Herbicide Use

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.

For more information, please see Herbicide FAQ below.

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