Edmonton

Edmonton parkland drowning in a sea of yellow

An explosion of dandelions has brought a yellow hue to parkland in Edmonton.

Wet spring combined with sudden heat created ideal growing conditions for dandelions

Parkland around the Argyll velodrome in south Edmonton is carpeted in dandelions. (Lydia Neufeld/CBC)

An explosion of dandelions has brought a yellow hue to parkland in Edmonton.

This year, a wet spring combined with sudden heat created the ideal growing conditions for dandelions to thrive, said Maurice Pelletier, turf team leader with city parks.

"The weed out competes the turf for the nutrients," Pelletier said Monday. "It has a longer tap root."

Dandelions are a part of Edmonton's natural landscape.- Maurice Pelletier, city parks

The city tends to get complaints about dandelions from residents every year around this time, he said.

"Citizens need to understand that dandelions are part of Edmonton's natural landscape and their presence peaks through the May and June months," Pelletier said.

The city moved away from spraying dandelions in June 2015, when council passed a herbicide ban on city-owned land, with exemptions. Now only about two per cent of grass is treated with herbicide, Pelletier said.

Coun. Ben Henderson said only one complaint about dandelions has been filed with his office this spring.

He's not interested in bringing back herbicide to deal with the problem, saying it's more about weather conditions.

"I don't think it would make a difference," he said. 

Spraying replaced by mowing

The city now uses mowing to reduce the dandelion population and that's where Henderson would like to see efforts continue.

"I'd much prefer to use the money keeping them mown down," he said.

The city tries to mow dandelions before they go to seed to reduce spreading, Pelletier said.
A sports field south of the Argyll velodrome, beside 88 Street and 76 Avenue, is covered in dandelions. (Lydia Neufeld/CBC)

Every available piece of equipment is being used to mow, with staff working extra hours and on the weekends.

The city began mowing on May 19 and crews are still completing the first mowing cycle in many locations, Pelletier said.

While mowing is behind schedule, the hope is to get back on track by next week, he added.

Parks are supposed to be mowed every five to 10 days during peak dandelion season.

Crews are primarily using large equipment right now to cover the largest area possible, with trimming crews reallocated to large-scale mowing, Pelletier said.

An extra mowing cycle will be completed in June that will focus on sites such as storm water lakes and along roadways, where dandelions tend to thrive, he said.
The city tries to mow dandelions before they go to seed to reduce spreading. (John Robertson/CBC)