Pesticides in Montgomery Parks

Pesticide Use in Montgomery Parks Overview

As of July 2016, Montgomery Parks adapted our pesticide notification and use program to adhere to changes in legislation passed by the Montgomery County Council. Montgomery Parks is embracing new ways to manage weeds and pest issues in our parks while continuing to protect and conserve our valuable natural and cultural resources. We are committed to balancing the demand for recreation with the need for conservation as we work to sustainably manage a park system that meets the needs of current and future generations.

Montgomery Parks Pesticide Use Quick Facts:

  • Advanced notifications of pesticide applications are listed on the Montgomery Parks website.
  • White pre-notification signs are posted 48 hours in advance at the site of applications (playing fields, managed turf, treatments within 25 ft. of a water body, along train tracks and courts).
  • Yellow pesticide application signs are installed at the time of application for areas along trails, train tracks, near water, turfgrass and ornamental plantings. Signs remain in place for at least 48 hours following pesticide applications.
  • All playgrounds are pesticide-free in Montgomery Parks.
  • Some parks throughout Montgomery County are pesticide-free.
  • The athletic fields pilot program will roll out in 2017 to evaluate organic methods and certain “listed” pesticide products that are approved by the Department of Agriculture. List of pesticides are here.

For more information on Pesticide-Free Parks, the Athletic Field Pilot Program and Transition Plan, Montgomery Parks’ Integrated Pest Management Program, and other FAQs regarding Montgomery Parks’ Pesticide Program, please see below.

Pesticide Application Notifications

Our goal is to notify the community of pesticide applications via our website at least 48 hours in advance of application, via signage posted at the site of the planned application at least 48 hours in advance of the application. Please find current pesticide application alerts below.

Schedule for April 20, 2017  through April 27, 2017

Park Name Planned Application Date Planned Time Range Place Description of Area to be Treated Product Reason Posted on Web
Brookside Gardens 4/20/2017 9:00 am to 12:00 pm Rose Garden Rose Beds Merit Insects 4/17/2017
Brookside Gardens 4/19/2017 8:00 am to 12:00 pm Upper and Lower Aquatic Pond Pond Bank Rodeo Invasive Species 4/17/2017
Germantown Town Center 4/21/2017 9:30 am to 2:45 pm Landscape Beds around entrance signs Proscutor & Surflan Weeds 4/18/2017
Waring Station 4/21/2017 7:00 am to 9:00 am Landscape Beds around entrance signs Proscutor & Surflan Weeds 4/18/2017
Brookside Gardens 4/24/2017 9:30 am to 10:30 am Glenallen ave Under trees and Shrubs Glyphosate Pro Invasive Species 4/18/2017
South Germantown 4/24-4/26/2017 6:00 am to 2:30 pm Mulch Beds and Tree Rings Round Up Weeds 4/18/2017
Black Hill Park Police Substation 4/24-4/28 7:00 am to 2:00 pm Landscape Beds Glyphosate Pro, Oryzalin, Snapshot Weeds 4/20/2017
Black Hill Maintenance Yard 4/24-4/28 7:00 am to 2:00 pm Landscape Beds Glyphosate Pro, Oryzalin, Snapshot Weeds 4/20/2017
South Germantown Mini Golf/Playground Area 4/24-4/28 7:00 am to 2:00 pm Landscape Beds Glyphosate Pro, Oryzalin, Snapshot Weeds 4/20/2017
South Germantown Maintenance Yard 4/24-4/28 7:00 am to 2:00 pm Landscape Beds Glyphosate Pro, Oryzalin, Snapshot Weeds 4/20/2017
Seneca Lodge 4/24-4/28 7:00 am to 2:00 pm Landscape Beds Glyphosate Pro, Oryzalin, Snapshot Weeds 4/20/2017
Norbeck-Muncaster Mill Neighborhood Park 4/24-4/28 7:00 am to 2:00 pm Landscape Beds Glyphosate Pro, Oryzalin, Snapshot Weeds 4/20/2017
Quince Orchard Valley Neighorhood Park 4/24-4/28 7:00 am to 2:00 pm Landscape Beds Glyphosate Pro, Oryzalin, Snapshot Weeds 4/20/2017
OLNEY MANOR RECREATIONAL PARK 04/24/2017-04/28/2017 8am-12pm Curbs and Sidewalks ROUND UP Weeds 4/20/2017
East Norbeck Local Park 4/27/17 6:30am-10:30am Tree Rings ROUND UP Weeds 4/20/2017
Olney Mill Neighborhood Park 4/27/17 11:45am-2pm Tree Rings ROUND UP Weeds 4/20/2017
Fairland Recreational Park 4/25/2017-4/26/2017 8am-11am Tree Rings – Sign Beds Round Up Weeds 4/20/2017
Nothwest Branch  Recreational Park 04/26/2017-04/27/2017 7am-1pm Warning Tracks ROUND UP Weeds 4/20/2017
Brookside Gardens 4/27/2017 8:00 am to 10:00 am Gude Garden Razor Pro Weeds 4/20/2017


Pesticide-Free Parks

Providing the community with access to pesticide-free parks is important to us. We have launched a pilot program to manage certain parks in different regions of Montgomery County without the use of pesticides. This will help us learn about the maintenance impacts and best practices associated with maintaining parks with alternative methods. As we learn from the pilot program, the parks designated as pesticide-free may change. A park may be removed from the program and/or the program may expand to include additional parks. The following are the list of the pesticide-free parks:


Athletic Field Pilot Program

Montgomery Parks staff will work with an expert in organic turf management to launch an athletic field pilot program in the fall of 2017. We will evaluate listed and organic pesticides for maintaining our athletic fields  to determine if we can transition to maintain of all playing fields without the use of registered pesticide by 2020. This project is contingent on available funding. All other athletic fields are managed following guidelines in our Integrated Pest Management Program.

Integrated Pest Management in Montgomery Parks

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) includes alternative methods of managing weeds, insects, and other pest issues to minimize the use of pesticides. We follow IPM principles to determine the best management practices for each facility and asset. Some alternative methods are hand pulling and mechanical removal of weeds, additional string trimming, propane flame weeding and application of organic approved pesticides in County Code 33B.

Reducing pesticide use begins with sustainable design, durable equipment and quality materials. Well-trained staff is equally important; Parks’ training programs emphasize

  • Regular monitoring for pest problems
  • Proper use of alternative practices
  • Communication to update staff of changes related to pesticide use in our parks

Updates & Reports

In addition to posting pesticide application information on our website in advance of application, and via signage both in advance and post application, Montgomery Parks will report on its pesticide reduction program bi-annually on January 15 and July 15 starting in 2017. Reports will be available on the website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can current information about pesticide applications be found?

Montgomery Parks posts up-to-date information about pesticide applications on our website. Notifications are posted 48 hours in advance of planned pesticide applications to playing fields, managed turf, treatments within 25’ ft. of waterbody, train tracks and courts–with the exception of emergency applications. White pre-notification signs provide details on the planned time of application, the pesticide name, the location treated, and the reason. Maryland State Department of Agriculture yellow signs are posted at the time of application and remain in place at least 48 hours following a pesticide application to areas along trails, tracks, near water, athletic fields, turfgrass and ornamental plants.

When & Where Can Pesticides Be Used?

EPA registered pesticides are permitted in areas such as gardens, athletics fields, near event centers, and in natural areas where weeds and other pests threaten the health of trees or shrubs. Pesticides are used to reduce harmful pests, prevent significant economic damage, to control noxious weeds, invasive species, disease vectors and to treat stinging insects and plants that pose an imminent threat to human health.

Are playgrounds and pesticide-free pilot parks 100% pesticide-free?

Montgomery Parks is making every effort to provide pesticide-free playgrounds and parks. Montgomery County Code includes provisions whereby pesticides may be applied in a playground or pesticide-free park when needed to protect human health or to prevent significant economic damage. For example, if there is a wasps nest or poisonous stinging weeds on the playground, a pesticide may be used if we are not able to resolve the problem in any other ways. Then in such a situation, the treated area will be closed for a brief period while the emergency is managed and re-opened as soon as possible.

Why did I see someone applying a product that looked like a pesticide but did not see an alert or signage?

While it may appear that the staff person was applying a pesticide, they many have been spraying water or liquid fertilizer. It is also possible that it was a listed pesticide; these products do not require pre-notification. Listed pesticide products include corn gluten based herbicides, oils, soaps, and products containing organic or minimum risk approved ingredients (cloves, eggs, mint). If you have questions or concerns that a pesticide was being applied improperly or without proper notification, please contact 301-495-2595  or info@MontgomeryParks.org.

What are Listed Pesticides?

Listed pesticides are active ingredients which are recommended by the National Organic Standards Board and published as the National list. A pesticide is designated as a “minimum risk pesticide” under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. Click here for the listed pesticides.

What are some of the alternative strategies Montgomery Parks uses to manage pests and weeds?

Alternative strategies include hand-weeding, mechanical weed removal, additional string trimming, propane flame weeding, and the use of listed pesticides that are allowed.

What are some of the impacts of reducing the use of pesticides in Montgomery Parks?

Managing pesticide-free park spaces is labor-intensive; and requires hiring additional staff and volunteer support for reducing and/or eliminating pesticides. Please contact our volunteer services office.

How can I provide suggestions about Montgomery Parks’ Pesticide Reduction Program?

Please contact us at 301-495-2595 or info@MontogmeryParks.org. Be sure to mention “Pesticide Reduction Program” in your subject line.

Last Updated: April 20, 2017