Denton, TX Integrated Pest Management Program

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Denton, TX, US

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Type: Program

Status: Launched in 2001

Source File:


In February 2001, citizens expressed concern to the Denton Parks and Recreation Department about the City's pesticide program, all usage of chemicals in the parks and any potential health effects.

The Parks and Recreation Department placed an immediate moratorium on most pesticide use while developing a response to the issue. In April 2001, City Council directed staff to continue the moratorium and to research alternative approaches to the pesticide program. In addition, the Department was asked to involve citizens and park user groups in the decisions related to this issue.

In June 2001, a Focus Group was called together to review current maintenance practices and discuss community and park user expectations about park appearance and what role pesticides should take in meeting those expectations.

The following is a brief summary of the Integrated Pest Management Program that was developed with the Focus Group, implemented in the Fall of 2001 and currently used by the Department:

IPM Program - The Denton Parks and Recreation Department defines Integrated Pest Management as a pest management program where control is achieved through multiple tactics including prevention, cultural practices, pesticides, exclusion, natural enemies and host resistance. The goal is to achieve long-term control of pests with minimal impact on the environment.

Pilot Parks - Staff selected multiple locations to test alternative methods under different soil conditions and at locations with varied usage.

Current locations are:

  • Nette Shultz Park
  • Joe Skiles Park
  • South portion of Oakwood Cemetery
  • North Lakes Softball Fields 1 and 2
  • Flower bed on the west side of the Civic Center

Organic Practices and Products are used, including:

  • Top-dressing turf with compost and aerifying the soil two times per year.
  • Use of organic products such as corn gluten meal as a pre-emergent to prevent weeds, vinegar as a chemical edging around trees and along fences, and orange oil as an insecticide.
  • Beneficial insects such as lady bugs and praying mantis will be introduced to control other damage by other insects
  • Mowing at the proper height and frequency to discourage weeds
  • Shredding grass clippings and leaves and returning them to the soil
  • Returning "No Mow" areas to pasture with native grasses and wildflowers

Continue a reduced chemical program to:

  • Eliminate use of products containing 2, 4-D, Dicamba, MCPP and Simazine
  • Restrict use of Fusilade, Surflan, and Snapshot to planter and color beds
  • Reduce broadcast application of a low toxicity non-selective herbicide in neighborhood parks to one application per year if needed
  • Limit hand sprayer applications of Roundup in all parks to tree rings, fence lines and other surfaces to control vegetation where hand edging is required
  • Limit the application of Rodeo to the banks of creeks and ponds with hand sprayers only
  • Limit the application of Primo to regulate turf growth around hardscape items
  • Limit use of Orthene to spot treat individual fire ant mound

Public Notification:
When pesticide applications are made at public buildings and in the parks:

  • Signs are posted to notify the public of what product has been used and when it was applied, and remain for at least 72 hours after the application.
  • Blue dye is added to all spot spray applications so citizens can easily identify the areas in the park that have been sprayed. If an entire park has been sprayed, it will be noted on the posted signs.
  • Applications are scheduled at such times as to minimize contact with the public

Community Issues:

  • The Department attempts to contact schools and neighborhood groups to schedule applications so as not to conflict with events held in the parks.
  • If concern is expressed about plants that cause harm, such as poison ivy and sandburs, non-organic herbicides will be used if organic applications fail to control the problem
  • The Department works with the Environmental Compliance Manager and Watershed Protection Manager to assess air emissions and storm water quality throughout the park system.
  • To conserve water and minimize the use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, plants are selected that will thrive in established conditions.
  • Future design of parks and landscapes within parks will consider site planning and plant selection consistent with the IPM program, maintenance plan and master plan for that park.
  • Staff will continue to seek out opportunities for training related to IPM, and to evaluate new programs and products as they become available.