City Cast

3 Questions about Weeds in Boise Parks

Blake Hunter
Blake Hunter
Posted on June 22   |   Updated on July 5
Reducing pesticide use reduces hazards for pollinators who help all sorts of species. (Gerwyn Davies / Getty)

Reducing pesticide use reduces hazards for pollinators who help all sorts of species. (Gerwyn Davies / Getty)

Boise’s first Dandelion Festival is this weekend! To prepare, City Cast Boise host Emma Arnold talked about her favorite flower with Sara Arkle from Boise Parks & Recreation. They got into what you can expect at the festival this weekend, and how the city has reduced pesticide use by 50% in just a few years.

Q: There are a lot of festivals competing for attention in the summertime — what can people expect if they go this weekend?

A: We are so excited to do this inaugural event to celebrate what has been and is still considered a weed in this community: the dandelion. On June 24, from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. at Cassia Park, we’re hosting a community-wide event where folks can learn about dandelions, pollinators, listen to some music, and also experience a very special brew that Woodland Alehouse is brewing for us, both a beer and a root beer that includes dandelions.

Q: What’s the goal of moving away from pesticide use in Boise parks?

A: It’s a combination of providing a user experience that people want and then also meeting some of our healthy ecosystem goals, providing pollinator habitat. We’re putting pollinator gardens in a lot of our new parks and this is all based on demand from the public. So looking at that effort holistically meant also providing habitats that are safe and healthy for pollinators.

Q: What are the benefits of keeping dandelions in parks?

A: An entire lawn full of dandelions might not be what you want aesthetically, but it’s OK to have some different types of broad-leaf, flowering plants. It almost looks like a natural meadow. The reason dandelions are so noticed is that they bloom so early. And so they do provide an early source of food for our pollinators, and a consistent source.

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