The Grass Is Greener


Something we love: the smell of a freshly mowed lawn.

Something we don’t love: the smell of a freshly mowed lawn after it’s been doused with weed killer and pesticides.

Chemical lawn care is soon going to be a thing of the past. On April 22—Earth Day—the Government of Ontario introduced legislation to ban the sale and use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes with more than 300 pesticide products expected to be banned. Phew.

Now, if you need a little guidance on how to ‘be green’ with your lawn and garden, here are a few tips.

Go With Organic
Add some organic nutrients like the special “topdressing soil” from Greely Sand and Gravel. This power boost for your grass is an organic blend of screened peat, topsoil and mushroom compost. Thick and earthy, it arrived in a supersized truck and was dumped in a huge pile on our front lawn. The kids were very impressed.

Be Alternative
Explore alternative lawn cover and sprinkle some white clover seeds on your lawn. The seeds are cheap (available at Canadian Tire) and the clover chokes out weeds, adds nitrogen, and is better at surviving a dry summer than grass.

Grow It Longer
Keep the grass longer in the summer—longer grass helps conserve the earth’s moisture by shading the roots and trapping more dew—and never cut off more than one-third of the length of the blade to avoid causing stress to the plant.

Manual is a Must
We know that running a lawn mower for one hour emits as much pollution as driving a car 500 kilometres, so push mowers (also called reel mowers) are the essential green lawn tool (and can be bought from Lee Valley for as low as $105). Reel mowers deliver a superior cut because they shear grass rather than tear it. Tearing gives an uneven cut and causes browning (which is only a good thing when it comes to Grandma’s casserole).

Get Help
Some lawn care companies offer organic lawn services. Nutri-Lawn, for example, has an “Organics Plus Lawn Care” service for those who need a little extra help with the grass. They will help you establish a healthy lawn and give you the knowledge and tools to maintain it all summer long by yourself or help continue with a lawn maintenance program if needed (available services will depend on your location).

Need some extra guidance? The City of Ottawa has been hosting a series of free seminars to help residents managing their lawns and gardens. There are two left in the series: Healthy Lawn and Gardens and What’s Bugging You? Controlling Lawn & Garden Pests Naturally

So get ready to green it up this summer. A perfect lawn is a beautiful sight, but a beautiful healthy lawn that is safe for the kids to play on is priceless.

Healthy Lawn and Gardens
Tuesday, May 20
7 pm to 9 pm
West Carleton Community Complex
5670 Carp Road – Kinburn
To register, please call: (613) 580-6744, ext. 26234

What’s Bugging You? Controlling Lawn & Garden Pests Naturally
Wednesday, June 4,
7 pm to 9 pm
Greely Community Centre
1448 Meadow Drive – Greely
To register, please call: (613) 580-2424, ext. 26173

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