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Pesticide-Free Parks

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Park Fountain



In April 2015, the City of Evanston announced the first pesticide-free parks pilot program with Adopt-a-Park partner and local business, Greenwise Organic Lawn Care, and Midwest Grows Green partner, Midwest Pesticide Action Center. Signs are posted in each of the five participating parks, which are listed below, that say they are "Pesticide Free Parks."




 Participating Parks

  • Ackerman Park

  • Perry Park

  • Burnham Shores Park

  • Trahan Park

  • Eiden Park

Management Practices

Instead of using pesticide treatments, the City will work with alternative weed control methods, such as mowing high to increase root strength and naturally shade out weeds, in addition to improving soil health for natural weed resistance.

The overuse and misuse of pesticides is a significant reason why chemicals find their way into the region’s lakes, rivers, and streams. Evanston’s pesticide-free parks pilot program will mark the 5th anniversary of the City’s Pesticide Reduction Policy, which solidified Evanston’s commitment to protect the health of families and the environment by significantly decreasing the application of pesticides in public spaces.

Natural Lawn Care Tips

  • Water 1" Per Week: Water deeply no more than once a week. This practice encourages deep root growth. To measure, place an empty tuna or water chestnut can in your yard while watering. When your sprinkler fills it, your watering for the week is done. Water early in the morning to minimize disease problems.

  • Mow 3" High: Keep your lawn cut at three inches or higher to increase root strength and naturally shade out weeds. Don’t mow your lawn unless it needs it.

  • Use Organic Fertilizers: Synthetic fertilizers easily wash away and pollute nearby lakes and streams. Many contain toxic weed killers. Choose an organic fertilizer like compost or alfalfa meal to capture and deliver nutrients in the lawn throughout the growing season. Take a soil test to know exactly what nutrients your lawn needs. Mulch and keep grass clippings on the lawn for an extra boost.

  • Choose Native and Diverse Plants: Plants that are suited to Illinois's climate and require less watering and maintenance. These plants provide habitats for local birds, animals, and pollinators. Additionally, large enough networks of native plants can act as migration corridors. Instead of using turf grass, consider planting native grasses, bushes, and perennials.

  • Consider a Natural Lawn Care Provider: If you aren't going to be doing work in your lawn, consider hiring a lawn care provider that uses sustainable practices. Alternatively, try working with a current provider on integrating sustainable practices on your lawn.  

  • Reseed and Top Dress: Reseed once a year in the spring or fall using a mix of compost and grass seed to naturally replenish your lawn. Water slightly each day for at least two weeks to establish the seed.

  • Proper lawn care maintenance naturally eliminates most weeds. Avoid using synthetic herbicides and pesticides, as they can harm other beneficial living things such as bees, birds, butterflies and fish. The right tool makes quick work of weeding. After pulling weeds, use grass seed mixed with topsoil to fill in the hole.

There are many actions you can take to reduce pesticide use outside your home, inside your home, and in your community. Visit the Midwest Pesticide Action Center website for more resources. 


Return to the Sustainable Infrastructure page.