Dexter Community Garden Found with Leaves of Three

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By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter

In an effort to avoid letting green thumbs get red and itchy, the City of Dexter has cancelled its Community Garden for this year.

Dexter's DPW staff discovered poison ivy the hard way in prepping the garden's new location with plowing and installation of the waterline. All four workers came into contact with the poison ivy, with two having significant exposure that needed medical attention. The troublesome vine had thrived in the vacant lot on Dan Hoey Road. The tilling and digging had broken the vines up into pieces and scattered poison ivy throughout the garden.

"We’ve got two different things going on,” DPW Director Dan Schlaff told the City Council at its May 24 meeting. “We’ve got a field full of it, and then we’ve got it all cut up in the garden.”

The City is exploring all options, including the use of a long-term herbicide and replacing the topsoil. Quotes for removing and replacing the topsoil are $17,140 and $21,000.

“We made a few more phone calls, one to true green one to poison ivy control of Michigan,” DPW Director Dan Schlaff told the City Council. “We're still trying to work through the details on what's going be most effective and the best call for the city garden. I'm hoping by next council meeting that we can have some good answers back on that.”

“Not only do I want some kind of assurance that it's going to be out of the garden whatever we do, but I want to make sure that whatever they put on the garden is going to be gone by next year,” Schlaff adds.

Meanwhile, the community gardeners will have to find another place to green their thumbs this summer while the City figures this out.

“Based on the feedback that we've gotten from some of the gardeners, they are comfortable with the garden not opening this year, allowing us to do some treatments and hopefully be back in the swing of things next year,” said Interim City Manager Justin Breyer.

Photo credit: Lonnie Huhman

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