Pesticide Usage Limited This Year
To keep Klode Park pesticide-free, volunteers are organizing a weed-out event and are holding a fundraiser for more intensive natural techniques.
The Whitefish Bay Village Board approved one of it greenest turf management plans in recent history this week.
For the rest of the year, no pesticides will be applied to Klode Park, School House Park, Buckley Park or the Cahill Park playground. Whitefish Bay Little League will continue to follow its plan for limited pesticide applications at Craig Counsell Park.
Amy Joyce, co-founder of the Healthy Communities Project, was involved on the committee of stakeholders that developed the turf management plan. Other committee members came from the school district, village government, Whitefish Bay Garden Club and various athletic organizations.
Joyce, who has advocated against pesticides for 12 years, said she is pleased to see the village move away from pesticides and toward an approach that focuses on growing strong, natural grass.
"Throwing down weed and seed every season is not a comprehensive turf maintenance plan," she said. "Not by a long shot."
Natural turf maintenance doesn't mean doing nothing. Crews will use natural techniques like aerovation, overseeding and fertilization. All green spaces – other than athletic fields – will be cut at a longer length of 3.5 inches, Joyce said, because taller grass has increased sunlight exposure, which leads to a healthier root system.
"You can’t just stop using pesticides and do nothing else, that’s not real turf care," Joyce said. "You still have to take care of the soil, and you still have to take care of the grass if you want proper turf care."
Medians receive mixed treatment
Grass medians near elementary schools will not be sprayed: Hampton Road between Ardmore Avenue and Marlborough Drive; Santa Monica Boulevard between Day Avenue and Belle Avenue; and Santa Monica between Lakeview Avenue and Silver Spring Drive. Lexington Boulevard will also remain pesticide-free.
At the request of resident Scott Campbell, Cumberland Boulevard was also designated pesticide-free. The village is going to check with the school district to see if the maintenance department has the time and resources to aerovate the boulevard. If not, Campbell said he and his neighbors would voluntarily pull weeds on the boulevard.
Klode Park goes green
In years past, the village spent $1,000 on pesticide application at Klode Park. This year, those funds will go toward aerovation.
The Whitefish Bay Garden Club and Healthy Communities Project have volunteered to weed Klode Park on June 1. They have also volunteered to apply Milorganite fertilizer – which may be available at no charge if MMSD has a surplus.
The Healthy Communities Project is also holding a fundraiser to pay for additional treatments like overseeding, compost applications and gypsum, which are designed to improve the turf and address a phosphorous deficiency at the park.
Depending how much money the group raises, they could spend as much as $6,000 on turf management at Klode.
Some herbicides remain
Herbicides will still be sprayed in some areas. Natural herbicides will be applied to park fences along Cahill Park, in the flower beds on Lexington Boulevard, on Lake Drive concrete medians and on two other yet-to-be-determined concrete medians.
Traditional products, like RoundUp, will be used on the remaining fence lines, flower beds, concrete medians and any other green spaces. The products are not allowed to be used on windy days or within 24 hours of a rain event.