Is the Dandelion “Scourge” in Edmonton Really That Bad?

Last month and the previous month, complaints to the City of Edmonton about dandelion infiltration have been on the rise. So much so that now, just before the month of July, the City of Edmonton Operations is planning some action.

“Too little, too late”, states one soccer mom, along with a large and growing group who state that it appears the vocal minority has brought this challenge to the fore, to the attention of authorities. Many people, including parents, say the issue has been “blown” out of proportion.

Complaints about dandelions covering sports fields have been “nipped” in the bud, so to speak, by frequent cutting of the sports fields themselves, leaving only empty, unused fields on the outskirts as the culprits. Many property owners do not appreciate the “overflow” that has remained uncut, blowing on to their lawns and exacerbating the problem for individual property owners.

Many say that to spray now, it is too late, that the dandelions left unattended have already spread their spores for next year. Doug Jones, deputy manager of City Operations states, “Crews will apply two treatments of iron chelate…to roughly 60 per cent of Edmonton’s 1,465 sports fields”. With many sports such as soccer, wrapping up for the summer school year, many wonder if the cost and effort are even necessary at this late a time.

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Yet, they are set to go. Presumably, the chemical leaves no residue on grass and poses “negligible” health risks.

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Sports fields this writer drove by and ovserved were shown completely bereft of dandelions, and children were able to run in the flat, freshly cut playing field and kick the ball with ease. No dandelion tripping hazards were in sight during the sports matches.

Nevertheless, Travis Kennedy, acting director for parks operations in Northeast Edmonton states, “Dandelions are our major concern at this point”. While some beg to differ, at this late point in the season, the chemical will still be used to prevent “proliferation” and help stop seeds from drifting on to people’s lawns from the unused fields themselves, as well as any dandelions that remain uncut.

The application of this herbicide will cost the City of Edmonton at least $750,000 over and above the mowing and trimming of grass. Many believe that in most cases, the cutting and trimming alone has proven to be effective in keeping the sports fields safe and free of dandelions already. And that the extra cost, along with matters of health and safety issues with applying a herbicide at this point in the year, is debatable and some say, unnecessary.


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