Integrated Pest Management

A bridge in a Las Cruces parkWeeds are a problem in many of the landscapes managed by Parks and Recreation. If left uncontrolled, noxious weeds such as Russian thistle (tumbleweed), London rocket (annual winter broadleaf), and Tamarix sp (Saltcedar) can take over a once beautiful landscape. 

To effectively manage weeds and minimizing risks to people, Parks and Recreation is utilized the process known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Management Approaches

IPM combines management approaches for greater effectiveness in control pest species. The approaches can be grouped as follows:

  • Biological Control - using natural enemies to control the pest, such as using saltcedar leaf beetle to manage saltcedar
  • Cultural controls - proper mowing, irrigation, fertilization and aeration are examples for turf management
  • Mechanical and physical controls - pulling and hoeing weeds is an example, as is the use of mulch for weed control
  • Chemical control - use only the most selective product and applied in a way that minimizes harm to people, non-target species, and the environment

Staff responsible for maintaining the parks and landscapes in the City of Las Cruces utilize all the above approaches. We have a turf management program that emphasizes good cultural management practices - regularly scheduled mowing, aerating, fertilizing, and proper irrigation. Mechanical and physicals controls are also used. For example, decorative landscapes in parks and medians are mulched with gravel to reduce the amount of weed seeds that germinate.

Testing New Products

Parks and Recreation is also testing new products that can help control problem weeds. This year we have tested the following products to determine how effective these products are in weed management:

  • Avenger (chemical control)
  • Pucturevine Weevils (biological control)
  • Red Dragon Vapor Torches (mechanical control)