America’s HomeTown not only catches up but surpasses weed control during the pandemic
It’s every weed’s dream: springtime sunshine, plenty of rain, and not a weed whacker or herbicide insight.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world this past spring and municipalities went into lockdown mode, all non-essential work ceased. In the Town of Plymouth, also known as “America’s Hometown”, that meant the spring clean-up and spraying of weeds that were poking up in the cracks of sidewalks, along city fence lines and around easements went untouched between April and June.
“By June, the weeds had a strong foothold already,” said Robert Birkenhead, Jr., highway foreman for the Town of Plymouth. “In addition, not everyone came back to work in June so we had a labor shortage on top of the backlog of work.”
50% Less Growth the Following Year
The town’s battle to catch up this year actually began during the summer of 2019, when Plymouth switched to EcoMIGHT, a naturally organic, non-toxic weedkiller. As a truly systemic herbicide, EcoMIGHT kills unwanted grass and weeds to the roots.
“We made the switch last year because we wanted an environmentally friendly herbicide that would be safer for our employees and our community,” Birkenhead said. “It has been extremely effective on our invasive weed growth including Japanese knotweed, poison ivy, wisteria and sumac. Most importantly, I’d say we have 50% less growth this year as a result of using EcoMIGHT last season,” Birkenhead said. “That’s 50% less headaches, 50% labor reduction, and 50% less product. It’s a game-changer.”
50% less growth this year as a result of using EcoMIGHT last season.
That’s 50% less headaches, 50% labor reduction, and 50% less product.
It’s a game-changer.”
Fewer Steps, Less Spraying
When the Town of Plymouth used conventional, glyphosate-based herbicides, they had a three-step process. First, the staff had to weed whack an area. Then, they had to spray the herbicide, and finally, they had to weed whack again. Often, this cycle needed to be repeated several weeks later.
“EcoMIGHT allows us to eliminate a great deal of weed whacking,” Birkenhead explained. “Because the product works through the leaves down into the roots, we don’t have to do the initial weed whacking. RoundUp would leave stalks of dead vegetation, which still needed to be cut and removed. EcoMIGHT kills the weeds and they seem to just flake away and disappear. That eliminates the weed whacking on the back end.”
“It has been extremely effective on our invasive weed growth including Japanese knotweed, poison ivy, wisteria and sumac.”
As a result, Birkenhead said the town has been able to reduce emissions as well as the wear-and-tear on their weed-whacking equipment. In addition, Plymouth is also finding that areas do not need to be treated as frequently, which frees up labor, product and resources to do more with less.
Expanding Reach of Services
Amazingly, the Town of Plymouth was able to not only catch up on a 60-day backlog of unwanted plant growth but also had the resources to expand its reach to tackle weeds on side streets, gutter lines, and parking areas that have never been addressed before.
“Even with the reduced labor as a result of COVID-19, we were still able to do more with less,” Birkenhead said. “We’ve cut our labor time by half because we don’t need to weed whack and can spray less frequently. After completing four to six miles of main city sidewalks, easements, and pedestrian areas, we were able to move to the side streets in the internal part of town.
We have been able to spray dozens of side streets that were never done before, including recovering an old-fashioned brick sidewalk that was completely overgrown.”
Finding a herbicide that is both safe and effective has been a challenge for municipalities around the country. After one year of using EcoMIGHT, the Town of Plymouth has reaped many benefits. In the midst of a global pandemic, the product has played a significant role in helping the town maintain and improve its public infrastructure and landscape in a safe, effective, and efficient manner. And even with a head start this spring, the weeds lost the battle in the end.
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