EDMONTON – The City of Champions is just heating up and greening up, but fields of yellow seem to be taking over much of the outdoor space.
“Dandelions have been a big problem here in this area,” said Sigi Biel, standing in his yard in south Edmonton.
“Somebody has to do something about the dandelions,” he added. “To me, it doesn’t look nice.”
But, the City of Edmonton has been limiting its herbicide use for some time.
“Our use of pesticides has been dropping annually for over a decade,” said Councillor Bryan Anderson.
“There is a strong lobby in probably the entire country. Most municipalities are hearing from people who would like to see herbicides or pesticides either banned outright or at least significantly restricted.”
“Here in Edmonton the pesticide lobby has resulted in the City of Edmonton putting pesticides at the bottom of the list of things that they can do to deal with the condition of its turf.”
Anderson says, unless dandelions grow to a profuse amount, no herbicides will be used on them.
“I think that if you ask people whether or not they would like to have the massive amounts of dandelions – on boulevards, or in parks, or around storm ponds – would like to have them disappear, they would say ‘yes.’ On the other hand, if we were talking about the use of chemicals and the safety of their children, they would say ‘yeah, but don’t use pesticides.’
“And therein is the Catch 22. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.”
The city will mow the grass – and dandelions – on public property, which will get rid of the yellow tops, but the weeds still spread.
“They are a pain because then they go to seed and they spread,” said Emily Matlock. “I think getting rid of them would be a good thing.
“If there was some natural way to get rid of them that would be nice, but that’s going to pretty tough.”
Residents can spot spray for dandelions on their private property, but the province previously issued an outright ban on broad-band herbicides.
The Government of Alberta regulates the spread of noxious weeds through the Weed Control Act.
The City of Edmonton has ‘green turf management practices’ in place to control noxious and nuisance weeds on public property, but does not regulate nuisance weeds, like dandelions, on private property.
“Dandelions are not on the provincial noxious weeds list,” explained Anderson. “We cannot enforce the eradication of dandelions on any kind of private property.
“Without the use of herbicides, we’re going to see city property have its speckled yellow personality for the better part of the growing season.”
Municipal enforcement officers will be patrolling the city for noxious weeds, as well as responding to citizen complaints. If regulated weeds are found on your property, you will receive a notice to remove or control the weeds. If you do not, the city has the authority under the Act to enter your property and initiate remedial weed control measures. All control costs incurred by the city are added to your property bill.
Costs vary on the amount of infestation and area to be cleared, but range from $250 per mow to $5,000 per mow or more.
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