The Town must consider a range of challenges and issues when implementing vegetation and pest management in landscape and park environments, including:
- Health, Safety, and Water Quality
- Aesthetics versus Need
- Education and Notification
- Administrative and Political
- Construction and Disturbed Sites
How Does the Town Determine When Herbicide will be Applied?
A certified pesticide applicator assesses all manicured turf areas for weeds. The acceptable level of weeds in neighborhood parks is 15% and 5% on sports fields. Where weed coverage exceeds thresholds, the site may be prescribed herbicide control.
As weeds tend to proliferate in unhealthy turf or non-irrigated turf, other Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices need to be considered. The dominant turf species in manicured turf is Kentucky Blue Grass, which has a high water requirement. The fall of 2008 and spring of 2009 have received very low precipitation, which keeps Kentucky Blue Grass in a more dormant state, with less active growth. When the grass is dormant, the weeds have less competition and have a better chance to take over.
Aside from increased irrigation, IPM measures that may help turf resist weeds include:
- seeding in more drought tolerant turf species
- increasing organic matter in soil by topdressing with compost
- amended topsoil or increased topsoil depth
All of these practices are being utilized where budget and resources permit.