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Organic Herbicides
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Organic Herbicide Use

Organic Herbicide Use

Minneapolis Public Schools has made great strides in reducing the use of chemicals in our grounds maintenance and we continue to move towards organic herbicide practices. 

In 2017, led by Environmental Health & Safety, MPS convened a Pesticide Advisory Committee to review chemical usage in grounds and pest management and to support the transition to chemical free alternatives. The committee found that MPS used chemical products in the pest control program, spot weed control and in sports field maintenance. Recommendations were created to address these three areas. 

Based on a recommendation of the committee, MPS custodians have put into practice the use of vinegar for spot weed control and the MPS Grounds department has transitioned to using steam for weed control along fence lines. In the past, chemical weed killers were used for these purposes. 

Improvements have been made to MPS' pest control through an introduction and adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM).  IPM is an approach to pest control that emphasizes using a balanced combination of methods while using chemical pesticides as the last resort.  Methods used include eliminating food sources and harborage locations, maintaining buildings to prevent the introduction of pests, practicing good sanitation procedures, inspections, mechanical traps and the use of botanical deterrents.  This program has virtually eliminated the use of chemical pesticides districtwide. 

MPS is piloting a program at Franklin Elementary school to use organic methods to maintain their sports field. This is the final area of focus in our efforts to transition away from the use of chemicals in Grounds and Pest Maintenance. Currently, Minneapolis Public Schools contracts with a licensed company to perform chemical fertilization and weed control on our fenced sports fields only (not on school grounds). The non-organic products they use are as follows: Escalade2 Herbicide, Arena 0.25 Insecticide, Trugreen Fertilizer Solution and 2505 Fertilizer. The Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for these products are available by contacting EH&S.

This pilot program will address chemical usage in our sport field maintenance program and once completed, replace the need for contracted chemical lawn service.  MPS hopes to learn from this pilot program so we may identify and implement needed processes to reach our goal of a chemical free MPS.