On April 22 (Earth Day) the Ontario government will implement a ban on pesticides for cosmetic use. It’s also a hot topic in municipalities across the country.

No more Killex, Par III, Merit for grubs ... the list goes on.

This has left many in the lawn-care industry scrambling to find effective alternatives, or reposition their brand, not to mention the confusion of the homeowner running to stock up on pesticides, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

The best way to keep your lawn weed-free and resistant to disease and insect infestation is a sound maintenance program that begins with soil testing.

By testing your soil and having it evaluated by an accredited lab you can find out what deficiencies your soil may have and treat them organically with a program designed specifically for your lawn.

Sounds expensive, but it’s not. This procedure can be completed for around $40.

Next, whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer, or have a lawn company taking care of your lawn, proper fertilization, aeration (preferably twice a year), watering, cutting and over-seeding are key.

Annual fall over-seeding especially is your golden ticket to success, but be careful. Don’t skimp and buy cheap seed. The less expensive the seed, the more weed seeds you’ll be putting back into your lawn. Likewise, topsoil is just as bad. Remember, we are trying to prevent the germination of weeds, not add to the problem.

One suggestion is a low-maintenance seed blend like Eco-Lawn, which doesn’t require topsoil, has a deep root system (22.86 centimetres in clay-based soils requiring little or no water), performs well in shade as well as full sun, and grows slowly. It is also high in endophyte to help guard against foliar-feeding insects like chinch bugs.

Grass seeds like Eco-Lawn are the most inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to keep your lawn thick and weed-free. Over time, you won’t need to care as much for your lawn, you will conserve water and cut down on lawn mower emissions, without fertilizer, or weed control.

For too long the lawn-care industry has been feeding the top growth instead of your soil, creating a shallow root system for your grass. Why? Because it’s faster and more cost-effective to do it that way.

Now it’s your turn to save time and money and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.
Embrace the new breed of lawn care.

– Craig MacPherson is the owner of Durham Lawn Jockey, an Ontario-based lawn care company.

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