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Communes in Nièvre, France Weeding Chemicals Out of Land...

Communes in Nièvre, France Weeding Chemicals Out of Landscaping Process

During the course of half a day, representatives of communes in Nièvre, France worked to create a common landscape architecture and weeding plan. The first portions outlined came from some of the City of Clamecy’s previous experiences. During 2008, Clamecy notably became involved in a zero-pesticide plan. Clamecy is a part of the group of

View looking across bridge and river in Clamecy, France

During the course of half a day, representatives of communes in Nièvre, France worked to create a common landscape architecture and weeding plan. The first portions outlined came from some of the City of Clamecy’s previous experiences.

During 2008, Clamecy notably became involved in a zero-pesticide plan. Clamecy is a part of the group of communes in the Burgundy region with a positive energy label. Additionally, the commune of Brinon-sur-Beuvron has been engaged in a move towards zero pesticides since 2012.

Today, in addition to working to construct the overall contract, these regional players are invited to engage in acts related to sustainable development. The goal? To move towards eliminating chemical weeding products in city landscaping. And why not start by creating a weeding plan, led by several communes with existing plans; enabling the communes to lower their costs too.

Completed Thermal Weeding in Lille, France leaves chunks of weeds scattered around base of tree trunk

In order to better understand, nothing beats a demonstration using the tools of the trade. The landscape architecture team of Clamecy brought out all sorts of tools for officials to try in the parking lot of the multi-purpose hall. We spoke with Marc Chardonnet, who is in charge of the service.

First, thermal weeders (the effects of which are shown above) were abandoned, having been deemed not particularly effective. “We stopped using them for pollution reasons; there is a lot of gas emitted and the users are affected by this. We essentially didn’t use them last season,” indicated Marc Chardonnet. "Their cost was also a factor."

The city has more or less moved to the side of mechanical weed cutting, with the help of tools such as a brush cutter, a reciprocator, or a tractor with a rotary harrow. But don’t worry—the idea is not to eradicate every slight trace of grass.

A Massey Ferguson 7465 tractor fitted with a Dücker "branch and hedge cutter" at the front. Photo Credit to DerHexer, Wikimedia Commons, CC-by-sa 4.0

“If there is grass, it isn’t unsightly. We can limit it, but we can’t completely get rid of it. We cannot seek to shave the earth bald,” continues Marc Chardonnet. A little bit of grass growing seems to be well accepted by today’s citizens.

The City, therefore, tends more and more towards better phytosanitary measures. The cemetery, however, is still treated with chemical weeding products. “It is difficult to do landscape work there due to its configuration, with the tombs being so close to one another.”

A successful experience from which other communes involved with the global water contract can learn. “Everyone needs to bring their stone to the wall so there's an improvement in our region’s water quality,” remarks a representative of the Water Agency of Seine-Normandy, the organization that launched the creation of the communes’ regional contract.

What sustainable landscaping or water purification methods has your community employed? Have there been any efforts on the regional scale?

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Image 3 by DerHexer, Wikimedia Commons, CC-by-sa 4.0. Images 1, 2, and data linked to sources.

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Katelyn Hewett recently graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French. During her time at St. Olaf, she enjoyed playing the French Horn in the St. Olaf Band, working as a teaching assistant for first-year...

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