Chemical Use in Our Parks

There is a large dichotomy of opinions on maintaining turf conditions in parks.  Many residents expect to see the parks in pristine condition without weeds, while others are more weed-tolerant.  Based upon the use of each park, some may demand less weeds, for example on a groomed ballfield or golf course, where other parks may have dedicated open space that require less stringent weed control.  Our team of experts have a goal: Use the smallest amount of the least toxic chemicals to achieve the desired result for the specific use of each park.  With this in mind, the park district also uses natural soil conditioners as alternative solutions in some of our parks and at the golf course to increase the grass health to help choke out weeds. 

This year two more parks received zero chemical intervention, Hollydale and Heritage Parks, bringing the total to 11.  Chemical-free parks are listed here:

  • Butterfield Park
  • Cedar Park
  • Extreme Scene Skate Park
  • Lions Club Pool (inside pool fence)
  • Pheasant Trails Park
  • Pinehurst Park
  • Rover’s Run Dog Park
  • Scandia Park
  • Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center

 We are planning on adding Leavitt Park to the chemical-free parks in 2020. 

While our other parks are not chemical free, we have significantly reduced the amount used over the last five years and will continue to reduce even more in the future.  We have an amazing team of experts who look for ways to produce the desired results using the least toxic chemical intervention.  In fact, one of our employees recently gave a presentation at the Village of Homewood titled: Environmentally Friendly Lawn Management.  This fall we will again apply natural soil conditioners (bio-solids and biosolid compost) to Coyote Run Golf Course and several parks in an effort to produce full and healthy grass. 

The Park District uses a third-party provider to maintain turf conditions and weed control in the remaining parks (not including Coyote Run Golf Course).  Over the last three years, we have reduced the applications from five per year to three per year, and next year we will reduce some of those parks to only two treatments.  Our agreement with the provider is to use the smallest amount of the safest products to achieve the conditions needed for each park.   

The Park District will continue to monitor best practices and alternative solutions to turf management and adapt our practices on a regular basis as new information becomes available.  We are definitely open to change and always strive to meet the needs of our residents.