Weed Control in Parks this Spring
Late spring rains and an overall abundance of water this year is leading to rampant growth of grass and weeds in our City parks. Crews are busy preparing sports fields for play and are using only organic weed control methods in response to citizen concerns about the use of glyphosate products. Weeds and grass are being pulled or cut manually and only organic herbicides are being used. These methods are more time consuming and less effective, and there will likely be more weeds in our parks this summer. Volunteers who would like to help keep our parks weed-free and looking good are most welcome! To join an upcoming work project or organize your own, please visit our Volunteer page.
Park Maintenance: Some Facts about Mowing & Weed Control
- Mowing of sports fields and planted turf areas within the City’s 72 parks is done through a contracted service that is overseen by the Recreation & Parks Department.
- Contracted mowing is scheduled weekly during spring and summer, and every other week during fall and winter. During early spring, crews focus their efforts on preparing the City’s athletic fields for play and may be delayed in mowing turf within neighborhood parks.
- In addition to contracted mowing service, crews with the Santa Rosa Recreation & Parks Department perform regular park maintenance, including weeding of landscape areas within the City’s 72 parks.
- The Santa Rosa Fire Department also manages a separate Weed Abatement contract to mow high weeds and trim trees on open space within and adjacent to parks and throughout the City for fire prevention purposes. The Recreation & Parks Department works with the Fire Department to help prioritize Weed Abatement projects on City parkland.
- Several factors are making the job of weed control in our City parks and landscape areas especially challenging in 2019:
- Abundant rain, including greater than normal late spring rain, is causing the grass and weeds to grow faster and taller than normal.
- As of last summer (2018), parks crews and all contractors who help maintain City parks, open space, and landscape areas now use only organic methods for weed control, which includes pulling or cutting weeds manually and spraying organic herbicides—no glyphosate or synthetic sprays are used. These methods are more time consuming and less effective in controlling weeds.
- Budget constraints have led to a significant reduction in the number of staff available to maintain the City’s 1,045 acres of parkland. The City of Santa Rosa currently has one fulltime (FTE) maintenance staff member per 55 acres of parkland, which compares to the national average of one maintenance staff member per 17 acres of parkland.