News Flash

City News

Posted on: May 13, 2021

Parks Department Prepares to Treat Limited Browntail Moth Infestation in Deering Oaks Park Next Week

Parks and Recreation

After a survey of the trees within Deering Oaks Park found that a majority have Browntail Moth nests, the City’s Parks, Recreation & Facilities Department will be treating the infested trees with an organic insecticide through ground spraying/misting into the canopy during the first part of the week of May 17, 2021. During the time of actual treatment and for four hours following application, the City will close the park to all guests. The application will be directed at each tree canopy during early morning hours (prior to 8:00 AM). Police, Park Rangers and proper signage will be placed around all entrances during this closure.

It is imperative to treat the trees now because of the public health risks associated with Browntail moths’ poisonous hairs, and because the moths can harm and even kill the trees over a couple of seasons. The organic insecticide treatment aligns with leaf-out, which is necessary to minimize defoliation and prevent the caterpillars from molting and releasing their hairs into the air.

The City Council held a workshop on this issue back on February 10, 2021. The Parks, Recreation & Facilities Department shared the following information at that time, including this presentation

Farmers’ Market Relocation
The City has worked to relocate the Portland Farmers’ Market to Payson Park. Starting May 19, residents can find the market in Payson Park. The market will continue to operate out of Payson Park through June 26.  

Tree Survey
The tree survey was conducted in conjunction with the Maine Forest Service. Of the 316 trees surveyed, 313 had Browntail moth nests on them. Three heritage oaks recorded over 1,000 nests each, two oaks had between 500 and 1,000 nests, 23 oaks had between 100 and 500 nests and 285 oaks ranged from one to 100 nests across their canopy. 

Per the City’s Pesticide Use Ordinance, Chapter 34-5 Subsection D, this treatment plan is exempt and will not require a waiver.

For more information on browntail moths, visit:  Maine Forest Service & Maine CDC.


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