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Blackberries in parks are safe for picking

Does the city spray pesticide on the berries people are able to access at local parks? There were dozens of families this week at Bear Creek Park picking blackberries. (That’s not to say people wouldn't ignore signs if posted. There have been signs posted saying the creek is unsafe, and yet parents still let their kids bathe in it.)

— B.P., Medford

B.P., we'll trade you an answer for a pie.

Blackberries accessible in the public parks are fair game and safe for consumption, according to city officials.

City of Medford park maintenance crews only spray blackberry bushes with Roundup when they are encroaching on a bike or walking path and only after they have been trimmed to the ground, said Tim Stevens, parks maintenance superintendent.

“We don’t spray the vines after the fruit has started developing,” he said, adding that signs are posted when spraying occurs.

The groups that help maintain the Bear Creek Greenway have a similar policy for spraying blackberries.

Craig Tuss, the project manager for the Rogue Valley Council of Governments’ Natural Resources Department, said licensed herbicide applicators sprayed some of the new, low-growing blackberry growth between Bear Creek and the Greenway between Highway 62 and 10th Street and near the U.S. Cellular Sports Park last spring. The organization also plans to spray and later remove some of the large, mature bushes in that area in October after the berry season.

However, this summer, there shouldn’t be any herbicide-covered blackberries along the Greenway, he said.

Now, where are we on that pie?

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.