The Community Services Department uses herbicides very judiciously within the park system. We use pesticides to manage insects on the Carson Park baseball field, to control broadleaf weeds in high traffic areas, athletic fields and cemeteries and we have recently used an herbicide on Half Moon Lake to curtail the explosion of curlyleaf pondweed, an invasive exotic weed.
Our use of herbicides is minimal – less than 10% of all park and cemetery land managed by our department. All herbicides are applied by licensed applicators according to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and United States federal regulations.
Herbicides have been applied in the two city cemeteries for decades. There is an expectation by many that these lands be at least dandelion free. Cuts in human resources for our department no longer allow staff to mow dandelion stems. Prior to 2010, herbicides were applied by cemetery employees. Since then, budget cuts have required us to contract out these broadleaf application services to licensed applicators. We continue to seek a healthy balance between being good stewards of our resources and meeting the expectations of our constituents.
We will continue to monitor the use of herbicides and seek alternatives to chemical use in our parks and public areas.