Sound Off

Sound Off: What kind of herbicides and chemicals does the city use in the parks and other areas? And why do they use them?

Megan Gilliland, the city’s communications manager, provided this answer: City staff uses pesticides as a tool to control unwanted and noxious weeds such as poison ivy and other plant pests such as bagworms in selected areas. A map of green parks and other limited-spray areas is available at The department created an Integrated Pest Management Policy including an accepted pesticide materials list several years ago. All chemicals used are Category Level 3 or 4. When spray applications are occurring, the department posts signs in advance of spraying and leaves the signs up for 24 hours after completion. The parks department also uses alternative methods of weed control including sheet and wood chip mulching and mowing grass high to help control weeds and reduce use of pesticides.


DillonBarnes 6 years, 1 month ago

They use them because they're evil and want to give you cancer. That or they use them because they work, it's one of those, I can't remember.

oneflewover 6 years, 1 month ago

Why do they use them... Really? Stay in your own weed infested (East Lawrence?) yard if you are that concerned.

kernal 6 years, 1 month ago

Listen up, jenny, most homeowners take care of their lawns. It's the lawns of rental properties all over Lawrence that are rarely maintained by tenants or landlords.

I've never understood this lack of pride in a nice residence by tenants in Lawrence, Student ghettos I can understand.

Tomato 6 years ago

Lol. Devictor Park is right on my backyard and I have a garden - one that includes both edibles and a butterfly garden that is chock full of monarch caterpillars at any given time.

Yes, I am definitely interested in knowing what and when they are spraying so that I can protect my plants from drift if necessary.

repaste 6 years, 1 month ago

.Never answered the question. Stick your head in the sand folks, but, some of these chemicals are dangerous and overused.

Terry Sexton 6 years, 1 month ago

They probably use some Roundup here & there, some broadleaf weed killer, maybe some stuff for bagworms & possibly some foliar fertilizers. What is used is speculation on my part, but I don't think anyone is sticking his or her head in the sand. Follow the directions on the label & it's not dangerous at all. That was my experience when I used to do similar work.

Glo 6 years, 1 month ago

The use of herbicides in the cemeteries is creating a very unattractive space. It is bare dirt several inches back from the headstones and makes many stones look like they are newly installed that have been there for years. This has been happening for several years now, so we have bare dirt or weeds instead of grass. I realize this is easier than trimming, but not very respectful of the final resting space of our loved ones. It may be safe, but certainly unattractive!

MarcoPogo 6 years ago

Hasn't really hurt the cemeteries' popularity - people are still dying to get in!

asixbury 6 years ago

That's a famous cemetary, too. You know how many people are dead in there?

DillonBarnes 6 years ago

Is this a reoccurring issue? Makes me wonder if someone put down a glyphosate when they meant to put down a 2,4-D.

kernal 6 years, 1 month ago

Not too long ago, their was an attempt to do away with many of the herbicides and have people volunteer to pull weeds to we could keep the parks chemical free. I think that lasted about two times and interest dropped off. So, if you don't want chemicals sprayed in the parks, I'm sure Parks & Recs won't have a problem if you'd like to get some folks together and do a little weeding. Maybe that could be an optional community service project instead of picking up trash along the highways.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years ago

Indeed, I believe Merrill has spearheaded similar efforts. At one point, I think he suggested weeding parks as a fun summer activity for Lawrence youth. I'm shocked more concerned citizens haven't joined Merrill in this effort.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 1 month ago

You cannot run or hide from carcinogenic chemicals.

There is a monster amount of cancer on this planet as we speak. It has been suggested that approximately 20% of our population smokes tobacco. Why are so many in the other 80% being diagnosed with cancer? The government has trillions of tax dollars for the war machine yet still cannot explain why cancers have developed in living bodies nor can cancer be absolutely cured.

On the labels it is suggested that pets,pregnant moms and children should not be exposed to the carcinogenic chemicals being applied? Why is that?

When I see toxic spray applicators doing it in the wind I wonder about that.... drift can have dramatic impacts on humans,animals and living plants.

How does an applicator know whether or not a human being is not somewhere in the area breathing in the toxic chemical, or a pet or birds or a young child? The applicator has no clue keeping in mind this carcinogenic chemical cannot be seen but can potentially drift for for a few miles so it was explained.

When I see toxic chemical applicators with little protection I also wonder about that. It is my assumption that respirators and a full body coverage suit is the desired protective gear because that's what I was taught in my toxic chemical class. Yes it has strong resemblance to a haz mat suit and this info was handed out to the class known as Disease and Pests of Ornamental Plants.

This "haz mat suit" brochure convinced me I should never use or apply toxic chemicals in my business. There have been plenty of clients who welcome no toxic chemicals in the yard. A weed yard is not natural but an illusion. Instead I offered to "weed" the beds in a yard as opposed to applying toxic chemicals.

Yes one can follow directions however that cannot guarantee that cancer will not be the end result of exposing oneself to carcinogenic yard chemicals. Cancer is a funny deal because it can take years to develop up to 25 years so I learned while educating myself on the risks of exposure to radioactive materials.

You cannot run or hide from carcinogenic chemicals.

Leslie Swearingen 6 years ago

Thank you! It makes me angry that the air, water and ground is poisoned because people want to see perfect green lawns and parks. This is outside the control of the individual. I worry about the park employees who are being exposed to this directly, and on a regular basis.

hujiko 6 years ago

Ever been to Las Vegas, Phoenix, or Los Angeles? I'd hazard a guess that what goes on there is worse than anything happening in Kansas.

cozborn 6 years ago

believe me these people know what they are doing.

pace 6 years ago

I think the vaccines hoax, that they caused autism was exposed. Vaccinations have saved millions of people from death or harm. Vaccines are cheap and safe, be a good neighbor.

somedude20 6 years ago

Hey Mulder, Scully is waiting for you in the car!

asixbury 6 years, 1 month ago

I am extremely sensitive to poison ivy, sumac, oak, you name it. So I, for one, and very glad they spray the parks I like to use. I wouldn't be able to hike or walk my dogs in these areas if they didn't. I don't even have to come into direct contact with the plant; just walking by it, or the wind blowing in the right direction is all I need to get infected.

woodscolt 6 years, 1 month ago

So you know the immediate results of poison ivy, sumac, oak, you name it. That bothers you. You don't notice the results of the toxins immediately so they are ok. What if they are far more damaging than the plants you don't like. Not to mention the damage they cause children or birds or pets or any other animals that suffer so you don't have to suffer immediately. Nothing selfish about that.

DillonBarnes 6 years ago

And there is nothing condescending about your post!

asixbury 6 years ago

Animals survived before when they used to spray with chemicals much worse than they use now. Have you had poison ivy so bad that your skin blisters in oozing puss boils with no relief possible? The anti-itch stuff does nothing for the oozing nastiness. I have to get a shot from the doctor so I don't suffer for an entire month with it. I have one spot that never really went away and comes back every spring.

The chemicals they use are bad on the plants they target. The damage to us and the animals are minimal. I would like to see your proof otherwise. The benefits outweigh the costs. If you don't like the chemicals, don't visit the parks.

Suffer immediately? How about a month or more of very painful blisters all over your body! Have you had it on your face before? It's scarring and permanently damaging. Spray on!

woodscolt 6 years ago

"If you don't like the chemicals, don't visit the parks."

Seems like that would apply to you if the poison ivy(others) is so bad for you. I don't belittle the ill-affects of poison ivy and thats why I avoid it as much as possible. That is some serious stuff your dealing with. If I were you I wouldn't get within 10 miles of poison ivy, sprayed or not. Some people aren't allergic to it at all or at least very minimally but are definitely affected by the poisonous toxic chemicals. Guess they should just not go to the park so you can.

"The chemicals they use are bad on the plants they target. The damage to us and the animals are minimal. I would like to see your proof otherwise."

Wow, that is a crock. How about you show me some proof. That reads like an add for pesticides that you bought into, not me. Sorry asix, " Oh, the toxic poisonous chemicals aren't as bad as they used to be so that makes them ok. Wow!

I think it would be easier to educate people what these plants look like and why and how they should avoid them. Hard to avoid the chemicals especially since they are way harder to see than the plants.

I've had poison ivy and poison oak in my yard for years and lots of it. I am smart enough to avoid it. To answer your question, I have had rashes maybe twice in the last 20 years because I am very careful to avoid the stuff. You would be way better of to avoid the stuff than to wonder if the area has been sprayed or not.

asixbury 6 years ago

And another point...

The spray is only harmful if you get it on you. The only way this would happen is if you were around the workers while they were spraying, or went to the park before the 24-hr window was closed. After 24-48 hrs (depending on the spray), it will no longer transfer onto you or your pets. That is how people are able to spray their yards and allow their pets back in after a couple of days.

woodscolt 6 years ago

"The spray is only harmful if you get it on you."

Brilliant, As long as you avoid the poison ivy, you won't get the spray on you. One might think, As long as you avoid the poison ivy, the poison ivy won't get on you.

"That is how people are able to spray their yards and allow their pets back in after a couple of days."

Geeze, yet another crock. You are so full of wishful thinking about toxic poisonous chemicals that you would buy into anything you want about it. Sorry asix, I am not that trusting.

No toxic chemicals, no poisons, no problem. That is something I can buy into.

I spent several years across the street from a children's playground and watched the city come over and spray the grounds (what about the people who are spraying the chemicals?to bad so sad for them I guess) and then watched the next group of kids come out and play in it. All day long. I watched people play with their dogs who were rolling in the chemicals. The dogs got it all over them then the people got it all over them subsequently. Just not a program I can buy into. Don't worry about me, I don't go to the parks because of the poisons sprayed on them. Gee, I wonder what happens if it rains while the chemicals are being sprayed. Wonder what happens when the chemicals wash off into the drains and into the river. Oh, that reminds me, I don't swim or fish in the river either.

asixbury 6 years ago

I do not have to come into contact with the poison ivy to get it. The wind blows the oils into the air and I get infected. Also, the spray controls noxious weeds that would snuff out the other plants and animal life.

You are ignorant on the hazards of these chemicals and how they are applied. They set within minutes and are not harmful unless you consume the plants within those few minutes, over and over again. Just because it is a chemical does not make it "the devil."

Your paranoia is a bit irrational. You have to weigh the benefits with the costs, and choose from there. The benefits: people don't get infected with poisonous plants and can enjoy the outdoors. New plants have a chance to flourish without being overrun by noxious weeds. Costs: some paranoid, ignorant people think all chemicals will kill them and don't care what it does to the rest of the plants and patrons of the parks.

woodscolt 6 years ago

"Costs: some paranoid, ignorant people think all chemicals will kill them and don't care what it does to the rest of the plants and patrons of the parks." asix

Quite the opposite, You, for your own self serving reasons, are ignorant to these chemicals. You choose to buy into the sales pitch of the manufacturers of these toxins and those who choose to use them because it is self serving to you. It is self serving to them based on profitability.

The wind blows these chemicals as well and the rain washes them off as well. Never seen anyone standing out with a timer saying ok kids waller in the chemicals now its ok. If, I were to believe your claim to how you are affected by poison ivy,(Your credibility shrinks with every post you have made on this thread) than you are an extreme case. Most people can avoid poison ivy by being educated on how to manage themselves around it. Why poison the parks for a very selfish few. Can't you just take your own advise you have given me and just stay away from the parks. I do because of people like you. thanks alot.

Your flopping like a fish out of poisoned water on this issue. Poisonous toxic chemicals are good for our children to play in.

asixbury 6 years ago

The toxins they use will not kill you before every other issue you are paranoid about will. Keep wallowing in your paranoia, and stay out of the parks. I will, on the other hand, enjoy them.

woodscolt 6 years ago

".......The toxins they use will not kill you...."

I guess you think every toxic chemical is ok as long as it doesn't kill you.

Stupidity at its best.

asixbury 6 years ago

The toxins are used to kill plants. The affects on people and animals are minimal and do not out-weigh the benefits. Sometimes in life, you have to take the good with the bad. Do you have proof of these pesticides being harmful to humans, other than extreme situations in which they were doused in it or consumed it?

cozborn 6 years ago

if someone goes and licks they spray within the seven minutes it takes to set. I hate to say it, but they deserve what they get, which would only effect them if they did it on the hour day after day, also these are not broad range chemicals, they are very specific to species and genus. And if you feed your dog or cat or kid anything that you did not grow or raise yourself or bought at the farmers market. It has come into contact with these types of chemicals

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

They gotta use something strong to control the vermin that falls off the filthy hippies.

woodscolt 6 years ago

Yet another great contribution from snap pop no intelligence.

foggydew 6 years ago

She actually said, "pesticides" control weeds. Jeez. Get someone who knows the difference between pesticides and herbicides.

Leslie Swearingen 6 years ago

Maybe the government is doing recombinant DNA research in the parks of Lawrence, combining animal and plant DNA and they want to know the effects before they go world wide.

DillonBarnes 6 years ago

I first thought this too, but to be safe, I opened up the dictionary (tab).

"A substance used for destroying insects or other organisms harmful to cultivated plants or to animals." "Pesticides include fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and rodenticides."

So technically, pesticide is an appropriate term, but a little confusing.

Terry Sexton 6 years ago

"There is a monster amount of cancer on this planet as we speak."

It spreads prolifically, even infecting the comment threads with diatribe after diatribe, linking & cutting & pasting with its insidious, mind numbing negativity.

woodscolt, I suspect snap has more intelligence than you & me put together.

Leslie Swearingen 6 years ago

Does the oil keep the grass glossy and pliable?

pace 6 years ago

Funny, I use herbicides for unwanted weeds and poison ivy. Never would occur to me to use a pesticide. How is that working for them?

I use pesticides for bugs, insects.

They could of provided a list of product. I don't think a knowledgeable person responded.

asixbury 6 years ago

See DillonBarnes post above...

asixbury 6 years ago

I would like that list too, so I can avoid the parks that will cause me pain and suffering when I get infected again with the poisonous plants' oil!

Leslie Swearingen 6 years ago

Yes, I do believe we all got that. Now stop whining and making every comment about you.

asixbury 6 years ago

What else would anyone comment about but their own personal opinion on a matter? Don't read my comments if it bothers you so much frankie8. I do not believe I was commenting to your attention, anyway.

asixbury 6 years ago

What else would anyone comment about but their own personal opinion on a matter? Don't read my comments if it bothers you so much frankie8. I do not believe I was commenting to your attention, anyway.

JackMcKee 6 years ago

"trust fund hippies". Lol. You just accurately described a good portion of LAwrence weirdos in three words.

dipweed 6 years ago

"And why do they use them?" keep the weeds away ya dipweed!

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