Mowing, Dandelions and Boulevard Maintenance
The City of Winnipeg Public Service is currently transitioning from spring clean up to parks maintenance activities. The mowing of boulevards and parks has recently started, and I would like to share some information with you on the City’s mowing, weed control and boulevard maintenance programs.
City crews use about 175 mowers to mow boulevards, athletic fields, parks and other city owned green spaces. In total, 2,484 hectares are mowed on a rotating basis with mowing cycles ranging from an average of 10 to 14 days, which equates to about eight to twelve mowing cycles during a season. For reference, one hectare is approximately the same size as a CFL football field.
In addition to spring clean up activities so far this year, Parks and Open Space staff have been preparing the parks, lining the athletic fields for spring play, and completing garbage pick-up and 311 service requests. Some mowers started their operations in regional parks and community athletic fields earlier this month.
Grass growth in Winnipeg has started to occur for the season and usually continues until mid-October. How quickly the grass grows this year will be determined by the weather we receive such as amount of rainfall and heat. Depending on the extent of the grass growth this year crews will work weekends as required
Please refer to the City of Winnipeg Weed Control website for detailed information. The City’s weed control program changed in 2015 due to new Provincial legislation (Non-Essential Pesticide Use Regulation under the Environment Act) which restricts traditional pesticide use on lawns. This means that the City can no longer use certain pesticides on grassed boulevards, parks and athletic fields.
On average, the City spends approx. $4,000 on herbicides and has been primarily mowing to control dandelions for the last few years. Mowing is the only action the City is taking to respond to dandelions in “grassed areas” and while this treatment has labour cost implications, at this point in time, there are no other cost effective legal alternatives.
The City did investigate alternative products to spray on dandelions that were in keeping with Provincial legislation, but the product was 8x the cost of Roundup and was not being used by any other Canadian city due to overall ineffectiveness. Hard surface areas (non-grassed areas) with weeds or along difficult locations such as fence lines are now being sprayed with acetic acid (Eco-clear or vinegar). This product is nowhere near as efficient as Roundup, but does comply with Provincial legislation.
For some tips on organic lawn care, please see here.
To learn about the level of boulevard maintenance that property owners are responsible for, which boulevards are maintained by the City, and more, please see the City’s website.
If you would like to get creative with your boulevard and help to beautify the neighbourhood, visit Non Standard Boulevard Treatment.
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