Though some of New Canaan’s playing fields—specifically, those located on school grounds—may see more bare patches, ruts and uneven surfaces as a result of a pesticide ban, the fields themselves are safe, parks officials say.
John Howe, parks superintendent with the New Canaan Department of Public Works, said it’s true that not using pesticides allows crabgrass and clover to grow, and leaves grubs to eat roots, meaning “the fields could be less safe.”
Yet “I do not feel we have any fields that are unsafe, whether they have pesticides or not,” Howe said during the regular Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday morning, held in the Training Room at the New Canaan Police Department.
The comments came as the board approved a total of about $47,000 for the purchase and application of grass treatment products for New Canaan’s athletic fields.
State law prohibits the use of pesticides on school grounds from pre-K through eighth grade. New Canaan about five years ago, led by a subcommittee on the Town Council, extended the pesticide ban to include the high school. In New Canaan, not all youth or high school sports are played on Board of Education properties specifically—athletes also compete on fields at Mead, Conner and Waveny, for example.
During the meeting, Selectman Nick Williams, saying he had fielded concerns from some parents and wanted to get as much information for them as possible, put questions to Howe on just how New Canaan uses pesticides on athletic fields not located on school grounds.
Howe said the town at fields such as Conner applies pesticides twice: once for post-emerging crabgrass and weed control, and then insecticide for grubs.