PARKS LANDSCAPING FAQ’S

1. Are gasoline-powered backpack blowers allowed in Berkeley?

Gasoline powered backpack blowers are not allowed in Berkeley.  Electric blowers are legal in Berkeley.  Gasoline powered blowers have been illegal in Berkeley since January 9, 1991. Under B.M.C. 13.40.070, subsection 14, “It shall be unlawful for any person, including any City employee, to operate any portable machine powered with a gasoline engine used to blow leaves, dirt and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns or other surface within City limits.”

2. How do I report a shrub or tree obstructing the sidewalk or street?

Contact Parks Division, 510-981-6660, Monday-Friday, 7:00am to 3:30pm. After hours call
510-981-6600. On weekends call 510-542-3675.

3. Are chemicals/herbicides used in city parks?

No.  Pesticides/herbicides have not been used by city staff since 1982. Under the City’s Pest Management Policy, pesticides/herbicides will only be considered as a last resort, to be selected and used by a licensed Pest Control Operator.

4. What is the ordinance for off leash dogs in the parks?

Dogs are not allowed to run at large and must be on a leash not to exceed 6 feet in length (B.M.C. 10.04.090).  Dogs are allowed to run at large at the specifically designated dog parks at Ohlone and Cesar Chavez Parks. For further details read the Berkeley Municipal Code.

5. Is it ok to golf in city parks?

Playing golf in the parks in the city of Berkeley is not allowed.  There is a public golf course in Tilden Park (www.ebparks.org/parks/tilden).

6. How do I report stinging insects (yellow jackets, wasps, honey bees) found in the parks?

Contact Parks Division, 510-981-6660, Monday-Friday, 7:00am-3:30pm. On weekends call 510-542-3675. Please provide information on type of insect and location.

7.   How do I report a dirty park restroom?

Contact Parks Division, 510-981-6660, Monday-Friday, 7:00am-3:30pm. After hours call
510-649-5900. Weekends call 510-542-3675. Please provide specific information if restroom is dirty, out of order, etc.

8.  What if I see park users behaving poorly in parks or breaking the law?  Contact Berkeley 

Police Department at 510-981-5900. Please provide a description of offender(s), activity and location.

9.   What if I see offensive graffiti in parks?

If it is existing graffiti contact Parks Division, 510-981-6660. If tagging is in progress, contact Berkeley P.D. 510-981-5900. Please provide description of individual(s) and location. Parks makes effort to abate offensive graffiti within 24 hours.

10.  How do you deal with weeds in Berkeley?

Park maintenance is ongoing. The busiest weeding period is in the Spring, after winter rains. Weeds are abated on a periodic basis.  Because Berkeley is a herbicide-free city, weeds are abated by hand or by machine.  Berkeley has an active mulching program to reduce weed growth.

11. When are the parks mowed?

Sport fields are mowed every week on Tuesday. Turf medians are mowed on a bi-weekly basis on Mondays and Fridays.  Other park lawns are mowed on a biweekly basis on various days.

12.  How are rats and other rodents controlled in city parks?

Parks Division contracts with an outside vendor to reduce rodent populations. When a discovery is made, the area is fenced off for the protection of park users and Integrated Pest Management is employed within the fenced area.  The area is monitored for three days until the rodent population has been removed.  Park users can help reduce rodent population by placing all food scraps into garbage receptacles and by not allowing children to put food into sand, woodchips or plant areas.

13.   How do I report excess debris on pathways?

Contact Parks Division, 510-981-6660, Monday-Friday, 7:00am-3:30pm. After hours call 510-649-5900. On weekends call 510-542-3675.  During fire fuel season, pathway clearing is scheduled once per year. 

14.  How do I acquire a plot in one of the Community gardens?

See the Berkeley City website for community garden information and to find garden coodinators' contact numbers (http://www.bpfp.org/).

15.  Does the Parks Department have an Integrated Pest Management policy?

Yes it does. Please see the Parks home page of the Berkeley City website.  (www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/DepartmentHome.aspx?id=8506)

16.  How is the use of sport fields allocated?

Sport field use is scheduled through the association of Sports Field Users (ASFU). The schedule
is set twice a year in April and in October, for the following play seasons. ASFU can be contacted by calling 510-527-3435.

17.  What if I find a hypodermic needle in the park?

Contact Parks Division as soon as possible at 510-981-6660, Monday-Friday, 7:00am-3:30pm. Parks staff will dispose of needles in a safe manner.  After hours, call 510-649-5900. On weekends call 510-542-3675.

18.  What is the recommended sand and woodchip level for playgrounds?

12 inches is the recommended depth.  Please report any low areas to Parks Division at 510-981-6660.  

19.  What if I see excess trash/litter in parks?

We encourage park users to pick up after themselves.  If you find excess litter you can contact the  Parks Division, Landscape Maintenance Unit, 510-981-6660.

20. Is there a renovation schedule for sport fields?

Yes.  The Parks Division maintains ten sport fields. Two fields are selected each year for major renovation. These fields are fenced off for approximately three months. In addition, the 2 sport fields at San Pablo Park are renovated on an annual basis. These fields are not fenced off, but are limited to baseball/softball only.  

21.  How do I report safety concerns of play equipment?

Please contact Parks Division, 510-981-6660, Monday-Friday, 7:00am-3:30pm. After hours call 510-649-5900. Weekends call 510-542-3675.

22.  What type of sand do you use in the playgrounds?

We use 2 different types of sand. Felton #2 is fine grain sand, good for building sand castles.  Monterey is coarse grain sand and is used in several of the City’s parks.

23.  Does the Parks Department have a free compost giveaway?

Yes, one time per month on the last Saturday of the month, February through October on a first-come basis with self-loading.  This service is for Berkeley residents only. Contact the Berkeley Marina office for more information at 981-6740. Informative flyer available here:  COMPOST FLYER(PDF)

24. Is the compost safe to use in vegetable gardens?

Compost used for the free compost giveaway to Berkeley residents is a safe organic-certified product. Green waste from Berkeley’s transfer station is transported to a Central Valley processing plant. Careful monitoring of the carbon to nitrogen ratio, C02, temperature, moisture as well as daily turning results in a highly aerobic, microbial compost  product.

25.  How do I report lost or found items in city parks?

Contact Parks Division, 510-981-6660. After hours call 510-649-5900.  If an item has been stolen, call Berkeley Police at 510-981-5900.

26.   What is the Park’s Vision & Mission statement?

Please see Parks page of the Berkeley City website. (www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/DepartmentHome.aspx?id=8506)

27.   Can I volunteer to help in the parks or on city pathways?

Yes.  Contact Parks Division at 510-981-6660 or visit the Parks Field Office at 1325 Bancroft Way to fill out the volunteer form and for more information.  You can also fill out an online volunteer form at the Berkeley Partners for Parks website www.bpfp.org to volunteer through this organization.

28.   What if I find broken glass in parks?

Contact Parks Division, 510-981-6660, Monday-Friday, 7:00am-3:30pm. After hours, call 510-649-5900. Weekends call 510-542-3675.

29. Are toys allowed in totlots?

Park users purchase and bring toys to neighborhood totlots for their children to use. Toys are allowed to be left on an ongoing basis. Parks staff limits the number of toys due to safety concerns for the children, including small plastic climb-on structures. Owners can remove toys. City staff will remove broken and unsafe toys on a periodic basis.