Cease Spraying: The Metropolis of Edmonton urges residents to not use herbicides in metropolis parks to manage weed outbreaks

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Dustin Cook The City of Edmonton urges residents to leave weed control on public land to city workers and not to spray pesticides on parking lots.  In many parks there is an increase in weeds this summer due to the reduced mowing cycles. The City of Edmonton urges residents to leave weed control on public land to city workers and not to spray pesticides on parking lots. In many parks there is an increase in weeds this summer due to the reduced mowing cycles. Photo by Ed Kaiser /Postal media

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The City of Edmonton is urging residents to stop spraying herbicides in city parks this summer as reduced mowing cycles have led to an increase in weeds in most city parks.

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Spraying herbicides or hiring a contractor in public parks or open spaces could result in a $ 250 fine and also damage lawns, crops and public property, the city said in a press release Thursday afternoon.

“Edmontonians who have concerns about weeds are encouraged to report them through 311. Once a notification is received, crews will be dispatched to investigate the infestation and respond with the appropriate controls, which may include manual pulling, overseeding, mechanical removal or targeted herbicide applications on certain invasive weed species, ”city spokesman Zak Fairbrother said in the press release. “Also, when using herbicides on your private property, always make sure you are only using Health Canada approved products.”

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The city said this illegal spraying appears to be happening at the same rate as it has been in previous summers, and a ticket has been issued, as well as a request for a contractor to abide by it. This year, the mowing cycles in most city parks have been reduced, resulting in increased weed growth. District parks, regular sports fields and boulevards are now trimmed every 10 to 14 days throughout the summer and no longer maintained weekly from April to mid-June. As a result, the city said residents can expect increased grass growth as well as more weeds.

Last summer, the city stopped using an iron chelate herbicide to control dandelion growth on sports fields. Dandelions are not considered an invasive species of weed and therefore are not controlled by herbicide applications. The yellow weed has benefits as an early food source for pollinators like bees as well as butterfly larvae, the city said. With the reduced treatment, dandelion control in parks, sports fields, streets, paths and sidewalks was reduced.

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Edmonton residents are also reminded not to mow the grass in parks themselves for safety reasons, and the city has a dedicated team to do the job. This was a problem last summer when many residents took the cutting of grass into their own hands after the city significantly cut grass clippings during the COVID-19 pandemic. From a 21-day mowing cycle, the city increased maintenance to every two weeks starting in mid-July due to concerns.

Weekly mowing cycles on world-class athletic fields and high-profile parks have been maintained, but areas of longer grass around trees and fences are to be expected due to the reduced trimming.

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