Safe Grow

Safe Grow FAQ

The Safe Grow law restricts the use of cosmetic lawn pesticides on both private and public property throughout Takoma Park.
What is considered a “lawn”?
“Lawn” means an area of grass or other vegetation of at least 25 square feet that is kept mowed.  
When does the law go into effect?
The Law became effective for commercial applicators on March 1, 2014. For private residents the law is effective as of January 1, 2015. After July 1, 2015, the City can enforce the law with a municipal infraction citation and fine for violations by private residents.
What are restricted pesticides? 
The list is available at: Restricted Pesticide
What pesticides are not included in the pesticide ban? 
Cockroach, mosquitos sprays and baits
Insect repellents for personal and household use
Rat and other rodent poisons.
Flea and tick sprays, powders, and pet collars
Kitchen, laundry, and bath disinfectants and sanitizers
Products that kill mold and mildew
Some swimming pool chemicals
Pesticide application is allowed for the following purposes:
1. Treatment to kill noxious growths - poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, ragweed, bamboo, kudzu‐vine, non‐native honeysuckle, wisteria, and multi flora rose.
2. Treatment to kill noxious weeds – thistles including Canada, musk, nodding, plumeless, and bull thistle, johnsongrass or hybrids that contain johnsongrass as a parent, shatter cane and wild cane.  
3. Treatment for invasive species determined to be detrimental to the environment, in accordance with a license issued by the City of Takoma Park or Montgomery County.
 4. Use of pesticides mandated by state or federal law. 
5. Treatment to control insects that are venomous or disease carrying.
How do I report a possible violation?
The Public Works Department is responsible for education and enforcement of the law. If you believe pesticides are being applied on a lawn in violation of the City law, you can contact Public Works at 301-891-7633 or make a report online If possible, it is helpful to take a photo of the property and of the yellow pesticide warning flag, if it is posted. If the pesticide is being applied by a commercial applicator, please note the company name.  
What are the penalties for violation?
An application of restricted pesticide carries a fine of $100 for the first offense and a $400 fine for repeat offenses.

About Safe Grow

On July 22, 2013, the Takoma Park City Council unanimously passed the Safe Grow Act of 2013 (PDF), which generally restricts the use of cosmetic lawn pesticides on both private and public property throughout Takoma Park. This is the first time that a local jurisdiction of this size has used its authority to restrict pesticide use broadly on private and public property, exercising its responsibility to protect the health and welfare of its residents through its local government. The law fits into the City’s strategic plan to lead community efforts in environmental sustainability, protection and restoration, and secures Takoma Park’s role as a leader in sustainability in the state of Maryland and the nation. This landmark legislation will protect residents of Takoma Park from involuntary poisoning, reduce the poisoning of pets and wildlife, and protect the watershed from harm posed by pesticides used to maintain the cosmetic appearance of lawns. The Safe Grow Act of 2013 establishes public education requirements and phases in restrictions of harmful pesticides for lawn care on public and private property within the City.

Important Information to Commercial Pesticide Applicators

Beginning March 1, 2014, this law makes it illegal for a commercial pesticide applicator to apply a restricted pesticide for lawn care purposes on private property or public rights-of-way in the City. To learn more, please review the pdf below:


All property owners or commercial applicators must correctly fill and post a notice to verify that the pesticide applied is not a restricted pesticide. The notice must be posted two days prior and remain in place two days after the application. The notice shall be visible from the public right-of-way at the point closest to the area of application.

Failure to post this written notice will result in:

  1. Written warning: From March 1, 2014, through June 30, 2014, the City shall issue a written warning to any Commercial pesticide applicator that fails to post and maintain the required written notice
  2. Municipal Infraction: Commencing July 1, 2014, failure to post and maintain the written notice is a Class G municipal infraction


Before applying a restricted pesticide, applicators must request a waiver and receive approval from the City. When applying a waiver, the applicant shall provide substantial proof that they have exhausted all reasonable alternatives to the use of restricted pesticides for lawn care. In deciding waiver requests, the City Manager shall balance the need for the use of restricted pesticides against the risks of such use. Restricted pesticide shall only be applied after a waiver is granted by the City.

Please complete the waiver form and submit it to the Public Works Department directly.

For more Information on the Safe Grow Act, explore the links on the left or contact us at:

Nima Upadhyay
Special Projects Corodinator
Phone: 301-891-7621

Past Events

Lawn Care Workshop

The City recently hosted a workshop on organic turf management. Chip Osborne, president of Osborne Organic gave presentation on Systems Approach to Natural Turf Management. Interested in viewing the presentation, please click on the links below:

Event Videos:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3: