What are they spraying?

Last June, 2016 Lanark County started spraying a herbicide called ClearView all along Lanark County roadsides in an attempt to control wild parsnip.

In addition to ClearView, an adjuvant called Gateway is added to increase the effectiveness of the herbicide.

ClearView not only kills wild parsnip. It also kills many other species that are favoured by pollinators such as milkweed, wild strawberry, red clover, wild rose, buttercup, chicory, brown-eyed Susan, thistles, bloodroot, burdock, dandelion, mallow, hawk weed, lambs quarters, hawks beard, ox-eye daisy, wild sage, chamomile, tansy, buckwheat, toadflax, wild oats, evening-primrose, knapweed, shepherds purse, bottle gentian, wild carraway, yellow foxtail, wild willow, cinquefoil, Canada anemone, New England aster, sweet white violet, wild columbine, wild sarsaparilla (just to name a few :))

Photo by John Anderson. www.nrcs.usda.gov

Clearview contains 45% inert ingredients which are not required to be labelled and could include any of the chemicals in Health Canada’s formulant list, several which are listed as toxic. See: ClearView Factsheet.

Aminopyralid – the main active ingredient in ClearView – was not given approval in New York State. Click for more info.

In 2017, the County will be using a product called Truvist which has the same ingredients as Imprelis which has killed not just plants, but trees. See  Dear Consumer Herbicides Kill Trees. Here is Bayere’s product sheet on Truvist.

ClearView has a minimum 60 month impact on legumes: that is red and white clovers, alfalfa, etc. These are all plants that nourish the soil and play an essential role in grass health. They are also primary food sources for bees and other pollinators.

Legume (alfalfa, clover) establishment will
be affected for a period up to 60 months (longer if soil
pH is greater than 7.9). – Dow AgroSciences
According to the Material Safety Data Sheet, the known ingredients in Gateway are “highly toxic to fish and/or other aquatic organisms” and “may cause cancer”.

There are over 13.22% unknown ingredients in ClearView and 12.3% in Gateway whose toxicity we do not know.


One of the arguments put forth by the Lanark County Council is that mowing is complicated – it requires accurate timing. So does ClearView:

Application timing to provide control to all species of
shrubs and weeds must occur when all target species
have emerged. Plants, especially perennial weeds that
have not emerged at the time of application will not
be controlled. – Dow AgroSciences

Here is what others are saying:

“….with minimal caution and basic first aid, these plants are of minimal danger, especially compared to the danger; medically of being exposed to most of the powerful herbicides available for temporary control since as an established weed, the seed bank for this species (wild parsnip) is much more extensive than anyone could afford to spray; and ecologically of having portions of your ecology devastated by the indiscriminating power of a broadleaf herbicide”. Dr. Carrington PHD

“The herbicides (Clearview and Truvist) selected for use across eastern Ontario are both relatively new, and in my experience are uncommonly used for invasive species control. Their active ingredients may persist in soil, water, and plant tissue for several years, which should give us pause. Both herbicides selectively work on dicot plants, meaning that they kill all the flowering plants, leaving behind the grasses (which are monocots). As declines in pollinating insects are becoming increasingly apparent, it is very unfortunate to remove many native nectar-bearing plants from many kilometres of roadsides in eastern Ontario. Many of these roadside plants host or support pollinating insects that support local crops.” Holly Bickerton..plant ecologist

“There is concern that the use of herbicides, especially when applied as a more generalized broadcast spray, can negatively impact pollinators such as monarch butterflies, bees, and flies, by removing food sources in the landscape. This can happen due to drift of herbicides onto non- target plants, but also from the removal of the weed species itself which can serve as a food source”. Vicky Wojik PHD, Pollinator Project

Additional Information regarding the health and safety concerns of pesticides and herbicides:

With reference to inert ingredients that are not required to be labelled: