Kelly's Lawn Care Blog
By Kelly Burke, About.com Guide to Lawn Care
Pesticide companies fighting for their lives in Canada
The Canadian provinces of Ontario and Prince Edward Island are on the
brink of banning the cosmetic use of pesticides and the manufacturers
of pesticides (giant chemical companies) are squirming. They're
putting up a good fight. Trying to convince people that the food chain
will collapse if homeowners and municipalities stop using chemical
pesticides for cosmetic purposes. Well paid lawyers and lobbyists
trying to convince people that there are no pest control alternatives
other than their chemicals. Arguing that a cosmetic pesticide ban will
endanger the economy and discourage innovation?
If you haven't guessed, I kind of favor the ban. What's the big deal?
Farmers can still farm with conventional pesticides, ensuring
bountiful, pest free harvests and the rest of us are on even ground
when it comes to lawn maintenance. We're on our own to figure out how
to maintain our lawn naturally. It can be done, and there's no need to
rely on chemical methods to make landscapes look great.
The harmful nature of many of these chemicals is reason enough to ban
them. They often disrupt important biological processes in the soil,
making the plant vulnerable to other stresses, which are similarly
treated with more chemicals. A dependency is often the result, and a
landscape devoid of all the natural systems needed to sustain it. The
long term effects of many of these chemicals are just being
discovered, the hard way. Children and pets are especially vulnerable
with their smaller systems and proximity to the ground. The only ones
that stand to suffer by the ban are the profiteers.
Through building healthy soil, proper mowing, adding composts and
natural fertilizers, a lawn can out-compete weeds and resist disease
and insect pressure. Think of the ban as a challenge to be more
innovative and learn more about what it takes to keep it looking nice
without relying on chemicals.
There needs to be a slight shift in the perception of what makes a
beautiful lawn. Some lawns will still be lush, green carpets while
others will feature natural looking, low maintenance fescues, buffalo
grass, and yes, the odd weed.
* Read more: Ontario Proposes Ban of 250+ Pesticides
* Ban based on politics, not science, say pesticide companies
Whether the ban is political or not, I think it's a win for the
Sunday March 8, 2009
Kelly's Lawn Care Blog
By Kelly Burke, About.com Guide to Lawn Care
Freedom Lawns - the anti-lawn
The term freedom lawn came up in conversation recently and stuck in my
craw. It had such a patriotic ring to it, I had to find out more about
the freedom lawn. I had visions of Ben Franklin and old glory in my
mind, not weeds.
Simply put, a freedom lawn is what remains after mowing. Plantain,
dandelion, chickweed, and oh yeah, some grass too. Freedom lawns are
ultra low maintenance and are generally "input" free. This means no
fertilizer, herbicide, or water.
Freedom lawns are an equal and opposite reaction to highly maintained,
lush, carpets of green that traditionally required large amounts of
care and maintenance.
Personally, I'm not into freedom lawns. Although I've certainly been
the proprietor of a few at various houses I've lived, I'd rather
people maintain their lawn in a smart, environmentally friendly manner
to achieve a stunning carpet of lush green turf (seeing as how turf is
my bread and butter). I also believe that freedom lawns border on
neglect, and some weeds can deplete the soil of nutrients which ends
up causing worse problems than if the area were a moderately
maintained plot of turf. Read more here...
Tuesday March 17, 2009 at 10 pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld
Watch the promo.
Each day, tons of chemicals are released into the environment, but do
we really know how toxic they are or what their long-term effect is on
living organisms? Some toxins are found in everyday objects or in
agricultural pesticides used for food production. And they seem to be
finding their way into our homes.
When a Montreal filmmaker has her blood tested she learns that there
are 110 contaminants in her body. So she sets off to investigate the
connection between those toxic substances and rising health issues in
our society, such as cancer, allergies and male infertility.
The film is directed and produced by Carole Poliquin (Productions
Vol.17, No.03, March 2009
MDs warming to environmentalism
Lobby group gets new attention, new members
by Sam Solomon
In September 2006, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the
Environment (CAPE) had just 400 members. Just two and a half years
later, over 4,000 doctors belong to the group.
“It’s been an exciting time for us,” said executive director Gideon
Forman. “We think it’s a very exciting development that doctors are
playing a leadership role in the environmental movement,” he said.
“Docs are trusted so much by the public, and they have huge
credibility with policy-makers. We have access to decision-makers that
other groups don’t.”
The medical profession’s interest in environmentalism is relatively
recent, said Mr. Forman. Though CAPE’s membership grew 10-fold in the
last two and a half years, it didn’t attract a great deal of doctors’
involvement in its previous 13 years.
Founded in 1993 by a small group of Canadian physicians, CAPE was, in
its early years, “a wish, not a reality,” as the group matter-of-
factly describes its origin. Its members over the years have included
some physicians with impressive credentials in environmentalism,
including Dr. Trevor Hancock, the first leader of the Green Party of
Canada and CAPE’s chairperson earlier this decade; and Dr. Jean Zigby,
a Montreal family physician who won a 2006 Canadian Environmental
Award and is now CAPE’s vice-president.
CAPE had a public profile before it grew within the medical
profession. In 2004, with the group’s membership at just 110 doctors,
Dr. Kapil Khatter, then the executive director and now the board
president, complained to the National Review of Medicine, “In the
greater community we have a solid and credible reputation as a
doctors’ group, but in the medical community we suffer a huge lack of
Since then, times have changed. CAPE’s growth has been bolstered in
large part by the growing public awareness about the environmentalist
movement, and doctors have finally caught up.
Ontario’s Bill 64
CAPE played a major role in one of the most hotly debated
environmental issues of the last few years: Ontario’s Bill 64, a
province-wide ban on cosmetic pesticides (except in agriculture,
forestry, golf courses, and for reasons of public health and safety).
Along with the David Suzuki Foundation, the Ontario College of Family
Physicians and many others, CAPE, which already had experience
lobbying municipalities to enact bylaws banning pesticide use, was
involved in pushing for the legislation. The law was passed last year
and comes into effect this spring.
Mr. Forman attributes a portion of the medical profession’s newfound
enthusiasm for CAPE to the group’s work on Bill 64. “People were
concerned about this, these poisons close to home,” he said. “The fact
that we worked on it attracted a lot of interest.” CAPE is now working
on a similar anti-pesticide lobbying campaign in New Brunswick.
CAPE has also been involved for years in a group called the Canadian
Coalition for Green Healthcare, in an effort to make the practice of
medicine less environmentally damaging. The coalition includes CAPE,
the Canadian Medical Association, the College of Family Physicians of
Canada, and other medical groups, alongside hospitals and
environmental organizations who work together “to minimize the adverse
environmental and human health impacts of Canada’s healthcare system.”
Lobbying efforts by CAPE have urged hospitals and clinics to eliminate
plastic tubing made with phthalates and older thermometers and blood-
pressure cuffs that contain mercury, and to stop incinerating medical
waste, which releases greenhouse gases into the air. Vice-president
Jean Zigby is currently leading an initiative to encourage healthcare
facilities to establish “green purchasing” practices.
Tackling the oil sands
The Athabasca oil sands extraction projects in Alberta are another
target of CAPE’s criticism. “Minimally we would like to see moratorium
on new development, and ultimately we’d like to see
a move away from oil” in favour of wind and solar power, said Mr.
Forman. “The jarring thing about the tar sands is that it’s using huge
amounts of natural gas, which is relatively clean, to liberate very,
very dirty oil.”
CAPE’s disapproval of the oil sands projects reflects its desire to
expand its influence on climate change policy. To that end, CAPE is
now looking into the possibility of partnering with a larger
organization — Mr. Forman suggested the David Suzuki Foundation and
WWF as examples of potential partners — to lend medical expertise to
Canadian efforts to fight climate change.
If not doctors, then who?
Dr. David Swann, a former CAPE member who was elected leader of the
Alberta Liberal Party in December, was impressed with the group’s
recent growth. “It’s absolutely vital that people with scientific
credibility and public trust come together and find ways to influence
the public system in interest of public health,” he said. “If not
doctors, then who is going to make that kind of strong statement?”
CAPE’s growth hasn’t been even across the country, however. Only 214,
or about 5%, of the members live in Quebec, for instance, and the
group’s website, www.cape.ca, and newsletters are only available in
English. “They’re not as visible in Alberta as I would like to see
them,” said Dr. Swann. “If I can help with that, I certainly will.”
March 13, 2009
Thinking of a 'green' spring
By JOE COOPER
I have to say that I have been enjoying watching the big pile of
snow on my front lawn disappear over the past week, thanks to the mini-
heat wave that we had.
Now begins that peculiar non-season which is neither winter nor
spring, but just a big battle between the two until the warm weather
Most people I've talked to are pretty tired of what has been a
very long winter and are really looking forward to seeing leaves on
trees and flowers in bloom once again.
Even though it is only the middle of March, it is worthwhile
thinking about what we will be doing outdoors once spring comes.
One thing that is very much part of East York is our community's
wonderful tradition of gardening, which is a delight for everyone.
However, in saying that, one thing that is definitely changing is
how people define what a garden is, or more importantly, what
constitutes a front lawn.
This year I am seriously considering removing my front lawn
completely and replacing it with ground cover, as many of my
neighbours have done already.
The truth is that we've come to equate the use of grass as a
ground cover as being "normal", to the point where anything else looks
strange or different to many people.
The problem with a grass-based lawn is that it requires a high
level of maintenance in order to keep it looking at its best during
the warm weather.
Being the time-challenged society that we are, many people have
tended to take short cuts in their lawn maintenance in order to save
As a result, many people have come to depend upon gas lawn mowers
to cut their lawns and chemicals to keep weeds under control.
Worse, we've been sold on the idea that the only way that you can
keep your grass looking good is by using these environmentally unsound
Today, the City of Toronto has some very wise bylaws in place that
restricts the use of pesticides on public and private property.
This includes any product designed to kill plants, insects or
plant disease (including fungi), with serious fines for their use.
For example, you can be fined $225 for a simple offence, or be
fined up to $5,000 for something more serious.
You can also face fines if the lawn care company you have hired
violates the bylaw, no matter what kind of property you own.
You can achieve a healthy and good-looking lawn with less work
than you may realize if you take time to find out how to do it right.
Check on the City of Toronto website (www.toronto.ca) for more
information or drop by your local public library for books or
pamphlets on natural lawn maintenance.
Better still, use alternative plants for ground cover that require
little or no maintenance and look just as good as a traditional lawn.
So let's see East York really go "green" this coming spring and
summer in a natural way.
Mar 17, 2009
The Hamilton Spectator
Wildlife returned after pesticide use cut back
I am not wrong very often, but when I am I will admit it.
A while back I submitted a letter about pesticides -- how my allergies
would be affected if the weeds were not killed by harmful pesticides.
I see much more wildlife in our back yard and the number of different
birds coming back. I actually saw a humming bird last summer for the
first time in many years.
I was wrong. Pesticides made our wildlife go away. Now that less
pesticides are being used, the animals and birds are coming back to a
healthy environment and our back yard.
If we could just get developers to stop building new homes in what
limited green space we have left on the Mountain, I would be even
© Copyright 2007 Metroland Media Group Ltd. All rights reserved
Coming from Ottawa where pesticides have not been used in parks for
over 15 years and pesticide spraying of one’s yard is even a social
taboo, I am shocked to see the abundance of pesticide use in Calgary.
(Pesticides include herbicides to kill plants, insecticides to kill
Mark and his brother doing conservation work in Ottawa
I am a student from Queen's University here on a summer internship
working with the Institute of Sustainability on the University of
Calgary campus. I recognize the strong smell of pesticides and can
detect it everywhere on campus and in many public areas which sickens
It is not in the best interest of Calgarians to use pesticides. The
cosmetic use of pesticide is short-sighted and it is ludicrous to use
pesticides just to serve tourists an aesthetic image of the City when
pesticides are a major "turn off" to both Canadian and international
tourists who hail from areas where pesticides have been banned due to
their health effects.
At all the various convocation ceremonies I see on campus here,
infants are playing on the grass and parents are oblivious to the
pesticide sprayed so liberally which threaten the health of their
children. At Queen’s and other Ontario universities, pesticide is
avoided at all costs as there is a great student opposition to the use
of these noxious chemicals.
In Ottawa, we take a laissez-faire approach to public spaces and they
are no more displeasing than Calgary’s. In fact, I prefer them due to
a greater ecological richness. In Calgary, the ecological nature of
the city seems dead to me - I don’t see much diversity of species nor
hear birdsong as I do in Ottawa. There are trees and grass and wild
hares, yet very few insects, birds, and wildflowers except in the
special environmental parks such as Bowmont Environmental Park. In
Ottawa, I live in Rockcliffe Park and there is a great deal of species
diversity in all public spaces. This diversity owes its existence to
the absence of pesticide use because pesticides kill indiscriminately
not only pests but also butterflies, bees and other forms of wildlife.
Rideau Canal - Ottawa
It’s a well-accepted fact in Ottawa that it makes no sense at all to
use pesticides due to the whole host of health problems associated
with them. Unfortunately, we don’t have a pesticide bylaw yet that
prevents homeowners from using pesticides, largely due to the presence
of powerful chemical company lobbyists and activists in the Nation's
capital, although the majority of Ottawa residents strongly desire
such a bylaw. The clear and present dangers posed to human health by
pesticides are medically proven in addition to being well documented
by a variety of sources. What is even clearer are the negative
effects of pesticide on nature.
Calgary's ubiquitous use of pesticides was a huge disappointment to me
and is major deterrent to myself and others to visit Calgary so as not
to jeopardize our health. I have shared my findings with contacts in
Ottawa and they have also expressed great alarm and disgust, regarding
my unpleasant discovery. One would be inclined not to visit Calgary
so as not to inadvertently support a city which advocates such
careless use of a well-known health hazard, in the interest of
superficial aesthetics. With environmental issues being so mainstream
recently, I am truly disappointed that Calgary lags far behind most
major Canadian cities by not taking a stance against the insidious
health hazards posed by pesticides. It is interesting to note the
Toronto, Canada's largest city and a huge urban centre, has deemed it
fit to pass a tough bylaw, banning the use of pesticides on public and
private properties. "to protect the safety, health and well-being of
Toronto residents". Do the residents of Calgary deserve less?
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The Sarnia Observer
SPRAYING THE PARK IS NOT THE SOLUTION
Sir:It has come to our attention that Sarnia Council is considering
spraying pesticides to kill the infesting population of gypsy months
in Canatara Park.
As an active environmental club, we have researched the issue and
determined that it will not only kill the gypsy moths but perhaps many
other native species living in the park. Airborne sprays will be
carried in the wind, some directly deposited into Lake Huron, the St.
Clair River and neighbouring areas, and the spray that lands in the
park will eventually percolate through the ground into our lakes and
rivers and directly into our city's water system.
We have learned that freezing and thawing in late winter and early
spring may prevent eggs from hatching. This is exactly what Sarnia is
Another factor that will have an impact on the eggs are temperatures
below -28.8 Celsius for a period of 48 to 72 hours. We have already
experienced an extremely long and cold winter where temperatures
reached and remained at these numbers.
In addition, cold, rainy weather inhibits dispersal of the gypsy month
and slows its growth and reproduction. No one can truly predict what
weather this summer will hold.
All populations are naturally fluctuating and will eventually die off,
especially with the contribution of the natural predators located in
our area. Wasps, flies, ground beetles and ants, many species of
spiders, several species of birds (chickadees, blue jays, nuthatches,
towhees and robins) and approximately 15 species of common woodland
animals (the white-footed mouse, shrews, chipmunks, squirrels and
raccoons) are some of the native species that reside in Canatara and
enjoy a diet that includes gypsy months.
We have researched other solutions to this problem which includes the
introduction of diseases caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses which
contribute to destroying the population, especially when the
population is dense, as is the case in Canatara. If natural pesticides
are to used, perhaps the NPV nucleopolyhedrosis virus (LdNPV) is
specific to attacking the gypsy month and is the most devastating of
the gypsy moths' natural diseases. Again, who really knows the impact
of the use of this pesticide on society?
The article in The Observer mentioned that it would cost $75,000 to
purchase and implement the use of the spray. This amount could
purchase a large number of trees.
From our readings, we have discovered that many of the trees will not
be killed by the gypsy moths, just weakened from refoliating a second
time in one season. An ideal solution would be to plant a variety of
species of trees in replacement of the ones destroyed.
Just remember what happened to the Karner Blue butterfly, a species
that became endangered due to spraying.
-- Johnston Memorial Environmental Club
Jen Cabral (teacher/co-ordinator)
Carling Davis Draper Taylor May Williams Ethan St. Jean
Sophie Stasyna Camrie Loucks
March 17, 2009
Cornwall Standard Freeholder
Counties council rejects plea to skip spraying
By MICHAEL PEELING, STANDARD-FREEHOLDER
For the second consecutive year, a large group of county residents'
request the local government to refrain from spraying for a noxious
weed along area roads was rejected.
The mayors and deputy mayors of the United Counties of Stormont,
Dundas and Glengarry voted eight to three to spray a herbicide meant
to stave off the spread of the wild yellow parsnip.
About 40 residents out of 400 who signed a petition against the
spraying of Turboprop -which contains the active ingredient 2- 4,D, a
chemical listed on The Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act - showed up at the
council's monthly meeting Monday morning.
One of the opponents of the spraying wore a bee costume and a gas
The residents claim the use of the chemical is bad for their health
and the environment.
The provincial government is due to start the ban on Earth Day, April
S, DandGchief administrative officer, Michael Waddell, said the use of
the herbicide on county roads is not merely cosmetic, but a necessity
to keep the parsnip from harming people with nasty rashes and
Chloe Fox, a resident of Glen Roy, spoke on behalf of the residents.
"As concerned citizens, we are aware of the harm that can be caused to
unwary people by the poison parsnip plant, but we strongly suggest
there are alternative ways of dealing with it that would be less
deleterious to our health and the environment," she said, "as well as
more effective and cost effective."
However, head county road engineer Don McDonald said spraying costs
about $58,000 a year. The popular alternative of mowing the plants
before they come to seed in the late spring would run the counties
upwards of $300,000.
South Stormont Mayor Bryan McGillis, who voted against spraying,
doesn't buy those numbers or the effectiveness of spraying because he
feels counties staff haven't researched either thoroughly enough.
He believes cutting down the weeds early in the season will minimize
the threat to residents.
North Dundas Deputy Mayor Estella Rose suggested the wild parsnip
could be kept in check if individual residents took responsibility for
cutting down the weed on their properties.
Williamstown, South Glengarry resident and federal Green Party
candidate David Rawnsley argued spraying is just creating a greater
health and safety risk while attempting to address the risk inherent
to contact with poison parsnip.
Rawnsley suggested putting up signs warning of parsnip hotspots as a
way of mitigating the risk and educating the public about its hazards.
Waddell said the spraying is done under very strict and safe
guidelines according to the government legislation.
"They're not just spraying indiscriminately," Waddell said. "This work
is done by professionals. Their livelihood depends on it."
Rawnsley said residents won't back down from fighting the spraying
program despite the vote.
Warning Industry Propaganda Below
OVMA Spring Meeting
Ontario Vegetation Management Association
"Bill 64 Enacted. What it means to you!"
Thursday, May 28, 2009
at the Tangle Creek Golf,
OVMA Annual General Meeting
September 15-17, 2009
Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls - Fallsview Hotel,
5685 Falls Ave. in Niagara Falls, ON.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Ontario's pesticide regs have industry groups asking "where's the
Industry associations are fighting back after a list of banned
pesticides was released by the Ontario goverment today.
Pushback came from CropLife Canada and Canadian Consumer Specialty
Products Association that demand science-based policies for pesticide
Whate are the concerns? Agricultural organization AgCare has a
Posted by Lisa McLean
PLCAO Online Forums
Activist are right no pesticides needed
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 1 of 1
[ 5 posts ]
Print view Previous topic | Next topic
Post subject: Activist are right no pesticides needed
PostPosted: March 9th, 2009, 11:23 am
Joined: March 9th, 2009, 11:16 am
Where is everyone? I can not believe that no one is here talking or
sharing advice. This industry is going through major change and as
usual everyone has their heads in the sand and pretending its okay.
Talk about a double whammy the potential pesticide ban and the
challenging economy yet it appears everything is okay. Wow, I guess
the activists are right we do not need pesticides.
Post subject: Re: Activist are right no pesticides needed
PostPosted: March 10th, 2009, 9:08 am
Joined: December 18th, 2008, 3:29 pm
Hello Green Guy.
I know, sometimes I feel like I am the only one going through this
crisis. I've called my suppliers and asked them what other companies
are doing, ordering, or saying about this issue. Perhaps everyone is
so stunned, that it has not sunk in yet. I've delayed sending out
letters to my customers until I can figure out what I am going to do,
and what price adjustments will be needed before I can carry on what
is left of my business. I have written letters to my local MP on two
occasions. I've brought the issue up with customers, family and
friends every chance I get, stating my views. I have recieved a
personal reply from Garretson Minister of Environment, in which he
assured me that there are many bio-pesticides which will take care of
all lawn problems, and that the children are too important to risk the
use of 'toxic chemicals'. In effect, the Liberal government has shown
total disregard to the children of lawn care operators and their
employees. They are indifferent to the hardships they have created for
those in our industry. They have made us second class citizens, below
the golf course, forestry and agriculture industries. An unfair and
unjust blow to our industry, with no alternatives and no compensation.
I haven't voted Liberal in the past, and as long as I live I will
denounce this party!!! :evil:
Post subject: Re: Activist are right no pesticides needed
PostPosted: March 10th, 2009, 5:01 pm
Joined: August 1st, 2008, 5:39 pm
The ones with their head in the sand is the Liberal Government.
They are so out of touch with reality that its gone from being a joke
to becoming pathetic.
Whenever you write or e-mail them they come back with the same message
of doing this ban for the kids and the public.
This government is obsessed with banning everything in this free
society, or passing new acts that is destroying people from going into
business in Ontario.
Maybe governments should go back to what governments were formed for
in the first place. Taking care of our crumpling roads and bridges and
doing something with our segregated schools systems.
You can tell from this government that they are controlled by
lobbyists and the money they receive from them.
It was quoted from the Hon Health Promotions Minister, Margaret Best
recently that smoking kills 13,000 Ontarians every year, but you don't
hear from Dalton McGuinty that he is banning tobacco (toxic chemical).
Maybe the tobacco lobbyists are donating to his election fund!!
We've gone from being a **** government here in Ontario and on the
fast track to becoming a Communist state.
What ever happened to the concept that the government works for the
people, and not the people work for the government.
Post subject: Re: Activist are right no pesticides needed
PostPosted: March 10th, 2009, 8:01 pm
Joined: March 9th, 2009, 11:16 am
I understand how your feeling things are changing quickly . My MPP has
not responded to an email I sent in January 2009. How are your
customers reacting to the ban?
What are you thinking of using to replace pesticides (ie beet juice).
I think you have to expand to other services to survive the shift such
as mosquito control using a garlic repellant.
Post subject: Re: Activist are right no pesticides needed
PostPosted: March 10th, 2009, 8:12 pm
Joined: March 9th, 2009, 11:16 am
Finally someone got the balls to speak their mind. I agree the
Liberals are idiots and I think we as society should ban all
politicans. I have read an article that if I can find it I will send
it to you it talks about how the capitalism countries are leading
towards communism and how the communist countries are become
capitalist made for an interesting read.
FYI Dalton is not only screwing us the governement has put forth
legislation that all homes sold in Ontario require an energy audit at
a cost of 300- 500 and
that all temp agencies will be forced to treat their temp employees as
full time with benefits etc etc.
March 10, 2009
ENVIRONMENT: Beetles will likely wipe out ash trees across city,
Wasps, pesticides can't completely control ash borer infestation
By MIKE ADLER
Toronto's emerald ash borer infestation can't be held back and will
kill nearly every ash tree in the city over the next decade, Toronto's
Urban Forestry director Richard Ubbens says.
The small, bright-green beetles were found in trees near Hwy. 404 in
North York in 2007, but the city does not know the infestation's true
extent. The beetle is hard to detect and spreads to new areas at
"stunning" speed, Ubbens said last week.
"These things can travel 25 kilometres, no problem," he added. "When
you see the outward effects, the tree is dying already."
The ash borer comes from Central Asia, where predatory wasps and other
factors keep it in check. By 2002, it had established itself in
Detroit, Michigan, in a North American environment where "it goes
incredibly, wildly out of control," Ubbens said.
It has taken just a few years to devastate ash trees in southwestern
Ontario and reach New York State and Quebec.
The beetles pose no danger to humans but an estimated six per cent of
Toronto's tree canopy is ash, a hardwood that plays an important role
in the regeneration of forests.
Last week, the city removed 57 trees in a "treatment area" between
Hwy. 404 and Pharmacy Avenue, Hwy. 401 and Pleasant View Drive, both
to slow the spread and add to government research on ash borer
Another 165 trees were removed from the same area last February, some
15 of those sent to a Canadian Forest Service laboratory in Sault Ste.
Marie for tests with predatory wasps.
"Every tree that's been checked has been infested," said Ubbens,
adding he believes that using biological controls, such as wasps, is
the best hope of stopping the invasion.
The federal government has approved injections of Neem (in a product
called TreeAzin) as a pesticide that can kill ash borer larvae. The
city says TreeAzin could slow the spread and may "protect selected
high value ash trees for a certain period of time."
But though the city has injected 115 remaining ash trees in the
treatment zone with the pesticide as an experiment, Ubbens said it is
costly and can't stop the beetles on its own.
"It's like taking a vitamin, it's not the silver bullet," he added.
"It's kind of like trying to stop a waterfall with umbrellas."
The same Scarborough and North York area was the site of an unusual
experiment last year when researcher Philip Careless brought portable
wasp nests to the infestation's probable "ground zero," a corner of
Sheppard Avenue east of the 404, said Brian Hamilton of the Canadian
Food Inspection Agency.
Careless is working on "biosurveillance" of such infestations by using
a harmless hunting wasp called Cerceris fumipennis found in the hard-
packed soil around soccer fields, parking lots and baseball diamonds
in Southern Ontario. Knowing the wasp's foraging range, the researcher
has tried timing wasps returning to the nests with captured ash
borers, Hamilton said this week.
"The wasps find the emerald ash borer far more efficiently than we
Scientists have noticed woodpeckers and squirrels also eat the beetle.
Researchers in Canada and the U.S. are using components of the ash
tree to construct a trap for ash borers.
Still, their efforts likely won't stop ash trees in Ontario from
Hamilton, the CFIA's ash borer specialist in Ontario, considered it a
hopeful sign when the City of Windsor, where the infestation may have
run its course, reported 95 per cent mortality among its ash trees
While a five-per-cent survival rate is "not great odds" for individual
trees, it probably means ash species in Ontario won't be wiped out
entirely, likely because some trees can naturally resist the beetle,
The CFIA has overseen efforts to wipe out another invasive insect, the
Asian long-horned beetle, in parts of Vaughan and North York and has
posted signs warning against moving wood out of the infested area.
Hamilton said the agency has decided not to mark the ash borer
infestation with signs because it is moving too fast, though people in
Toronto could still face fines if they move wood outside the city.
- adults are seven to eight millimetres long, are shiny emerald or
coppery green and can be seen on ash trees from early June to late
- smaller creamy yellow or reddish brown eggs are hidden under bark or
- larvae create S-shaped galleries as they gain size under bark, adult
beetles leave D-shaped exit holes four millimetres wide
- increased attention by woodpeckers and squirrels may be a sign of
- report possible infestations to Canadian Food Inspection Agency
(www.inspection.gc.ca) by calling 1-866-463-6017
Mar 17, 2009
The Hamilton Spectator
Ash trees in dire trouble if destructive beetle spreads
You can kiss your ash goodbye.
Ash trees across Hamilton are doomed if the emerald ash borer spreads
from the east Mountain where a city forestry crew recently found
The tiny, bright green beetle first discovered in Windsor in 2002 is
blamed for killing millions of trees in southwestern Ontario, Michigan
and surrounding states.
All varieties of ash are susceptible, except mountain ash, which is
not a true ash tree.
The destructive insect has now been confirmed in Norfolk County,
Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto and, just before Hamilton, in Huron
Lindsay Burtenshaw, terrestrial ecologist at the Royal Botanical
Gardens, says a recent study showed 15 per cent of the trees around
Cootes Paradise are ash, but 80 per cent of tree seedlings sprouting
on the forest floor are ash, so there will have to be an effort to
promote regeneration of other species.
Tami Sadonoja, forestry health technician for the City of Hamilton,
says 8 per cent of city street trees are ash -- a smaller share than
in many cities -- but 80 per cent of the trees in Gore Park are ash.
There's no estimate of the number in other parks or on private
Brian Hamilton of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) says the
federal government can be expected to issue a quarantine order by late
this month or early April, when the beetles start flying to new host
trees. That order would prohibit all movement of firewood, nursery
stock and products made from ash, such as wood or bark chips.
The order would make it illegal to take firewood from your home to a
campsite or cottage outside the affected area, which could be the
The CFIA can order property owners to remove ash trees. It pays up to
$300 for purchase and planting of replacements.
LebanonTurf, Project EverGreen debut fertilizer calculator project
Mar 10, 2009
NEW PRAGUE, MN — A new program designed to calculate the efficiency of
fertilizer has been developed by LebanonTurf. Turf professionals using
the calculator on LebanonTurf's Web site who request more information
will trigger donations to Project EverGreen. LebanonTurf says through
use of its NutriLife fertilizer meta-catalyst, turf professionals can
save on fertilizer applications, promoting efficiency and cost-
savings. The NutriLife Fertilizer Calculator will assist lawn care
professionals in determining just how much fertilizer to apply to a
lawn. LebanonTurf will donate $5 to Project EverGreen for each end
user that requests additional information on the product.
Project EverGreen is a national initiative of Green Industry
companies, trade associations, end-users and other individuals created
to educate and inform consumers about the environmental, economic and
lifestyle benefits of well-maintained green spaces. The five-year-old
organization disseminates balanced information to consumers about the
tools needed to manage green spaces and conducts tangible projects
across the country demonstrating these benefits. LebanonTurf is among
the many contributors to Project EverGreen.
"NutriLife fertilizer meta-catalyst is designed to provide quality and
cost savings without compromise," says Mike Sisti, marketing manager,
LebanonTurf. "The product can improve fertilizer efficiency, cut
costs, increase root growth for better nutrient uptake, save labor and
handling, plus minimize environmental impact." Sisti adds that the
product allows for 25% less fertilizer per 1,000 square feet than the
same product without NutriLife. Meta-catalysts are an emerging
category in the fertilizer world.
Turf professionals are asked to go to www.projectevergreen.com/
and use the NutriLife Fertilizer Calculator. "Doing so will help you
do a more efficient job of managing your customers' lawns and provide
us a chance to donate $5 to Project EverGreen," Sisti says. "Project
EverGreen is the voice of reason for consumers about using the proper
tools to create a great landscape to enjoy. We are excited about this
Project EverGreen is well known for its GreenCare for Troops program,
which provides free lawn and landscape care for military families
where the major breadwinner is serving in the Armed Forces. Currently
there are more than 7,200 families and 2,000 volunteers signed up for
the three-year-old program. The organization also is conducting
extensive publicity programs in Akron, OH, and Milwaukee this summer
as part of its EverGreen Zone concept.
Project EverGreen Board President Chris Kujawa, owner of Kujawa
Enterprises, Inc. (KEI, Inc.), a landscape company in Milwaukee, says
the collaboration with LebanonTurf is another example of a Green
Industry company stepping up in the overall efforts to promote managed
"We applaud LebanonTurf for partnering on this project," Kujawa says.
"The company also has our logo on some of its fertilizer bags. This is
another way to help us get our message to the public. We encourage
contractors, lawn care operators and others to go to the Lebanon web
site and participate in this program."
For more information, contact Elizabeth Neiderhiser (phone
877/427-0627), director of strategic partnerships for Project
Headline News 3/14/2009
April is National Lawn Care Month
Share key facts with your customers about the environmental and
economic value of lawn care.
As spring arrives, 30 million acres of turf across the nation is
turning green and growing. PLANET observes the importance of lawns and
their aesthetic and environmental benefits during National Lawn Care
Month each April.
Share these facts with your customers:
• Well cared for lawns can significantly increase your clients’
• A healthy lawn is of utmost importance to our environment. A 50-foot
by 50-foot lawn produces enough oxygen for a family of four.
• Lawns cool the atmosphere. Eight healthy front lawns have the
cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning, which is enough for 16
• Grass converts carbon dioxide to oxygen, a process that helps clear
• Dense, healthy grass slows water runoff, removing contaminants and
trapping soil. Fresh, filtered water returns to the underground water
Be proactive in April and propose lawn care programs for your clients
that ensure both a healthy and beautiful lawn throughout the year.
Headline News 3/16/2009
Column: Social Media Marketing Basics for Landscape Professionals
Here's a simple game plan for getting started.
What actions should a green industry professional take to benefit from
social media marketing? Here is a simple game plan.
It's a Science
In earlier Lawn & Landscape columns I’ve commented on strategy and
culture as two vital considerations for making social media work to
your advantage. Strategy and culture should be on your mind before,
during and after the implementation of your initial plan. My tip is to
approach social media marketing as a science. The first three letters
of the word science will serve as a reminder of an appropriate game
plan. You always want to start with strategy, be alert to the culture
of the respective networks and then follow with your implementation -
The Primary Communities
If you think of social media sites as communities, your marketing job
will be much easier. Communities overlap, so get one started on one
site and then introduce that community to the next networking site.
That’s one approach. Another is to keep your communities defined by
criteria you preselect. For example, you could limit one site to
colleagues, another to friends and another to clients. This may not be
the best approach because this is a social network and the idea is to
build relationships that cross those boundaries. The point is you have
the flexibility to do what works best for you.
Blogging is the most effective activity for building a sustainable Web
presence. The search engines love blogs because they are frequently
updated with relevant news. Every blog post you make is a living
breathing document that is indexed by Google along with everything
that is connected with it – which includes your company Web site and
all of your social media networks. They all synergistically work to
make you visible to new customers in your market.
This is your “corner office” where you maintain a professional
networking database. I’ve found that people who typically guard their
identity, such as corporate executives, can be found on LinkedIn. You
can choose whether you allow those you are connected with to see your
connections, though most do. After all, this is the idea – to extend
your community by linking to others through your connections. You can
search for people and join groups to network with those who share
similar interests, and also survey your connections for feedback on a
number of things, such as a project you may be working on.
Think of Facebook as your “family room” where you let your hair down
and network mainly on a personal level. Since people like to do
business with people they like, this is a great opportunity to show
everyone who you are and what you do when you are not doing your
professional work. You can choose to be purely social and freewheeling
with your Facebook presence, or take this opportunity to showcase both
your personal life with a glimpse of your work. This is how many of us
YouTube.com is your personal television station. Let’s face it, people
love video! This is why YouTube gets so much traffic and why it is a
great tool for promoting your business. Video makes your message come
alive and that makes you more believable. My recommendation is to
create a three- to five-minute video that highlights your company’s
best work. Make it a “How To” format because that is one that is
searched for most often. Your videos don’t have to be slick. In fact,
I believe when a video has a raw quality its credibility is even
greater. Once you get a video on YouTube, it’s a simple matter of
cutting and pasting code to add it to your blog.
Twitter is a micro-blog that takes minutes to get started with, but
months to truly understand the strategy and culture. Think of Twitter
as your “interactive message board” – something like those digital
message boards you may see outside a bank, high school, or church.
This is how you use Twitter. You give people fresh news from your
life, celebrate successes, and generally share your expertise and
perspective of what’s going on in your world.
Like all of the other social media sites, you first set up a very
brief profile that is a slice of who you are on many levels. Then get
into the conversation by sending a message called a Tweet that is
limited to 140 characters. You do this by following people you find
interesting, and typically they will learn about your shared interests
and follow you back. The concept is what I call “socially acceptable
stalking.” Every Tweet is like a blog post; it creates a larger
footprint on the Web that helps you get found by new friends and
Keeping it Real
You will quickly find that social media networking and marketing
mirrors reality. If you are a giver who is readily available to help,
then you will make many friends online who will be there when you need
them. All you have to do is develop a social media strategy that is
aligned with your business objectives, choose social media sites that
best fit your strategy, and build community within the social media
platform so you can leverage its power.
Jeff Korhan helps companies maximize marketing results by
strategically building communities of fans and loyal customers. He is
the author of Strategic Social Media Marketing for Entrepreneurs. Jeff
can be reached at 630-774-8350 or email@example.com. He blogs at
* By: Jeff Korhan