grass cutting

I am wondering if the city has quit cutting grass as well as spraying
for weeds. The parks are a DISGRACE !!! St George’s Park has
weeds(dandelions) standing almost a foot high (unless you finally cut it in the last 3-4 days). I don’t blame people for beingĀ upset when they try to keep their property neat and tidy and the city is one of the worst offenders!!! JS


Each year the Operations Department hires approximately 100 students to augment our permanent staff to maintain our park system during the summer period. The students were trained about two weeks ago and assigned to their routes. We anticipate all places will receive its first cut by mid week and the maintenance cycles established for the remainder of the season. Passive parkland, such as St. George’s Park, is generally cut every 10 days.

With regard to dandelions, this aggressive weed grows much more quickly than grass and, between turf cutting cycles, it is not unsurprising to see “fields of white” during their seeding period. Dandelion activity should dissipate shortly and the aesthetic quality of the park will improve. As you are likely aware, the Provincial Government recently banned the cosmetic use of pesticides. Guelph has not been using pesticides for cosmetic use in our park system since the early 2000’s.

In lieu of pesticides, City Council funded an increased standard of maintenance for our sports fields to ensure our turf has a good chance of successfully competing with weeds. This approach (Integrated Pest Management(IPM)) includes aeration, fertilization, overseeding and, in many instances, irrigation. It is a resource-intensive approach which is showing positive results. While we are empathetic to home owners who are adjacent to parklands, this approach cannot be applied to hectare upon hectare of passive parklands in the City without a large and very significant on-going investment in machinery, staff and materials. Given the fiscal pressures we currently face to deliver core services to the residents of this community, I would be hard pressed to recommend to City Council that we pursue such action.

Staff continue to dialogue with our colleagues throughout the province on this issue, searching for an alternative means of controlling dandelions. Unfortunately, to date, we have not learned of anything that would be effective on a scale as large as our passive parklands. Our efforts will continue though.

In closing, the phenomenon you see in your neighbourhood park is representative of what is happening in passive parklands throughout the province. Many, including cities and individual home owners, are struggling to adapt to the removal of pesticides from the market place. The City is offering training to property owners on how to care for their lawns without chemicals. I would encourage you to visit our web site to learn more. Staff