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Although it may not seem like it after this weekend's snowfall, Spring is just around the corner and communities are busy preparing their weed and pest control programs for the 2018 season.

Shawn Dias is the Parks and Urban Forestry Manager for the City of Morden. He said the City's plan is to once again use the product Fiesta to control broadleaf weeds throughout the community as part of its commitment to apply environmentally friendly products in public areas in keeping with the province's non-essential pesticide regulations.

He explained this will be the third year that the City has used Fiesta, an iron-based product, and said they are starting to see some results, particularly with regards to dandelion control.

"It's really difficult to eradicate dandelions but defiantly we've noticed some reduction in populations numbers with the longer-term use of that Fiesta product. We've been applying it twice per season for the last three seasons."

Dias added, however, the downside to using this particular contact herbicide is a higher price tag. He noted the cost of the City's weed and pest control program has jumped about ten-fold.

"It's a contact herbicide so it takes a little bit longer to deplete the top plant growth and reduce the vigour in the root system, and those products are typically more expensive."

Dias said the City of Morden will also be relying on its Integrated Pest Management Plan to control weeds and other pests in public areas this spring and summer. According to the City's website, the IPM will include preventative, mechanical, and biological controls over the use of chemicals for pest prevention, treatment, and management.

Dias explained an example of where this plan would be used would be at the local baseball diamonds.

"We would have irrigation, aeration, over-seeding, spring and fall fertilization, and mowing. So those are definitely things that we've put in place to keep the turf healthy with helps to reduce the broadleaf weed species there."

He said if crews can apply these measures early, the chemical controls become the last resort.

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