Watch out for weeds! City of Boise cutting down on pesticides

Clover grows at a Boise City park
Posted at 6:11 PM, Jul 14, 2022

BOISE, Idaho — You may soon see more dandelions and clover throughout Boise, as the city's three-year pesticide pilot program is now expanding.

The pilot started in 2020 to study alternative land management techniques and reduce the use of pesticides on city-owned property. It's part of a larger sustainability goal within the city and adds to city initiatives like 'America the Beautiful.'

“Two years ago, we identified 17 sites for the first phase of the Pesticide Reduction Pilot Program. Today, more than 60 parks in our system are active pesticide reduction sites,” said Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway.

The goal of the pilot is to use a variety of methods to manage grass, soil, tree wells and other landscaped areas while also studying the effects of less synthetic chemical use. With 60 parks now a part of the pilot, grass areas could have more dandelions, clover and broadleaf plants. The city says broadleaf plants are beneficial to the local ecosystem because they provide food and habitat to native pollinators, while also adding to the biodiversity of the city's green spaces. They'll also increase the mowing height for turf, which the city says saves resources on mowing and water, while also improving the overall heath of the gras..

“We are now seeing the direct benefits to our resource management, pollinator habitat, groundwater quality control and overall health of the grass, plants and trees throughout city parks," said Holloway.

Boise Parks and Recreation will evaluate the new maintenance techniques throughout the summer. Starting in the fall, the project team will gather data and community feedback to potentially implement policy changes in 2023.

For more information on the City of Boise's pesticide reduction efforts, click here.