Edmonton issues tender to help rid sports fields of dandelions

Dandelions in Edmonton June 12, 2017. Global News

The City of Edmonton is looking to buy 48,000 litres of an iron-based herbicide in hopes of warding off dandelion-covered sports fields.

In recent years, the city’s sports fields have been overrun with the weed. Last year, city officials said a perfect storm of a wet spring combined with hot sunny weather resulted in a severe problem on sports fields.

READ MORE: City councillors attempting to tackle amount of dandelions: ‘is this how we want public turf to look?’

The city recently issued a tender to purchase 48,000 litres of iron chelate, the same product introduced last year to combat the pesky weeds.

“It is one of the lowest-risk herbicide options available as it dries quickly, does not have a strong odour, does not leave a chemical residence on the grass and pose negligible health or environmental risks,” city spokesperson Catherine Kuehne said.

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Kuehne said grass growth will not be affected by the herbicide and treated weeds will turn a dark red-black colour.

READ MORE: Dandelions dominate lawns as Edmontonians demand more help from city

The 48,000 litres is expected to cover up to four applications on selected fields over the course of the growing season, Kuehne said.

The iron chelate is five times more expensive than the conventional 2-4-D-type herbicides banned by a 2015 city council policy preventing the use of herbicides for aesthetic purposes.

READ MORE: Dandelions: Beastly bane or beautiful bounty?

Kuehne said the public tender will allow the city to award the contract “to the most cost-effective supplier who also meets our specifications within this competition.”

Last December, city council agreed to spend $3 million more on turf maintenance for its sports fields: an extra $1 million will be used to bring back the iron chelate and $2 million will be spent on mowing more often.

With files from Karen Bartko, Scott Johnston

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