Posted in Blog, Mother, Rebecca, Safety out & about

Herbicide usage in seattle parks

Two weeks ago, I saw this sign at Greenlake near the Community Center that they had applied an herbicide to the grass. I got a little freaked out thinking that meant they sprayed ALL the grass at Greenlake, which means my baby must get coated in it because he loves to crawl everywhere. I sent an email to the parks department for clarification on where they were applying the herbicide. Thought it would be helpful to post their response here. It’s good to know they don’t use pesticides or herbicides on any of the grass areas. Great news.

Thanks for contacting us with your questions about an herbicide application at Green Lake Park.  The herbicide used was RoundUp Pro, which was applied to weeds and grass in shrub beds in the Green Lake Community Center parking lot, including the two raised shrub beds near the main path, and also to sidewalk weeds and parking lot hard surfaces. No herbicide was applied to shrub bed areas immediately adjacent to and around the community center. No applications were done on lawn areas. We use no herbicides in any general lawn or turf areas in any of our parks.

Staff placed six signs near pathways leading to the parking lot and also near the specific application sites to inform the community that a pesticide application had occurred at that site that day.

Our grounds maintenance staff do occasionally utilize herbicides in parks to control or suppress weed growth as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. This program ensures that we are using all possible weed control strategies, but because of our large acreage it is simply not feasible to keep up with all weeds by hand weeding or mulching.  Certain staff are licensed to apply pesticides, and they receive annual continuing education in integrated pest management.

Staff do not make routinely scheduled pesticide applications. There are many factors that might influence the application of a pesticide in any location. Herbicides are occasionally used to suppress weeds in shrub beds, in hard-surface cracks, or along a sports field fences.  This spot treatment does not happen in every park in a given year. That decision is made by the park district gardeners, based on the site, the extent of the problem, and the difficulty of controlling the particular weed.

In 2010 we have experienced greater than average weed growth in all parks and natural areas due to especially cool and wet weather from spring into summer. The parking lot application was not completed, and will be finished in the next couple of weeks, along with at the adjacent tennis court. These applications in the Green Lake Community Center parking lot area are being done as a one-time application for this year.

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