Pesticide Reduction Program

The Boise Parks and Recreation Department manages more than 1,600 acres of park land, and more than 5,000 acres of open space across the City of Boise. To promote sustainable practices and stay on the cutting edge of public land management, in 2020 the department embarked on a multi-year pilot program to study alternative land management techniques to reduce the use of pesticides on city-owned property.

“We believe we can continue to move the needle in reducing the amount of pesticides we use,” said Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway. “We are committed to innovating and trying new things and want to use this program to gather useful data on park maintenance strategies that can inform the next update to our pest management plan city-wide.”

For more information on the pilot program and application activities please consult the annual Pesticide Application Reports below:

New in 2022

  • Watch a presentation on the pilot program and next steps from the February, 1 2022 Boise City Council work session (presentation starts at minute 27 of the video)
  • Boise Parks and Recreation plans to further reduce annual applications of broadleaf selective herbicides to sites without sports fields or large events. This will include the majority of our parks in our system.
  • Neonicotinoid insecticides have been eliminated from use for turfed areas in response to the latest direction from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Cosmetic uses (spraying of tree wells) of glyphosate-based herbicides will be further curtailed at park sites. This will include the majority of our parks in our system.
  • Any parks not listed below will not be treated for broadleaf or have sprayed tree wells in 2022.

Parks with No Changes

  • Ann Morrison Park
  • Boise Depot/Platt Gardens
  • Camel's Back Park
  • Cecil D. Andrus Park
  • Cherie Buckner-Webb Park
  • Esther Simplot Park
  • Fort Boise Park
  • Julia Davis Park
  • Kathryn Albertson Park
  • Kristin Armstrong Municipal Park
  • Marianne Williams Park
  • Optimist Youth Sports Complex
  • Simplot Sports Complex
  • Veterans Memorial Park
  • Willow Lane Athletic Complex

Parks Where Only Sports Fields Being Treated

  • Cassia Park
  • Charles F. McDevitt Youth Sports Complex
  • Hillside Park
  • Hobble Creek Park
  • Ivywild Park
  • Liberty Park
  • Milwaukee Park
  • Molenaar Park
  • Shoshone Park
  • Sunset Park
  • Winstead Park

What to Expect

In 2022, we will maintain treatments for dandelions at sites with special events and sports complexes. All other sites will not have broadcast application of pesticides for common turf weeds.

Treatments help control the population of dandelions at our park sites, but keep in mind that the Common Dandelion is one of the few endemic turf weeds that is native to North America. It is beneficial to the local ecosystem providing food and habitat to native pollinators and adding to the biodiversity of our green spaces.

Boise Parks and Recreation does not seek to eradicate dandelions from our sites. We only try to manage the number and density of plants to maintain usable and aesthetically pleasing turf areas.

We will be employing cultural methods to reduce populations (i.e. mowing, fertilizing, aerating, etc.).

Grass with dandelions in Ann Morrison Park in late April
Ann Morrison Park Turf Area 4/25/2022
Up close photo of grass with dandelions and other weeds in Ann Morrison Park in late April
Ann Morrison Park Turf Area (Zoomed In) 4/25/2022

Original Pilot Sites and Site Details

Other Locations:

  • Bethine Church River Trail (East End)
  • Garden Beds at Boise City Hall (150 N. Capitol Blvd.) and Fort Boise Community Center (700 Robbins Rd.)
  • The Pioneer Pathway (Myrtle St. to Grand Ave.)
  • Pollinator Gardens at Warm Springs Park (250 S. Marden St.) and Terry Day Park (1225 S. Federal Way)
  • Trevor’s Trek Cancer Memorial Plaza in Julia Davis Park (700 S. Capitol Blvd.)
  • Whitewater Park Blvd. Right-of-Way

Map of all locations 


Let us know how you think the program is going! Take a picture and share it with us.

Citizen Engagement

The department hosted two public meetings to provide information to citizens about its current weed and pest management practices, discuss the goals of the program and to discuss park and facility locations that met the criteria for potential inclusion in the program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Us

For questions or concerns about current pest management practices or future goals, please feel free to contact the staff below:

Clint Stevens
Horticulture Division Manager
Boise Parks and Recreation Department
(208) 608-7773

Daniel Roop
Sustainability Specialist
Boise Parks and Recreation Department
(208) 608-7611

Martha Brabec
Foothills Restoration Specialist
Boise Parks and Recreation Department
(208) 493-2535

Sun and grass

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices reduce the spread of undesirable plants, insects, bacteria or other organisms that have a negative impact on our landscape or human health. An IPM program utilizes different tools to control pests in ways that are least impactful to the environment and most effective for getting rid of specific pests. These tools may include the application of a targeted pesticide or shifting management practices to help reduce the likelihood of pest establishment on city property.

The City of Boise Parks and Recreation Department first started using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices in 1995.  The department most recently updated its guidelines to improve these efforts in 2016.

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