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Montgomery Parks Integrated Pest Management Program & Pesticide Use

Flameweeding Weeds in Warning Track for Player Safety (002)
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Integrated Pest Management Program and Pesticide Use

Montgomery Parks manages more than 37,000 acres of parkland including 420 parks, 275 playgrounds, 362 athletic fields, and many other amenities. The Department follows Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles to steward resources and protect them from pests (weeds, insects, animals, and diseases) that may harm people or plants, impair function, and deteriorate infrastructure. IPM means managing pests by combining multiple strategies and techniques such as mechanical removal of pests, cultural methods to improve soil and plant health, conserving and introducing beneficial biological controls, and using pesticides.

The Parks Department does not use pesticides for cosmetic purposes. Pesticides are used as a last resort to control noxious and invasive pests, maintain safe and playable athletic fields and courts, and prevent significant economic damage, including degradation of park infrastructure.

Staff who apply pesticides and fertilizers are certified and registered with the Maryland Department of Agriculture. Montgomery Parks is committed to balancing the demand for recreation while protecting and conserving our valuable natural and cultural resources to meet the needs of current and future generations.

What is Montgomery County Code 33B?

County Code Chapter 33B went into effect July 1, 2016.  The code presents guidelines for pesticide use in Montgomery County, including on county property and parkland. The goal of the code “is to inform the public about pesticide applications and minimize the use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes, while not restricting the ability to use pesticides in agriculture, for the protection of public health, or for other public benefits.”  Learn more about Montgomery County’s pesticide law.

What is Montgomery Parks doing to comply with the law? 

Montgomery Parks continues to implement IPM strategies to ensure pesticides are used as a last resort.   Montgomery Parks manages all playgrounds, community gardens and common lawn areas within local parks without the use of pesticides.  In 2016, Montgomery Parks designated ten pesticide-free parks. In 2019, the program expanded to 45 pesticide-free parks and in 2022, the program expanded further to include 55 pesticide-free parks. To manage pests in parks that are designated pesticide-free, staff use alternative methods, such as hot foam, string trimming, mechanical weed removal, and products approved for use by Montgomery County Code 33B. The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection examples of products allowed in pesticide-free parks under the law.

The below table includes a schedule of upcoming pesticide applications.*  The list is updated to provide at least 48-hour notice for applications.

Park NamePlanned Application Date RangePlanned Application TimeArea To Be TreatedApplication Details
Hoyles Mill Conservation Park1/8 – 2/237:00a.m. to 3:00p.m.Natural area (no public access; north of river and east of Hyles Mill Road but not adjacent to trail)AquaNeat will be applied to Japanese barberry, Multiflora rose, Japanese honeysuckle and other invasive weeds to restore habitat and protect ecosystem.
Little Bennett Regional Park1/8 – 1/197:00a.m. to 5:00p.mNatural area (scrub-shrub meadow)Garlon 3A will be applied to Japanese barberry, Multiflora rose, Japanese honeysuckle and other nonnative invasive weeds to restore habitat and protect ecosystem.
Rock Creek Regional Park1/15 – 2/27:00a.m. to 5:00p.mFloodplain north of Southlawn Lane and east of paved hiking/biking trailRoundup Custom will be applied to invasive weeds to restore habitat and protect ecosystem.
Little Bennett Regional Park1/22 – 1/267:00a.m. to 5:00p.mForested area between Hard Cider Trail and Kingsley DriveGarlon 3A will be applied to invasive weeds to restore habitat and protect ecosystem.
Little Bennett Regional Park1/22 – 2/97:00a.m. to 5:00p.mForested floodplain at the end of Prescott Road, between main creek and Hyattstown Road/Western Piedmont Trail Roundup Custom will be applied to invasive weeds to restore habitat and protect ecosystem.
Little Bennett Regional Park1/29 – 2/27:00a.m. to 5:00p.mNatural area between Hard Cider and Kingley TrailGarlon 3A will be applied to invasive weeds to restore habitat and protect ecosystem.
Brookside Gardens2/19 – 2/237:30a.m. to 2:00p.mRaised bed pods bulb display in Fragrance GardenDeer Stopper, putrescent egg solids will be applied to bulbs display to protect amenities and infrastructure.
Rockwood Special Park2/26 – 2/278:00a.m. to 3:00p.mOaks around buildingsCambistat will be applied to landscape trees to improve plant health.
Caroline Freeland Urban Park2/26 – 2/278:00a.m. to 3:00p.mOaks near Elm StreetCambistat will be applied to landscape trees to support plant or turf health.
Maydale Conservation Park2/26 – 3/87:00a.m. to 5:00p.mNatural surface trail to the east past the second pond from the parking lotRoundup Custom will be applied to invasive weeds to restore habitat and protect ecosystem.
Rock Creek Stream Valley Park Unit 12/26 – 3/87:00a.m. to 5:00p.mFloodplain north of boundary bridge parking lot, west side of creekRoundup Custom will be applied to invasive weeds (Lesser celandine) to restore habitat and protect ecosystem.
Little Falls Stream Valley Park Unit 12/26 – 3/87:00a.m. to 3:00p.mAround and insde deer enclosure fences on east side of stream between stream and Little Falls TrailAquaneat will be applied to invasive weeds (Lesser celandine) to restore habitat and protect ecosystem.
Cabin John Regional Park2/26 – 3/87:00a.m. to 3:00p.m
Wooded area between baseball/softball fields, west of tennis courts (near Gooseneck-Cabin John Regional Trail)
Aquaneat will be applied to invasive weeds (Lesser celandine) to restore habitat and protect ecosystem.
Little Bennett Regional Park2/26 – 3/87:00a.m. to 3:00p.mFloodplain along Western Piedmont Trail and along trail edges at bottom of Dark Branch tributary (near bridge)Aquaneat will be applied to invasive weeds (Lesser celandine) to restore habitat and protect ecosystem.
Rock Creek Regional Park2/26 – 3/87:00a.m. to 3:00p.mNeedwood Mansion (mulch beds)Razor Pro will be applied to invasive weeds to protect plantings.

*Montgomery Parks staff make every effort to notify the community on this webpage when a pesticide application is scheduled in a public area. Dates of applications may change or be canceled due to weather; also, occasional emergency applications may be needed.

On-site Signage Procedures:

  • White prenotification signs are placed in advance of an application to playing fields, managed turf and treatments within 25 feet of a stream or creek. The signs list the planned application date, product, and the reason for the application.
  • Yellow signs are installed at the site at the time of application and remain in place at least 48 hours following the pesticide application. For more information, call the phone number listed on the back of the sign.

Please contact Montgomery Parks if you have any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions