Healthy Soil is Needed!

"A lawn or garden
rich in
biological diversity
has proven,
time-honored methods
for feeding itself
and clearing itself
of pests and diseases.

The use
of pesticides or
some chemical fertilizers
will kill
these micro-organisms
and actually
makes more work."

Maintaining Healthy 
Lawns & Gardens 
Fact Sheet #2
Greater Victoria
Education Centre.
  

Healthy Lawn Tips

"A healthy lawn
is the best way
to control dandelions.

Mow 'high', cutting grass
to no less than 2 1/2 - 3"
(6 - 7 cm) high and
leaving the cuttings
on your lawn.

This will prevent drought,
which makes
your lawn vulnerable,
and
will deprive dandelions
of the light they need
to germinate."

"Pesticide Free Zone"
Invermere.

See May info on
2012 Community Calendar.

Dandelions aren't Killers

"Dandelions do not
cause cancer."
Carole Rubin, Author.
April 15, 2009.

Is Your Sign Up?

Your neighbours
need to know
your lawn is safe for
their children and pets.

To get a sign,
contact your Cancer Society's Community Action Coordinator, 

Print "Pesticide Free" Poster

poster

Click on image
to print this poster.
Put it up in your
neighbourhood.

Together, let's make
BC pesticide free!

Help BC go Pesticide Free!

The Canadian Cancer Society
continues to lead BC's
health and environmental
groups' advocacy for a
province-wide ban.

See Coalition's Feb 3, 2012
ban statement.

Review ban legislation
given to BC's Environment
Minister in 2010.

Join the CCS's "Pesticide Free
BC" Facebook discussions.

Take action! to help BC
go pesticide free.
Tips for a Healthy Sustainable Organic Lawn
1.  Educate Yourself about "Green Washing" 
When selecting fertilizers and other lawn products, be aware that "natural", "organic" and "green" products are not necessarily free of chemicals. 

Chose "certified organic" products as these will have been reviewed for toxic ingredients.  Look for the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) label.

2.  Create and Maintain Healthy Soil
Healthy soil is essential for a healthy lawn . . . follow these tips!

Add organic material by leaving your grass clippings on the lawn. Return nutrients to the soil . . . naturally!
 
3.  Use Hardy Grass Seed and Over-seed
Use a hardy seed mixture appropriate to your climate and soil conditions and over-seed your lawn.

A thick lawn crowds out weeds. Over-seed after aerating, when you’ve top-dressed with compost or removed weeds.
 
4.  Mow High and “Stay Sharp”
Keep your lawnmower blade at 7 cm/ 3 inches.

Long grass helps deeper roots to develop, crowds out weeds and maintains soil moisture.

Sharpen your lawnmower blades once a year to prevent grass from tearing and becoming susceptible to disease.

5.  Water “deeply” but not often
Your lawn needs an inch of water … once a week. That’s all!

Water early to reduce evaporation. Use a tuna can to measure and keep track of rainfall - this counts too.

Infrequent watering develops deep, healthy roots that resist disease.

6.  Thatch
This is not caused by leaving grass clippings on your lawn!

Thatch is a layer of partially decomposed roots, leaves and other organic matter.

If there is a 1 to 2 cm mat of plant debris that prevents you from touching the soil, your lawn has thatch.

Compaction contributes to thatch – from snow or heavy use (that’s us and our parked vehicles). In late spring and late fall, de-thatch by gently raking or use a machine.

To prevent thatch build-up, aerate, water properly and don’t over-fertilize.

Keep the soil pH balanced because excess acidity slows thatch decomposition.

7.  Top-Dress and Fertilize
Rake a thin layer of compost over your lawn once or twice a year.

Compost provides nutrients, retains moisture and lasts longer than chemical fertilizers.

Be wary of using municipal compost . . . this is likely toxic from lawn and garden waste containing cosmetic pesticides. Heat, biological decay and time do not "kill" these concentrated toxins.

If your municipal compost (and any other source) is not tested and certified organic, don't use it. Make your own - you'll know it's not contaminated!

If you use a product to fertilize, chose a slow-release, granular product. 

8.  Aerate – so Your Lawn can Breathe
Aerating promotes water retention and air circulation for healthy root growth.

Puncture your lawn with a garden fork, rent an aerator (share with your neighbours) or hire someone.

9.  Control Weeds and Insects Naturally
Dig out weeds and roots by hand. There are many tools available to make this easy for aging Baby Boomers.

Sprinkle grass seeds in the bare patches.

Pour boiling water on weeds in your paving stones, patio bricks and sidewalks – it works!

Use natural sprays on insects.

Educate yourself about natural approaches. Learn to accept that a few weeds and other living “pests” show you have a Pesticide Free lawn.

10.  Check soil acidity
Soil acidity (pH) should be between 6.0 and 7.0.

Apply lime to increase. Use peat moss or sulphur to lower.

11.  Consider Alternative Ground Coverings
A minimum of 8” humus-rich soil is needed to maintain a healthy grass lawn . . . that’s deep! 

Maybe it’s time to replace your grass with a sustainable ground cover.

Dutch white clover looks like a lawn, never needs water, stays green and has thick short roots. Other alternatives include native plants, native groundcovers, eco-turf, eco-lawns and xeriscaping.

Consider expanding your garden area and reducing your lawn.
 
12.  Recycle your Hazardous Waste
Pesticides are a hazardous waste  they are a danger to human health (check the container’s label).
 
Take your containers to an authorized recycling depot.  

For more sustainable lawn care info . . .
  • For more on sustainable, organic land care practices, including low risk pesticides, click here.
Last Updated on Thursday, 12 September 2013 15:18
 

Tell Premier Clark she needs to honour her 2011 pesticide ban commitment.

Call the Premier's office at 250 387 1715 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Together, let's make BC pesticide free.

                                                                   
 


Low Maintenance Lawns

"Low-maintenance lawns
are made up of
a diverse mix of
hardy, drought-tolerant,
slow-growing
and
low-height turfgrasses,
fescues, and
wear-tolerant broadleaf
species such as clover.

These species
require less
mowing, fertilizing
and watering
than conventional
lawn species."

Canada Mortgage and  Housing Corporation (CMHC) 
Low Maintenance Lawns
website info.

Use Organic Matter

"Organic matter helps
break up heavy clay soil,
improve air circulation
and drainage,
and it increases
the capacity for sandy soils
to retain moisture."

Reducing Pesticides 
It's Perfectly Natural.

City of Toronto website.

Water 1" per Week

"Water deeply
and infrequently.

This will help promote
deep root growth
and
create a lawn
that is more tolerant
of stresses.

Your lawn only
needs 25 mm (1”)
of water
per week
to be healthy."

"Keeping a Healthy Lawn"
Alternatives to Pesticides
Regional District of Nanaimo

Get "SOUL" in Your Yard

The Society
for Organic Urban Land Care
(SOUL)
promotes and
supports
organic practices
in BC communities
through
education,
workshops, certification
and standardization.

Get "SOUL" in your 
yard and garden
and use their 
three free ebooks . . . 

 

"Practical Tips for
Organic Gardeners",
"Products for
Organic Gardeners"
and
"Soil Testing for
Organic Gardeners".

For more on this 
"grown in BC" organization,
click here
.

Gaia's "Cultivating" Events

BC's Gaia College wants to get 
our lawns & gardens 
off chemicals 
and help BCers practice
organic land care.

2013 courses on organic
land care,
master gardening  
and growing food
are available
throughout BC . . .
including Burnaby,
Duncan, Qualicum Beach, 
Tofino, Vancouver
and Victoria.

For details,
including new on-line
organic soil, turf and
tree management courses,
click here.  

To include your community,
contact Gaia  to help
"cultivate" an organic,
pesticide free BC!

All Insects Pesticide Target

"Pesticide use kills
beneficial insects as well
as targetted insects."

Gardening for pollinators
brochure.
Thompson Shuswap
Master Gardeners Association.