or knotweed.

Outdoor observations: Begin observing plants when you are ready..