[Pesticide Research Institute 04 Feb 2014] — Over the past fifteen years, the San Francisco Botanical Garden (SFBG) in Golden Gate Park has become a true model for chemical free weed management under the guidance of Bob Fiorello, a dedicated horticulturist and IPM professional. Using predominately non-chemical methods, Bob and his staff of eleven gardeners care for 55 acres of diverse plant communities representing over 8,000 different species from around the world. “When it comes to parks and pests, most of what we do is weed management” Bob explains while pointing out a new addition to the garden, a hillside featuring Mediterranean drought-resistant grasses and shrubs. “This area used to be all blackberries and ivy. We cut back the vegetation, used heavy machinery to clear it, and brought in new soil… volunteers helped dig out the blackberry roots the backhoe couldn’t reach. After two years the plants are settling in, and sheet mulching keeps the weeds down. If we had relied on herbicides to clear the hillside it would have taken multiple treatments and a considerable amount of product to achieve similar results…if we were lucky.” Using chemicals isn’t always a quick fix for a weed problem. “When we used to apply Roundup® it could take 2-3 weeks to work because of our cool, foggy climate. Often a new crop of weeds would grow up while we waited for the ones we sprayed to die.” The Botanical Garden’s adoption and commitment to chem-free practices resulted from concern over the health impacts of pesticide exposure and the need for better pest management solutions.