Allowable Herbicides for Schools & Day Care Centers
Jenny Kao-Kniffin (firstname.lastname@example.org), Dept. of Horticulture, Cornell University, Sept. 2011
Under NYS Law Chapter 85, Laws of 2010 (Child Safe Playing Fields Law), all schools and day
care centers must comply with restrictions on pesticide use. The law restricts use of pesticides
to products containing active ingredients listed as exempt under 25(b) of the Federal Insecticide,
Fungicide, & Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The pesticides must also include inert ingredients that
are eligible under 4a of the 25(b) FIFRA exemption. Pesticides containing any active or inert
ingredients not listed under the exemption and eligibility criteria of 25(b) FIFRA must receive
one-time emergency application approval from appropriate channels.
The post-emergence herbicides that qualify under the EPA exemption of 25(b) FIFRA work
primarily as defoliants that knock down the leaf and stem tissues of plants in contact with the
herbicide. For perennials, roots and rhizomes are generally able to regrow in several weeks,
requiring two to three applications in a season.
The only pre-emergent herbicide with EPA exemption status is corn gluten meal (CGM). CGM
must be applied in early spring before weed seeds emerge. In the spring, CGM should be
applied when the crocus flowers are in bloom and before forsythia shrub blossoms emerge.
Many annual weed seeds germinate when soil temperatures reach 55 degrees F--the same
temperature that triggers flowering of forsythia shrubs. Be aware that adding the recommended