ASHLAND, Ore. – A wet, cool 2011 spring is being blamed for the failure of organic pesticides to control weeds in this city’s parks. Parks and Recreation Director Don Robertson also pointed to a rule requiring the posting of notices 48 hours prior to applying organic herbicides for the city’s weedy parks and sports field last season.

The Ashland Daily Tidings newspaper reports that eventually last summer many park workers stopped trying to use the organic pesticides.

Parks commissioners this past week reversed a decision they made last year and are now allowing the use of traditional chemical herbicides on the infields of local baseball and softball fields. But they’re not giving up on organic herbicides. At least not just yet. In an effort to prove that organic products might still work, they rescinded the rule requiring posting 48-hour prior to application of these products. Their organic pest control strategy isn’t exactly inexpensive, either.

The newspaper reports that the parks department budgeted an extra $10,000 for staff labor and supplies for organic pesticide application this past year. It spent $1,841 on organic herbicides compared to $169 for traditional herbicides in 2010.

Putting a positive spin on the extra labor needed to control (or in this case attempt to control) weeds in the city’s parks, the newspaper reported that “one positive side effect” of the effort was a surge in volunteerism, more than 3,000 hours devoted to parks maintenance.

It was generally acknowledged that the volunteers did more to control weeds than did the organic herbicides, the newspaper reported.Click here to read the March 2 article.