Pesticide use at Kent State poses no harm

Tianyu Yang

Kent State’s use of pesticides has been found to pose no serious threat to the Kent campus community, despite periodic calls to the the university’s grounds department.

“Each year we get a couple calls to inquire as to whether they can safely sit on the grass,” said Heather White, manager of university facilities management.

Kent Campus’s application of “Weed-n-Feed” is contracted by Davey Tree, a landscape and lawn care company. The lawns maintain their green color through the “Weed-n-Feed” application once a year.

Granular “Weed–n-Feed” chemicals harm the environment. Quick-release fertilizers, commonly used in most “Weed-n-Feed” products, apply a quick and heavy dose of nutrients and a pesticide to the lawn. These are more likely to wash off when watered or after it rains.

In 2015, 8,410 pounds of fertilizer were applied to lawn and flowers on the main campus, with 60.5 gallon of Trimec Herbicides (weeds control) by Davey Tree.

All the dosages are tracked and monitored by the university’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

Dennis Baden, director of environmental health and safety, stated everything on campus has to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“We require they (grounds crew) maintain a safety data sheet for all the chemicals they use.” Baden said. “(By) doing so, (it) is an appropriate precaution in tracking chemical use.”

Once lawn pesticides are applied, the grounds department will flag the treated area for 24 hours to inform pedestrians.

White believes that there is no reason to be concerned about the application of pesticides on campus.

“Overall, this program works just fine for us, with minimal impact on the university.” he said.

Matthew Treen, groundskeeping supervisor, takes charge of chemical application of the lawn for general maintenance. Treen indicated that his crew takes deep consideration of herbicidal use and are licensed professionals.

“We have numerous talks each year to make sure that things are going to (be) applied at (the) correct rate, correct time and correct weather,” Treen said.

In order to reduce the usage of chemicals, the grounds crew utilizes other techniques, such as using mulch to suppress the weeds and keeping the grass length at around four inches to minimize weed growth. They are also use physical tools for some jobs.

“We try to use as many means as possible, besides chemicals,” Treen said.

Tianyu Yang is the construction, building and grounds reporter, contact him at [email protected].