Published: July 7, 2010

City of Boulder news release

The City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department and University of Colorado at Boulder are participating in a workshop on natural turf management this week. The workshop is being taught by Chip Osborne, one of the nation's leading experts on natural turf management. This training is part of an effort by the university and the city to enhance the quality of turf while continuing to use no or very little herbicides for weed control.

Staff from the city and CU will learn about the Osborne Organics' "Systems Approach to Natural Turf Management," which focuses on details of organic pest control.

"The knowledge we gain from this training could help the city and CU continue to reduce the amount of chemical pesticides used on public property, while improving the quality and playability of our parks and athletic field turf," said City of Boulder Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Coordinator, Rella Abernathy.

In addition to the workshop, staff from CU and the city will participate in "field days" where Osborne will join them at selected locations to help with site-specific management strategies.

"Throughout much of the campus, we've already implemented the use of an organic fertilizer manufactured by Richlawn -- made of dry poultry waste, sea kelp and molasses -- and we are eager to work with the city to explore other non-chemical options," said John Morris, CU director of facilities operations. "This partnership and training is really to continue to address what we've heard from CU students and Boulder community members, who've expressed their strong support of natural solutions to turf management."

Non-chemical methods also are the core of the City of Boulder's pest (including weeds) management strategies. The City of Boulder's IPM policy*, which has been in place since 1993 (and was updated in 2002), focuses on reducing chemical methods of pest and weed control on city-owned lands by only allowing a limited number of pesticides to be used once other methods have proven either not plausible or ineffective.

"While the city already strives to use as few chemical treatments on our property as possible, we are hopeful that this workshop will introduce us to new tools for weed and turf management that are effective, safe for the environment and work within city staffing and budget constraints," said Abernathy.

This training is not open to the public.

* The City of Boulder IPM Policy only applies to city-owned property.