Denver Parks and Recreation Pesticide Use:
Making Denver’s parks system more resilient and environmentally sustainable is a major component of the Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) Game Plan for a Healthy City. DPR uses an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program to limit environmental impacts and manage a threshold tolerance level of weed and insects. The EPA defines IPM as “an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices.”
One of the primary objectives of DPR’s IPM program is to reduce the total amount of pesticide applied to parks by using a combination of tactics to control or manage pests. This approach considers all strategies including cultural, mechanical, biological, and chemical controls to reduce pest damage to acceptable levels by considering potential impacts on humans, property, economical costs and the environment.
DPR follows a strong turf management program which incorporates proper irrigation, mowing, fertilization, and aeration practices to maintain a healthy turf that minimizes weed growth, pesticide use and exposure to the public.
Selective spot spraying of broadleaf post-emergent weeds in turfgrass is used when weeds are determined to be high enough in density to warrant possible spraying. The recommended turf products used are selected that best control the pest identified.
DPR complies with state and federal requirements and environmental procedures required for fertilizers, pesticides and other chemical products used for tree, turf, and landscape management. DPR abides by FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act), the Colorado Pesticide Applicators’ Act (C.R.S 35-10), and GreenCO Green Industries of Colorado best management practices.
DPR staff who handle or apply pesticides receive training each year and are supervised by a Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) Licensed Qualified Supervisor to ensure that they are properly applying pesticides according to CDA standards and product labels. DPR technical experts inspect weed and pest populations. Once identified, the weed population is analyzed against defined thresholds and CDA noxious weed requirements. DPR posts signage to notify where applications have been performed to lower the risk of public exposure.
Application of glyphosate is applied to select areas and typically used for tree rings in turf and ornamental sites to protect trees from damage. Glyphosate is also sprayed in pavement cracks, around posts and other vertical structures. This also lowers carbon emissions by decreasing the use of gas-powered mowing and trimming equipment.
DPR is continuing to explore alternatives to pesticide use, maintain best management practices, adhere to state and federal regulations, and follow park standards to support safe and healthy parks in Denver.
Learn more about DPR's Integrated Pest Management Program(PDF, 88KB)
View comprehensive list of pesticide/herbicide used(PDF, 145KB)