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.
Category Archives: Weeds
Should I mulch or bag my grass clippings?
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…
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.
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.
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.
My neighbor says he plans to stock up on ten years’ worth of Par 3 to keep his lawn weed free. Is that legal?
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.
How can I get rid of quackgrass?
There are no known effective means of getting rid of quackgrass in a lawn. The problem lies in the fact that quackgrass is a grass plant species just like the Kentucky bluegrass that makes up most of your lawn. All species of grasses have common hormones and process their food almost identically. Therefore any type of herbicide or other chemical control will also kill the Kentucky bluegrass that you’re trying to keep. Digging up quackgrass might sound like an easy enough solution, but it’s actually the worst thing you can do. Quackgrass has incredibly extensive roots. Digging it up, you will never be able to get all of the roots out. In fact, the roots that are left in the soil will sprout new quackgrass plants in greater numbers than you had before. Unfortunately, all you can do to keep quackgrass in check is to keep your lawn mowed often….
My property backs on to a ditch and some railroad tracks. I’ve tried everything to stop the thistles from coming into my back lawn. Is there anything you can suggest to stop them?
Thistles are probably the most difficult weeds to control in Manitoba. The Canada thistle can grow to over 6 feet tall! Just imagine the root structure that supports something like that. That’s where your problem lies. Thistles reproduce in two ways; through seeds, and through rhizomes. Rhizomes are shallow roots that run close to the surface and eventually sprout new plants. Thus, where you find one thistle, you will likely find a whole family of them. They will spread into your lawn from a neighbour’s unkept flowerbeds as well. Unless the entire family of weeds is wiped out, they will continue to be a constant problem. Treating the few small thistles on your side of the fence will not solve your problem since you will only be poisoning a small segment of the cluster. You may weaken the root mass, but not enough to kill it. It will continue to…
Every once in a while I get mushrooms in my lawn. Is there anything I can do to get rid of them?
Not really. Mushrooms usually emerge during periods of excessive moisture. They will most often grow in a cluster, accompanied by darker grass in the shape of a crescent moon. Lawn care professionals call this “Fairy Ring”. You will often find more than one of these crescent moons lined with mushrooms in an average lawn. The mushrooms occur as a result of decomposing organic matter, such as a tree stump or branch below the surface of the lawn. A stray piece of wood left behind during the construction of the home might also be the cause. Thus, fairy ring tends to be more prevalent in newer suburbs. While removing the dead piece of wood might seem to be the obvious solution to this problem, finding it is another story. You may dig up your lawn only to find a giant tree stump. You may dig up your lawn and find nothing…
I have a lot of trouble with moss in my lawn. What can I do about it?
Moss occurs in the lawn as a result of constant, excessive moisture and shade. Over time, the moss spreads and the lawn thins. To correct the problem you must change the conditions. Constant excessive moisture may be the result of poor drainage or too much shade. Correcting a drainage problem may be as easy as bringing in some topsoil. Correcting a shade problem may prove to be more difficult if the shade is being caused by a house or large trees. In any case, the first thing to try would be a shade tolerant grass cultivar. This is a type of grass seed specifically designed to grow in shady areas and is available from Brett Young Seeds which is located on the South Perimeter Highway.