It's Your Health
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Canadians take pride in having attractive lawns around their homes, and many use lawn care products to maintain them. However, many communities across Canada question pesticide use for lawn care because of increased public awareness of the potential impact that human activities can have on our shared environment.
Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is responsible for registering all pesticides used in Canada. Rigorous health, environmental, and value assessments are carried out on each pesticide before it is allowed to be sold or used in Canada.
The PMRA supports reducing reliance on pesticides and, along with provincial and territorial governments, has developed information encouraging homeowners to adopt environmentally sound lawn-care practices and to only use pesticides when necessary. A well-maintained, healthy lawn is less likely to suffer from pest problems or need pesticides.
Growing a healthy lawn is as easy as following a few basic steps that don't require a lot of time or money.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) emphasizes pest prevention as its first principle. Manage pest problems by following IPM principles.
Maintain good soil, with ample depth and organic matter, and improved drainage in wet areas to prevent problems.
Inspect regularly to provide early warning of potential problems.
Identify a pest or a problem accurately, since beneficial insects may be mistaken for pests. Identifying the pest will help you decide if and when you need to apply a treatment.
Don't be alarmed at the first sign of a pest or a weed. It is not necessarily a threat to your lawn. Accept that a few weeds or insect pests won't noticeably harm a healthy lawn.
Approach pest problems from several fronts. For example, if chinch bugs are a problem, you can de-thatch the lawn, keep it well watered, increase the mowing height, keep nitrogen fertilization to a minimum, and over-seed with grass varieties that are resistant to chinch bugs. Such a combination of tactics will make it difficult for this pest to thrive.
Before resorting to herbicides, try managing weeds by improving the general condition of the lawn and doing some occasional hand weeding. If you decide that a pesticide is necessary, follow these steps:
If you choose this option, ask what type of services the companies offer and discuss the results you can expect. Avoid lawn care programs that regularly apply pesticides whether or not pests are present. If pesticides are used, make sure that they are part of an IPM program, where pesticides are applied only if pests are at levels that require control.
The Health Canada Web site provides comprehensive information for homeowners and green space professionals who wish to establish and maintain a healthy lawn while minimizing reliance on pesticides.
Consult the Health Canada's Healthy Lawns Web section for information and publications:
Pest Management Regulatory Agency Lawn Care Publications available:
Contact us at the address listed below to obtain any of these publications.
Pest Management Information Service
2720 Riverside Drive
For more information visit the It's Your Health article on Homemade Pesticides.
For additional articles on health and safety issues go to the It's Your Health Web section.
You can also call toll free at 1-866-225-0709 or TTY at 1-800-267-1245*
Updated : April 2009
Original : February 2002
©Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Health, 2009