Pesticide-free ways to keep lawn, garden healthy
By Elaine Carey
You aren't seeing many of those little red and white pesticide warning signs on Toronto lawns these days.
That's because the city, along with dozens of municipalities across Canada, has passed a bylaw prohibiting the use of pesticides for cosmetic reasons on home lawns and gardens.
The bylaw, being reviewed by council this week, allows residents to report neighbours if they see a pesticide sign.
But offenders will only be issued a warning until September, 2005, when fines will go into effect. Call the city's Public Health Inspectors office at 416-338-7600 for more information or to report pesticide use.
But why not first try some common sense and pesticide-free alternatives?
The Ontario College of Family Physicians recently warned people to avoid common household chemicals in any form because of a link to birth defects, neurological damage and some of the deadliest cancers to merit the warning.
Environment Canada says there are natural alternatives to pesticides Overseed every year to create a dense lawn that will crowd out weeds.
If that fails, Canada's first non-chemical weed control was registered last month with Health Canada and is now available in retail stores. Turf Maize is a plant-based product that works by inhibiting the seed germination of weeds such as dandelions and crabgrass. For more information, go to www.turfmaize.ca or call 905-571-5047.
A host of organic pesticides can be bought at lawn and garden centres or you can try making some from ingredients in your own kitchen.
Ed Lawrence, the chief of grounds and greenhouse operations for the official residences in Ottawa, offers the following recipes
Other insecticide recipes