Integrated Pest Management

Pesticide-Free Park signage
The City of Dubuque developed an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program to help us reduce chemical use in our outdoor spaces and facilities, part of an overall effort to create a more Sustainable Dubuque. Implementation of the IPM program is an ongoing process, and staff continue to explore the most effective and least toxic method for controlling pests. 

Pesticide Use in City Parks

The Leisure Services department continues to work to implement an IPM program in City parks. Employees have set aside areas where pesticide use is restricted, improved park design to limit future need to use pesticides, and have identified best practices in park maintenance to minimize pesticide use. 

As a result of using less pesticide in these areas, weeds such as dandelions may be apparent for a short time each spring. Remember that these dandelions are a sign of our Integrated Pest Management program at work and an indication of a healthy and safe environment for you and your family.

The City has designated a number of Pesticide-Free Parks. These parks were chosen because they are located throughout the Dubuque community, giving all residents access to pesticide-free areas, and because they consist of landscapes that can be managed without the use of chemicals. 

No chemicals are used to manage the landscape in these parks. Instead, staff created maintenance-friendly landscapes that reduce the need for weed management and employ mechanical techniques such as mulching, mowing, or hand-wedding to manage weeds.

Because techniques like weeding and mulching are more labor-intensive and expensive, volunteers may be enlisted to help. If it becomes necessary to apply pesticides at a Pesticide Free Park due to a public health or safety threat, the site will be clearly posted before, during, and after the application to notify users of the situation.

Although pesticide use has been greatly reduced, pesticides are used when necessary to manage noxious and invasive weeds as well as pest infestations near higher-use areas.

Click to enlarge map of pesticide-free parks

Pesticide-Free Parks
With over 2,300 acres of parks and open space to maintain, pesticides are used at times as a cost-effective method to steward the public land. You may sign up to receive notifications about when and where chemical treatment of parks is occurring. Click here and choose "Pesticide Application Notification."

​Information for Residents & Businesses

Reducing pesticide use on your own land is an important part of improving water and soil quality, and supporting biodiversity in an urban environment.  Our partners at Good Neighbor Iowa have provided these resources from the Midwest Pesticide Action Center to answer some of the common questions about how to manage a lawn with fewer or no harmful chemicals: