More public parks, green spaces designated 'Pesticide Free Zones' in Elgin

Elgin has designated eight more parks and green spaces as “Pesticide Free Zones,” opting for natural lawn care management.

The city has now stopped using synthetic pesticide applications on over 26 acres of parkland and green space citywide. A site map is available at

“We are always looking for opportunities to offer sustainable land management practices that limit or eliminate any herbicide-related chemical exposure while still maintaining weed control and aesthetic quality in our high-visibility areas,” said Greg Hulke, parks and facilities superintendent. “This year, we identified eight new sites to designate as Pesticide Free Zones, thanks to staff's collaboration with the Elgin Sustainability Commission and nonprofit sustainable landscaping initiative Midwest Grows Green.”

Elgin developed a three-year management plan with Midwest Grows Green in 2021 for a three-acre turf grass area at Lords Park, which now refrains from using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

The eight new sites designated as Pesticide Free Zones are Corley Drive Park, Marie Grolich Park, Kirk and Kramer Park, Randall Ridge Park, Summerhill Park, Trillium Park, Willow Creek Park and the Congdon and Blackhawk water tower site. Those sites join the area at Lords Park, Central Park, the old library lot near Kimball Street and Grove Avenue and Douglass Park as being maintained without the use of synthetic pesticides.

To disrupt the life cycle of pests and weeds, Midwest Grows Green suggests:

• Watering deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth, aiming for one inch per week.

• Mow your grass high (about three inches) to increase root strength and shade out weeds.

• Use organic fertilizer to deliver nutrients to the lawn throughout the growing season. Commercial fertilizers can wash away, polluting nearby lakes and streams.

• Avoid using pesticides and instead pull weeds manually, filling the hole with soil and grass seed.

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