Montgomery Parks Integrated Pest Management Program and Pesticide Use
Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland including 422 parks, 273 playgrounds, 342 athletic fields and many other amenities. The Department follows Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles to steward resources and protect them from pests (weeds, insects, animals and diseases) that may harm people or plants, impair function, and deteriorate infrastructure. IPM means managing pests by combining multiple strategies and techniques such as mechanical removal of pests, cultural methods to improve soil and plant health, conserving and introducing beneficial biological controls, and using alternative as well as conventional pesticides. The Parks Department does not use pesticides for cosmetic purposes. Pesticides are used as a last resort to control noxious and invasive pests, maintain safe and playable athletic fields and courts, and prevent significant economic damage, including degradation of park infrastructure. Staff who apply pesticides and fertilizers are certified and registered with the Maryland Department of Agriculture. Montgomery Parks is committed to balancing the demand for recreation while protecting and conserving our valuable natural and cultural resources to meet the needs of current and future generations.
What is Montgomery County Code 33B? County Code Chapter 33B went into effect July 1, 2016. The code presents guidelines for pesticide use in Montgomery County, including on county property and parkland. The goal of the code “is to inform the public about pesticide applications and minimize the use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes, while not restricting the ability to use pesticides in agriculture, for the protection of public health, or for other public benefit.” Learn more about Montgomery County’s pesticide law.
What is Montgomery Parks doing to comply with the law?
Montgomery Parks continues to implement IPM strategies to ensure chemical pesticides are used as a last resort. Montgomery Parks manages all playgrounds, community gardens and common lawn areas within local parks without the use of pesticides. In 2016, Montgomery Parks designated ten pesticide-free parks. In September 2019, the program expanded to 45 pesticide-free parks. From FY2014 to FY2018 Montgomery Parks’ pesticide expenditure decreased 73%.
The below table includes a schedule of upcoming pesticide applications.* The list is updated to provide at least 48-hour notice for applications.
Planned Application Date
Planned Application Time
Area To Be Treated
Black Hill Regional Park
1/27 – 1/31/20
7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Natural areas/buffer between road and lake: starting at the parking lot pull off area on Clarksburg Rd just south/west of the bridge over the lake, and extending down to the traffic signal at Barnesville Rd/Rt.121 intersection
Garlon 3A and Pathfinder will be applied as cut stump and basal bark treatments to target invasive/noxious weeds to restore habitat and protect ecosytem
Bennett Creek Conservation Park
1/27 – 1/31/20
7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Meadow Area off westside of Powerline Right of way, Northwest corner of the park
Garlon 3A will be applied as stump and bark treatments to target invasive/noxious weeds to restore habitat and protect ecosytem
*Montgomery Parks staff make every effort to notify the community on this webpage when a pesticide application is scheduled in a public area. Dates of applications may change or be canceled due to weather; also, occasional emergency applications may be needed.
On-site Signage Procedures:
White prenotification signs are placed in advance of an application to playing fields, managed turf and treatments within 25 feet of a stream or creek. The signs list the planned application date, product and the reason for the application.
Yellow signs are installed at the site at the time of application and remain in place at least 48 hours following the pesticide application. For more information, call the phone number listed on the back of the sign.