Chemical testing set to start at Forest Hill Cemetery

(WEAU) - It all started when neighbors of the cemetery began questioning the chemicals used on the grounds.

To some the Forest Hill cemetery is a resting place, but for others it’s a backyard where families enjoy going for walks and bike riding.

"We found out that the chemical they were using to spray the cemetery was 2, 4-D," said neighbor Erica Zerr.

Zerr says the herbicide used in the cemetery has been outlawed in several countries and therefore she was concerned, along with other neighbors.

"We just feel that with all the young families around in this neighborhood that spraying 2, 4-D and other dangerous chemicals isn't a good idea and its not healthy," said neighbor, Sara Zeug.

"Keeping our cemeteries tidy and well maintained has become more of a challenge," said Todd Chwala of the Parks and Forest Department.

But Chwala says the solution is using Quicksilver, a low risk herbicide along the boundary of Huebsch Boulevard.

"I’m hoping to see some real positive results using alternative cultural practices," said Chwala.

Located near the center of the cemetery will be another test plot.

The area will keep its grass 3 inches higher and use an iron based chemical to spot treat dandelions, called Fiesta.

Erica Zerr says the remaining part of the cemetery will be sprayed with a cocktail of Quicksilver, dish soap and a chemical called Cool Power.

"I'm really excited about the future and what it could possibly mean for turf management within the city," said Zerr.

Chwala says the dish soap is meant to help the chemicals stick to the dandelion and soak into the roots faster.

The chemical testing is tentatively set to begin on April 30.

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