Should I mulch or bag my grass clippings?

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Should I mulch or bag my grass clippings?

Bag! Lawns in Manitoba grow far too quickly to mulch effectively. Mulching too much grass too quickly can lead to a quick build-up of thatch that will in turn, make your lawn more susceptible to stress, disease, and insect infestations.

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I simply can’t afford the new, higher costs of lawn care programs. Is there anything else I can do to keep my weeds down?

Absolutely. Weeds are opportunists. That is to say, that wherever a weak or thin spot in your lawn occurs, weeds will take advantage of that space to move in. The best defense is a good offence. Performing proper cultural practices will strengthen your lawn making it thicker and more resilient over time, effectively crowding weeds out. Water deeply (1/2”) and infrequently, but only water after 7-10 days without rain. Keep your lawn cut at 3-4”. 3” in spring, 4” in summer, then back to 3” in fall. Cutting height will have the biggest impact on the health and density of your lawn. Use compost instead of topsoil when top dressing or seeding. Compost does not contain weeds and comes loaded with microbes and nutrients that will feed the lawn for months and even years. Topsoil is loaded with weeds and has far less nutrient value. Seed as early in spring…

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My lawn was fairly weed-free last season. My lawn care provider says they can easily keep my weeds under control with spot treatments. Shouldn’t that be enough?

The dramatic increase in the cost of weed control has led to fewer homeowners maintaining their weeds. The City of Winnipeg has also dramatically scaled back their weed control program, resulting in an explosion of weeds throughout the city. While spot treatments may hold back the tide of weeds for the latter part of the summer when weeds growth is slower, spot treatments will not keep up with the sheer magnitude of the wave of weeds we now see each spring.

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Does the new weed control by law apply to my driveway, patio, and sidewalks?

Yes. Restricted pesticides can no longer be applied to your lawn, or any adjacent surface including your driveway, sidewalks, and patio. Restricted pesticides include Killex, RoundUp, Par 3, 3-way turf, and any formulation containing 2-4d, mecoprop, or dicamba.

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Are there still weed control products available at the local hardware stores and garden centres?

Weed control products are classified into three categories; Domestic (for home use), Commercial (for the lawn industry), and Restricted (for special use, typically under a special permit). A pesticide applicators license is required to apply commercial or restricted pesticides. Commercial and restricted weed control products contain the highest levels of active ingredient. That is to say, when used according to directions, they will work most effectively. Domestic weed control products are typically formulated at concentrations of 50% or less than 50% compared to commercial weed control products. Thus, domestic weed control products tend to be less effective, requiring more frequent applications.

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My neighbor says he plans to stock up on ten years’ worth of Par 3 to keep his lawn weed free. Is that legal?

herbicide

Pesticide possession is federally regulated. That is to say, that you can possess even the pesticides that the provincial government has banned. The provincial ban addresses the “sale and use” of pesticides. While your neighbor may possess banned pesticides, it would be against the law for him to apply them in Manitoba.

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My lawn was ravaged by Chinch Bugs last summer. Will insecticides be banned as well?

bugs

I have been informed, by a source within Manitoba Conservation, that the emphasis on the ban will be on “cosmetic” pesticides, and that they do not view insecticides within the realm of this classification. At present, they assure me that insecticides will not be included in the ban.

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