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Alternative methods effective in killing weeds, Burbank officials say

Johnny Carson Park in Burbank on Tuesday, February 12, 2013.
The Burbank Parks and Recreation Department has been experimenting with different ways to treat weeds in city parks without using Roundup.
(File Photo)

The Burbank Parks and Recreation Department is finding alternative ways to get rid of weeds without resorting to herbicides like Roundup.

Michael De Campo, the city’s landscape and forestry services superintendent, updated the City Council on Tuesday about the department’s efforts to use safer weed-abatement products and methods to rid weeds from city parks.

Del Campo said lacking the ability to use glyphosate-containing products hasn’t been an issue for the parks department, adding that alternative organic products and manually picking the weeds has kept city facilities weed-free.

He said Dig Burbank — a weekly volunteer program where community members help pull weeds at various city parks — has played a significant role in keeping weeds at bay.

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“If it wasn’t for them, we would not be as successful as we have been,” Del Campo said of the volunteers. “They have gone over and above.”

When it comes to the weeds growing along the warning track of the baseball fields on city property, Del Campo said the parks staff has focused on using organic herbicides and mechanical tools to get the job done.

The department also tested the use of a foamstream machine from the company Weedingtech. It’s a device that uses hot water and a biodegradable foam that kills weeds.

Del Campo said the device, which costs about $65,000, was highly effective and deterred weed growth for about four months.

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While council members were hesitant to purchase a foamstream machine for the city, Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy asked Del Campo to reach out to neighboring communities to see if they would be interested in sharing the equipment.

Since 2017, Burbank’s parks department has banned the use of herbicides that contain glyphosate, a chemical that was recently listed on the state’s Proposition 65 list of known carcinogens.

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