Red Deer’s weed control policy up for review

Dandelions will continue to take root in green spaces near schools and parks with playgrounds in Red Deer.

Dandelions will continue to take root in green spaces near schools and parks with playgrounds in Red Deer.

The city will revert to its long-standing standard of spraying the pesky weeds near roadways after taking a short detour into neighbourhoods last summer.

Trevor Poth, the city’s parks superintendent, said the Governance and Policy council committee directed the department to go back to the old practice of no application of non-organic pesticides on school sites and playground areas.

The Parks Department will develop a new weed control policy and reduction options associated with the increased use of non-organic treatments during the 2015 budget deliberations.

“For this summer it will be very status quo compared with the past where we will do a little bit of dandelion control treatment along roads and parks that do not have playgrounds or schools,” said Poth. “We’ll move forward from there.”

Last year, the Parks Department was directed to come up with a plan to reduce the largest dandelion populations in the city. Those happened to be near schools and the parks with playgrounds.

Only the green spaces at St. Patrick’s and G.H. Dawe schools were sprayed before the city postponed the program due to concerns over pesticide use in these areas.

Over the last few years, the city has been involved with colleges and other municipalities across the province in testing different organic products and other alternatives to chemical pesticides. To date, the city hasn’t found the exceptional option, but they continue to research and conduct pilot projects.

The typical dandelion spray program takes place in late August to the first week of September.

Poth said they encourage residents to use organic products or to pull dandelions on their lawns to control the weeds.

Poth said residential users tend to use about eight times as much herbicide as certified pesticide applicators.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com