Friday, December 5, 2008

Promises, Promises- More McGuinty Promises

The Ontario Environment Minister in the McGuinty Liberal govermnment said on November 26, 2008 that his government has been adamant that they were going to implement the Cosmetic Pesticide by the growing season of 2009.

Hon. John Gerretsen: Well-and I appreciate the question-we have been very adamant on the whole pesticide situation that we were going to implement the new rules and regulations by the growing season of 2009. We have said that right from the very beginning, and we intend to do

Yet the governments EBR when comments were first requested on January 18, 2008 clearly states under "Timing" that there would be a phased in implementation of (e.g. 3 years).
Looks like another McGuinty promise.

Ontario's Hansard
Session: 39:1 Date: 20081126
View full text - size 348795 bytes
Partial text with relevant conversations are copied below.


Mr. John Yakabuski:
My question is for the Minister of the Environment. During the debate on Bill 64, the pesticide ban, you assured cemeteries that they would be exempt. We now find that you have broken your promise, but given your track record, nobody is surprised.
You further committed to comprehensive consultations with lawn care professionals to implement regulations in a sensible way, with a realistic timetable. You have gone back on your word to them as well.
If your government understood business at all, you would recognize that your regulations leave them no room and no time to plan or prepare for the 2009 growing season. Why can't you people keep your word?

Hon. John Gerretsen:
Well-and I appreciate the question-we have been very adamant on the whole pesticide situation that we were going to implement the new rules and regulations by the growing season of 2009. We have said that right from the very beginning, and we intend to do that.
But, as the member also knows, the final regulations are on the EBR right now. We're looking for comments from individuals. We've met with the same organizations that he has obviously met with within the last day or so. We are still reviewing the situation, and we'll be making a final determination shortly.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary.

Mr. John Yakabuski: Those regulations will be finalized in March, and that doesn't give anybody enough time.
Your regulations will, further, create the very strange situation of allowing individuals the right to apply class 7 pesticides, such as Grub Eliminator, but not allow professionals to do the same.
Many people, including seniors and the disabled, rely on professionals to take care of their properties-professionals who are trained to deal with the products in the safest possible manner, including not requiring the homeowner to deal with the storage or disposal of unused product.
Will you commit to correcting this blatant inconsistency immediately?

Hon. John Gerretsen: We know where this government stands on this particular issue. We want to protect children in the best way we know possible as far as banning the cosmetic use of pesticides is concerned.
We also realize that there are certain products that under certain circumstances could be used for purposes other than-

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The member from Renfrew, you just asked the question. I would ask that you be respectful and listen to the answer.

Hon. John Gerretsen:
As he well knows, there are certain products that can be used for different purposes. For those purposes, particularly when we're talking about indoor purposes, there will be a use of restricted products on that list that will be sold to individuals on an individual basis for those specific purposes.
We intend to bring in the best possible law, as we have done, and the best possible rules and regulations to make sure that the children of this province are-

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters):
Thank you, Minister.

I guess this is the naked truth about politics. Glad I'm in the lawn care business.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Get serious about the science! We’re all safer with science-based regulations

Get serious about the science!
We’re all safer with science-based regulations

Crop life has posted an easy to use "send to the Premier" letter on their website.
You can send a letter to your MPP as well. Here's what they say--

Canadians expect the laws governing the products they find on stores shelves to be based on sound scientific principles. Ontario’s draft regulations to ban the sale and use of some pesticides are seriously flawed because they are lacking in scientific criteria.

What does that mean?

  • why a specific product can – or cannot - be used or sold in Ontario has not been spelled out
  • what criteria are required for new products has not been defined, which makes it very difficult for companies to develop new solutions to pest problems
  • home landscapes – grass, trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetable gardens – appear to be defined as cosmetic and not worthy of protection
  • this government is closing the door on new product innovation in Ontario

We are asking the Government of Ontario go back to the drawing board and define the scientific criteria it will use to assess current products and future innovations so that homeowners and professionals will have access to the safest and most effective tools to manage legitimate pest problems.

Your voice counts!

Make sure the McGuinty government knows scientific criteria must be the cornerstone of these regulations.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Send in the letter below online to Premier McGuinty and Minister Garretson. It is easy. Just complete the attached fields and push send.

  2. Contact your Member of Provincial Parliament. Email, phone numbers and office addresses can be found at:

  3. Let department officials know what you think, too, by submitting comments through the Environmental Bill of Rights
    (The comment period ends December 22, 2008!)

Write the Premier and express your concerns.

Dear Premier McGuinty,

Ontario’s draft regulations to ban the sale and use of some pesticides are seriously flawed.

Like most Canadians, I expect the laws governing the products I can use to be based on sound scientific criteria. Since these draft regulations fail to provide any such criteria I ask that you develop scientific criteria and resume consultations once there is criteria to review.

Ontarians need to know:

  • why a specific product can – or cannot - be used or sold in Ontario
  • what criteria are desirable in new products so that companies can develop new solutions to common pest problems
  • why our home landscapes – grass, trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetable gardens – are defined as cosmetic and not worthy of protection
  • how this government plans to keep the door for new product innovation in Ontario open

We are all safer with science-based regulations.

Premier McGuinty, please get serious about the science! Go back to the drawing board and define the scientific criteria your government will use to assess current products and future innovations so that Ontarians will have access to the safest and most effective tools to manage legitimate pest problems.


Complete the remaining fields and SEND



If you don't know your MPP, click here


E-mail Address:



Note that your name, city, province and e-mail address will automatically be added to the end of the letter.

Go to their website- to send your letter-

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Please Comment

Please Comment on McGuinty’s Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Regulations

The Provincial government has just released the final list of products that will be banned under its Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Act.
Here is the website to view the information that has been proposed.

Essentially, after reading all the details
1. there will be no products available to effectively and economically control weeds in lawns.
2. there will not be effective and economical methods to control white grubs.
3. there will not be an effective way to control crabgrass once it has sprouted.
4. there will not be effective products to control weeds and grasses that sprout up in your driveways and patios.

Turf King-Hamilton does not support the draft Regulations as currently written.

•The regulations do not allow solutions that will prevent the destruction of Ontario’s lawns and landscapes from damaging pest infestations.

•The regulations do not create a level playing field. Dual use products will be available on the retail shelf.

Damaging Insect Infestations

•Viable, effective alternative solutions do not exist to control the wide range of insect pests threatening our green spaces. If they exist, what are they?

•While some may argue a few weeds in a lawn is deemed cosmetic and the use of a traditional herbicide to control them is non-essential, there can be no argument that damaging insect infestations that risk the destruction of our lawns and landscapes goes beyond cosmetic.


1. Provide Regulations to allow the prescribed use, by licensed professionals, of two otherwise banned pesticides on the Class 9 list.

•Granular Merit containing Imidacloprid (for grub control) Granular Merit is less toxic than table salt.
•Deltamethrin (for chinch bug and sod webworm control)

This prescribed use would be conditional upon requirements as outlined in the Landscape Ontario document “Prescribed Use Compliance Criteria and Protocols” previously submitted to the Ministry of Environment. These conditions include:

- IPM Accreditation (similar to what the draft Regulations outline for golf courses) and the operational requirements associated with it.

- Insect infestations must exceed threshold levels, as currently outlined by Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, before the Class 9 pesticide can be considered for use.

2. Remove pyrethrins from the Class 9 banned list.

•Pyrethrins are currently exempt under all Ontario pesticide by-laws.

3. Remove products that are on Health Canada's Reduced Risk list from the Class 9 banned list.

•Inclusion of Health Reduced Risk products on the Ontario banned list will be a road block to the future development and introduction of reduced risk products in Ontario.

•This must provide clear criteria, and not an arbitrary decision framework. This legislation must not hinder the development of low risk, alternative, products. As currently written, it will.

4. Allow for a phase-in of Section 17 of the Regulations (Class 9 banned list).

•Given that Regulations will not be finalized until well into the New Year., a phased in period of at least one year is required to allow business to plan, price and market.

•Allowing a phase-in will prevent the needless environmental impact of pesticide waste disposal. The Health Canada amendment of pesticide labeling customarily involves a reasonable phase-in period to allow products with expired labels to be used accordingly. Municipal pesticide by-laws typically involve a phase-in period.

•The availability or development of alternative products requires a phase-in period.

Here is the website to submit your comment.Please do so before December 22/2008

Ideally, put your comments in your own words as that will carry more weight.

I will tell you that when the legislation was first proposed, many people sent in a form comment that simply said they were opposed. So the government said this many people agreed with the proposed legislation and ignored the numerically smaller but detailed comments of those who opposed it. So, it is better to comment with your opposition (even if it is a form reply) than to do nothing.

Recommended comments.

  • I am a homeowner and voter in the municipality of ___________
  • I oppose the removal of Merit insecticide as a tool to prevent damage to my lawn from insects such as white grubs.
  • I oppose the removal of 2,4-D herbicide products used to prevent weed damage to my lawn and to potentially lower my property value.
  • Licensed and IPM trained Companies should be allowed to treat when infestations occur.
  • What happened to the 3 year phase in promised when the bill was announced? Delay implementation at least until the spring of 2010.
  • A further phase-in period for Class 9 pesticides (banned ingredients)
  • The addition to Class 11 (certain biopesticides and naturally occurring pesticides) of anything classified as a Reduced Risk Pesticide by the PMRA
Copy your comments to your local MPP.

(You can look up your MPP's contact information by his/her name or the riding name at If you do not know either name, go to the Postal Code lookup function at Elections Ontario at , then go back and plug the riding name into the member search list. If you have any difficulty, call Counsel Public Affairs at 416-920-0716, ext 223 (Marisa Lamont) or 224 (Katie Robb.)

If you have any questions please feel free to email us at or call us at 905.318.6677.

Visit our website

Note on Merit Granular Grub Preventer
How are you to keep up the value of our homes when there will not be any effective means to control insects on your lawn. This does not make sense. Lawn care companies cannot use Merit to prevent grubs from damaging your lawn. Granular Merit for lawns contains 0.5% Imidacloprid. and it is not allowed to be used on the lawn.

See for details.

In the meantime, on page 30 of the list of pesticides in Class 6 , (That class of pesticides that can sold to anyone by anyone, see the Table in section 95 of the draft legislation ) contains a number of cat and dog flea products that contain the same Imidacloprid. Guess what the concentration is in the Flea product - 9.1% imidacloprid.

Directions on the label to say to keep children from touching the pet until the product dries? but after that you can pet that cat immediately. No warning sign to keep off for 48 hours??

Where is the consistency? Merit 0.5 granular should be on the list of allowed products.It is less toxic than table salt.
(Merit granular LD50 is 4820mg/kg)
Table salt LD 50 is 3000 mg/kg (lower LD50 = more poisonous)


Copied from page 30

News Release

For immediate release November 7, 2008
McGuinty Government Asks Ontarians To Comment On Ban Details
The province is asking Ontarians to comment on the specifics of its cosmetic pesticides ban.
In particular, the public is being asked to comment on:
• the proposed lists of pesticides (products and ingredients) banned for use and banned or restricted for sale,
• the rules for pesticide use on golf courses,
• the exceptions to the ban for public health or safety reasons.
A draft regulation containing the specifics is posted on the Environmental Registry at (#010-5080), and can also be found on the ministry’s website at Comments will be accepted until December 22, 2008. The government will consider all comments before finalizing the regulation, expected to occur in spring 2009.
• The Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act, passed in June, amended the Pesticides Act, which sets out the rules for the transportation, storage and disposal of pesticides..

“The easiest thing to find on God's green earth is someone to tell you all the things you cannot do.” Richard M. DeVos

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fall Deep Root Feeding Pays Off

It’s not too late for 2008
Call Now for Healthier Trees & Shrubs
Deep root feed your trees and shrubs this fall. Once the plants have started to turn colour, growth has stopped and it is safe to apply nutrients to the root zone. (If fed too early, the presultant plant growth will not have enough time to harden off before winter.)
When fed in Late October through early November, the nutrients are taken up by the tree and shrub roots and are there ready to be used for the Spring growth.
We were exploring the gardens in Hampton Court Palace this summer in London England.We were amazed to see these enormous yew trees. Here in Canada, we see very few yews of any size. At Hampton Court, there were yews with trunks that were easily 18 inches or more in diameter. Hampton Court was built in the 1500 to 1600's. These huge yews could be several hundred years old.
 Old Yew Hampton Court.
If you would like a deep root feeding, please email us at or call us at 905.318.6677.
More Tree & Shrub info at our website 
Or our Library.

Amaryllis are Easy to Enjoy

Easy to Love! Easy to Grow!

Amaryllis are one of the easiest bulbs to grow and one of the most spectacular.

The Bulb

Bigger is better. Select a larger bulb, that is firm to the touch. A few dried roots are normal, but most of the roots should be firm

Be careful not to overwater. Water the plant when the top 1/2 inch of soil is dry.

As a rule, the stems and flowers will appear before the leaves. The plant grows quickly and you will need to remember to rotate the pot every couple of days so that your stem grows straight and does not lean towards the light. Expect one or two stems with four blossoms each about 6-7 weeks after planting.
This is a photo of one we grew this winter at home.

(The Huntington Society is selling amaryllis to help fund Huntington’s Disease research-

If you have a lawn/tree/shrub that needs some Tender Loving Care- get The KING OF GREEN:
or call us at 905.318.6677 or 1.888.TURFKING (887.3546)
If you would like more information, please Contact us
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Copyright 2008 Turf King-Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Green survey: Your opinion counts!

Green survey: Your opinion counts!

Would you like to see your family live a greener life? Ontario’s garden centres, nursery growers, landscape contractors and other horticultural experts do important work toward that goal.

If you would like to see some experimental ideas to capture that message visually, please click HERE to complete a simple three-step survey.

Your opinion counts, and thanks for participating!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Baby Gypsy Moth Caterpillars have Hatched

Peter from Maplecrest Homes had mentioned to me that he had found gypsy moth caterpillars that had hatched. So this weekend, I was at the Royal Botanical Gardens . At the Lilac Gardens, there are oak trees all around the parking circle. I know that there were gypsy moth caterpillars there last spring. Sure enough, you could see the little devils just starting to crawl around on the egg sacs. At this stage, they haven't started to do any damage yet.

This year could be another bad year for gypsy moth caterpillars. Certain areas were devastated by the defoliation caused by these hungry, voaracious leaf chewing insects.
Certainly, defoliation can be very stressful on the plants and successive defoliations can possibly lead to the demise of a tree.

For the major trees that are 4 inches in diameter or more, we recommend the use of Acecaps. With Acecaps, the capsules will place a systemic insecticide into the sap stream of the tree. Once the sap has the insecticide in it, the leaf of the trees containing that sap is now unhealthy for the caterpillars.
The advantage of Acecaps is that they can be applied without affecting anything else. There is no need to worry about cars, people who may be in the vicinity. The Acecaps also will last the entire season and its effect is not washed away by rain.

For smaller trees and shrubs, we have an organic insecticide that will knock out the caterpillars. It also greatly reduces damage by acting as an anti-feedant.

If you have any questions about gypsy moth caterpillars see our Library - Gypsy Moth Caterpillars or do a search of our website for more blog entries.

If you have a lawn/tree/shrub that needs some Tender Loving Care- get The KING OF GREEN:
or call us at 905.318.6677 or 1.888.TURFKING (887.3546)
If you would like more information, please Contact us
Follow us on Twitter
Join our Facebook page  

Copyright 2008 Turf King-Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

This time of year we get to see a whole range of lawns. Some are good, some are in poor shape, and some are in between. Hence "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly." The pictures, however, may not be in that order!

Regular feeding of the lawn is an important part of having a great lawn. The dappled shade on the good lawn brings out the nice green tones of the turf.

In a lawn where insects have been a problem, the good lawn species are destroyed, the coarse thick, undesirable quack grasses have a chance to spread more, and the weeds jump into the bare spots. This means that this lawn will require some work to get it back into shape.

If you have a lawn/tree/shrub that needs some Tender Loving Care- get The KING OF GREEN:
or call us at 905.318.6677 or 1.888.TURFKING (887.3546)
If you would like more information, please Contact us
Follow us on Twitter
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Copyright 2008 Turf King-Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, April 18, 2008

WinterKill on bentgrass lawns

Bentgrass is not a grass or turf species that is desirable in home lawns. This winter has been hard on a lot of bentgrass patches in lawns. Here is one where the entire patch of bentgrass has turned brown. If Georgina (her lawn in the picture) is lucky, the bentgrass will have died and it can be replaced with a more desirable mix of turfgrasses. Knowing, however, that Murphy’s law is usually at work in these circumstance, it is most likely that the damaged bentgrass will perk up in a few weeks and be a green and healthy as ever. While bentgrass is easily affected by winterkill and will be brown and dead looking in the early spring, it rarely completely die out. It’s just the upper foliage that has turned brown. Once the weather and the soil warms up, it will recover and be ready to spread out and overrun other parts of the lawn.

If your lawn is showing a great deal of bentgrass that has winter killed, you may want to take this opportunity to give it a hard raking to get rid of the dead stems and to thin out the unwanted bentgrass. Then add some soil and a high quality grass seed mix. This will thin out the bentgrass for a while. Be forewarned, however, that there will likely be enough bentgrass left that in a few years it will be back as thick and strong as ever.

If you have a lawn/tree/shrub that needs some Tender Loving Care- get The KING OF GREEN:
or call us at 905.318.6677 or 1.888.TURFKING (887.3546)
If you would like more information, please Contact us
Follow us on Twitter
Join our Facebook page  

Copyright 2008 Turf King-Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 14, 2008

What do I do if I find white grubs in the spring?

In the spring, many people will find grubs in their lawns (or the skunks and raccoons find them and leave a big mess.) The good thing is that the skunks are getting rid of the grubs. If you could just teach them to put the grass back after they have taken the grubs out, I’m sure we could hire them out as grub eradicators.

Generally speaking, we wouldn’t recommend trying to treat for grubs at this time of year. And why not?
First of all, most of the damage grubs do to you lawn is done in the fall. By spring, they are not feeding very much. In a few weeks, the grubs will pupate, and then turn into adults. The adults, then fly around, mate and the females lay eggs on lawns. The cycle then starts all over again.
Secondly, at this time of year, a grub treatment is generally not worth the cost. The products available to control grubs do not work as well in the spring. The grubs are bigger and need more insecticide to control them.
Sometimes if the raccoons and skunks are a problem, people may think that a treatment is worthwhile. The problem with this is that even with an grub control in the spring, the grubs will continue to live for a week or two, and the animals may continue to come to rip up your lawn any ways.
Controlling the grubs in the spring is good for your neighbourhood, but not necessarily for your lawn. If there are less grubs in your lawn now, there will be less adults flying in the neighbourhood. But since the adults can fly, even if we were able to get rid of all the grubs in your lawn in the spring, it doesn’t mean that the adults from down the road or across the street won’t fly over this summer and decide to lay their eggs on your lawn.
Helping out the neighbourhood is great for everyone in the neighbourhood, but not necessarily for your lawn. And since you are the one paying for the treatment, we recommend doing what is best for your lawn.
The first thing is to fix the grub damage. Feed the lawn to improve its health. Add seed to the areas that are damaged to fill in the bare spots.
Then we recommend that your consider using Merit this summer to protect your lawn from the next generation. The eggs laid in the summer turn into “baby” grubs. Baby grubs are the dangerous ones. They have to get fat enough to survive the winter. So, they feed on grass roots all fall. This is when the greatest damage is done to your lawn.
Merit is the most effective way to prevent grubs. And Merit protects your lawn. Merit is taken up by your lawn and if the grubs take a bite, they will die. Merit is much safer than the older insecticides. The old insecticides affect insects, worms, birds and mammals. Merit is very specific in that it is a new type of insecticide. It is of low toxicity. In fact, it is used in products directly on the skin of cats and dogs. Advantage is a flea control product from Bayer. It contains the same active ingredient as Merit.

If you have a lawn/tree/shrub that needs some Tender Loving Care- get The KING OF GREEN:
or call us at 905.318.6677 or 1.888.TURFKING (887.3546)
If you would like more information, please Contact us
Follow us on Twitter
Join our Facebook page  

Copyright 2008 Turf King-Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Toxicity of Coffee versus common Lawn weed killers(2,4-D)

How do 2,4-D mixtures used to kill weeds on lawns compare in toxicity to coffee?

2,4-D is a common weed killer used in lawn care programs to keep dandelions and other weeds out of lawns. How toxic is this commonly used pesticide? Do you still want to drink coffee?

According to . . . “Although the United States hasn't yet developed guidelines for caffeine intake and kids, Canadian guidelines recommend that preschool children get no more than 45 milligrams of caffeine a day. That's equivalent to the average amount of caffeine found in a 12-ounce (355-milliliter) can of soda or four 1.5-ounce (43-gram) milk chocolate bars.” Or also the amount found in a cup of coffee.

From Wikipedia, we find that “The median lethal dose (LD50) of caffeine is 192 milligrams per kilogram in rats.” The wikipedia article also states that “In general, one serving of coffee ranges from 40 milligrams, for a single shot (30 milliliters) of arabica-variety espresso, to about 100 milligrams for a cup (120 milliliters) of drip coffee.

On the toxicity of 2,4-d, Wikipedia says “The LD50 . . . according to US EPA 2,4-D Reregistration Eligiblity Decision, 2006, is 639 mg/kg.” This means that the main herbicidal ingredient used in common lawn weed killer mixtures is 3 time LESS toxic than caffeine.

2,4-D is usually found in a mixture. If one were to use the LD50 of Killex a common retail product – the LD50 is listed as 375 mg/kg- which would make it only HALF as toxic as caffeine.

But what about the toxicity in its common form. For coffee- LD50 192 milligrams per kilogram with 40 milligrams per 120 milliliter cup. This calculates that a 1 kg rat would have to drink 192/40 = 4.8 cups of coffee to get the 192 milligrams of caffeine to provide a Lethal Dose to 50% of the population. At 120 ml per cup that would mean 576 millilitres of coffee.

According to, an average female weighs 162 pounds (=162/2.24= 72 kg). This means this average female would have to drink 4.8 cups times 72 kg or 561 cups of coffee to receive a lethal dose of caffeine.

How about 2,4-D is in a spray mixture? According to , the LD50 for the Killex mixture is >5000 mg/kg.

If Killex weighs similar to water, then 1 ml weighs 1 mg. Which means the poor rat would have to drink/ingest 5000 ml or 5 litres of Killex concentrate to receive a lethal dose.

Therefore compared to coffee, Killex concentrate is 5000/576 is 8 times less toxic than coffee.

Since Killex ( a common weed control mixture) is normally used in a mix the same rate would need a large volume of Killex mixture. The suggested rate is 5.5 Litres per hectare in 300-1,500 Litres. Using the most concentrated rate would mean 5.5 L/300 Litres or 5500 ml/300 litres or which equals 55ml/3 litres or 19 ml/litre Therefore to get 500 mg of Killex into that poor rat, he would need to ingest 5000/19 = 263 litres of Killex mixture.

In comparison, therefore the weed killer sprayed on lawns is 263 litres/.576 litres or 456 times LESS toxic than coffee. Weed killer spray is 456 times LESS toxic than Coffee.

Or Coffee is 456 time MORE TOXIC than weed killer.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ontario Turfgrass Symposium Summary Day Two

Ontario Turfgrass Symposium Summary Day Two
More snippets from the Symposium
First speaker was Dr Alan Watson from McGill University talking about Sarritor. See our earlier blog entries about this new organic dandelion control.
Dr Sophie Rochefort of Viridis-Conseil presented information on Lawn Biodiversity-Debunking the Myth. Traditional view holds that a lawn has a lower biodiversity than natural ecosystems. And people tend to think that a monoculture is more likely to have pest problems. Her research has shown that there is a tremendous variety of arthropod (insects, archnids, and other) species and organisms living in a lawn. Given the large variety of arthropods, some of her work focused on Collembola or springtails.
A lawn can hold from 10 to 46 thousand individuals per square metre. The numbers were comparable to the populations in a prairie ecosystem or in a field crop. The population was also similar for newly established lawns and for a 10 year old lawn. Her work showed that even after pesticide applications, the population numbers were affected in a minor way and only for a short period of time.
Dr Ken Carey from the Guelph Turfgrass Institute spoke about his work on “Water Use Requirements for Turf Establishment.” His research shows that although different seeding or sodding methods can be used to renovate or repair damaged lawns, the most critical factor in getting the new lawn to establish was the amount of water. Not enough water and seeds will fill in slowly. Not enough water and sod roots will dry out and die. Given lots of water, establishment is faster and the density will be greater.
Ken Pavely from Dol Turf Restoration spoke about Lawn Renovation Techniques. One of his recommendations was to apply Kelp to overseeded lawns. Kelp is to grass seedlings as Steroids are to baseball players. His experience showed that an application of kelp to lawns that were establishing poorly was able to speed up the seedling growth to the place where the poor lawn was no different from the good lawn.
Dr. Eric Lyons from the University of Guelph discussed root growth. Dr Lyons stressed how “Healthy turf = Better roots” and “Better roots = Healthy turf.” The most important factor in producing good roots is mowing height. The higher the mowing height- the deeper the roots. The second factor is water. The third factor is nutrients. But, nutrients cannot be taken up by grass roots without moisture. Therefore watering is more important than nutrition when it comes to developing strong roots.
Dr Katerina Jordan also spoke on root systems. Stresses can greatly impact the health of a lawn. Stresses can include soil compaction, excessive thatch, incorrect mowing, insects and disease. In all cases, a healthy root system is better able to withstand poor conditions. So while correcting poor soil or poor mowing habits is important, keeping the lawn roots healthy will go a long way in reducing the negative effects of the various stresses and pests that lawns face.
Click here to request a quote online or Phone 905.318.6677 or 1.888.TURFKING

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ontario Turfgrass Symposium Summary Day One

Ontario Turfgrass Symposium Summary Day One
One can always learn a thing or two by listening carefully to what seminar speakers have to say. Sometimes it is the same old, same old. Yet those “same olds” are often the important foundations to what we do and how we do what we do. Hearing them again can only serve to reinforce their importance and to remind us of how to improve our lawn care service.
Dr Tom Hsiang, from the University of Guelph spoke on “Neurotic and Rusty”

After the ice breaker, he got right down to business with a talk on 2 turf diseases- Necrotic Ring Spot disease and Rust disease.
Necrotic ring spot is a lawn disease that is associated with sod and compacted soils. Certainly the conditions at new home construction sites are often not conducive to the best growing conditions for new sod. The roots of the sod have been trimmed off, and the poor soil conditions can lead to a greater chance for infection.
Necrotic ring spot infection often occurs during the spring when the soil is moist, and temperatures are between 10-20 degrees Celsius. Spores or mycelia in the thatch infect the root of susceptible lawn varieties such as Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescues. The symptoms may not appear for 12-18 months later. Those symptoms include sunken, dead or dying patches 4 inches to 2 feet across. Typically there is a green center or frog’s eye.
For control, there is no easy one shot method. Basically, Dr Hsiang says there are 3 things to do.
1. encourage deep rooting by aerating and proper nutrient applications
2. promote growth in the spring and fall, but to reduce summer succulence (soft tissues)
3. overseed with resistant grasses- perennial ryegrasses.
Rust disease is a disease that attacks perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass. During the summer, yellow-orange spots on the leaf blades produce millions of spores that are sent through the air to infect more grass blades. This disease’s symptoms are more prevalent during dry summers, even though infection occurs during wet springs.
To control rust outbreaks, Dr Hsiang recommends 2 things.
1. Increase the mowing height as this will cause the grass to grow faster
2. increase the mowing frequency.
Since the disease has 2 week latent period, the grass can outgrow the symptoms.
Nancy Hudson of the Newfoundland and Labrador Horticulture Producers’ Council presented her research on the use of vacuums to reduce chinch bug damage. Her research has shown that vacuuming can be an effective method of chinch bug control. By physically removing the chinch bugs from the lawn, the damage is stopped. However, the vacuums used in research plots are not practical in everyday situations. The next step is to use the results to adapt vacuums so that they can be purchased and used economically.
Dr Sophie Rochefort of Viridis-Conseil presented information on the use of Endophytic Turfgrasses to control chinch bug . An endophyte is a fungus that lives inside a plant in a symbiotic relationship. The endophyte produces alkaloids that affect insect pest responses.
The first response is antixenosis –which really means that the insect pest will show a negative preference to an endophytic grass. It will feed on a non-endophytic grass before feeding on an endophytic grass.

The second response is antibiosis – here the insect pest feeding and reproduction are affected to such a degree as to reduce damage to the host plant.
Endophytic grasses also show resistance to rust disease, better drought and stress tolerance, as well as increased plant vigour and growth.
Certain perennial ryegrasses have been shown to exhibit endophytic properties.
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© Copyright 2008 Turf King-Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New Organic Dandelion Control

We met with Jeff Watson, the President of Sarritor. Sarritor is the name of the company and the name of a new Organic Dandelion Fungus that will control dandelions and other broadleaf weeds in lawns. Sarritor is a "naturally occuring weed control." This may be the breakthrough that will change organic lawn care.
We first spoke about Sarritor in our blog in December. New Dandelion Control- Made in Canada
Jeff Watson has been working with his father, Dr Alan Watson, the "inventor" of Sarritor since December 2004. Aong with dandelion, Sarritor will control a long list of weeds including: thistle, white clover, burdock, ox-eye daisy, Canada fleabane, plantain, yarrow, Chicory, Canada thistle, wild strawberry and more. It even works reasonably well on wild violets, one weed that is hard to control with the traditional herbicides.

The product is applied in granular form. The fungus is impregnated on barley grits. The product needs to be moistened by irrigating or rainfall within 12 hours. Once the product is moistened, the fungus starts to grow with white mycelium.

The white mycelia will invade any susceptible plants that are nearby. In a few days the white mycelia disappears, but by then it's too late for the weeds. The dandelion will die in 7-10 days when the temperatures are 18-22 degrees Celsius. If the weather is cooler, the weeds may take up to 2 weeks to die. Although tough old dandelions may need more than one application, young dandelions are controlled with a single treatment.

Fortunately, for lawns, grasses have a natural resistance to this particular fungal disease. The product should be kept away from vegetable and flower plants as the fungus can cause these kinds of plants to die as well.
One advantage of Sarritor over the old herbicides is that it can be applied in the rain. Since the fungus needs moisture to be activated, applying the product in the rain is not a problem. However, high temperatures can de-activate the fungus, and Sarritor should not be applied if the temperature is expected to be over 30 degrees Celsius.

Sarritor has no safety issues that some biologicals may encounter. It does not reproduce by spores. It does not produce toxins. It does not persist in the environment. It does not spread.

Jeff Watson expects that large scale production will begin for the 2009 season. A manufacturing facility is expected to be up and running, but supplies may be limited for the first year.

If you did not use Turf King Lawn Care in 2015- Ask for a St Patrick's Day Discount. Expires March 17, 2016

If you have a lawn/tree/shrub that needs some Tender Loving Care- get The KING OF GREEN:
or call us at 905.318.6677 or 1.888.TURFKING (887.3546)
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Copyright 2008 Turf King-Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, February 8, 2008

New Insecticide Registration

A new insecticide is now available for use on home lawns to control insects such as Chinch Bug, Ants, and Sodweb worm. DeltaGard , is a third generation synthetic pyrethroid that in addition to formulation improvements provides, superior knockdown activity at much lower use rates than exhibited in previous generations of this insecticide family.
Pyrethroids are essentially man made versions of a natural insecticide (pyrethrins) derived from chrysanthemum plants that is found in nature. This class of insecticides generally exhibits beneficial characteristics that include high toxicity to insects, low toxicity to humans and fast degradation in the environment.

By low toxicity, we mean that the LD50 of Deltagard is in the range of “greater than 15,000 mg/kg.” This means that in comparison to table salt, deltamethrin (the active ingredient) is 5 times LESS toxic. Sodium chloride or table salt has an LD50 of 3,000 mg/kg. See our library entry Safety Issues- Toxicity & LD50 .

Here at Turf King Hamilton, we will continue to use organic insecticides in our Lawn Care programs where possible. If the situation is such that an particular stubborn infestation needs a pesticide treatment, it is good to know that an insecticide of very low mammalian toxicity such as Deltagard is now available.
In the meantime, if you have any questions, please give us a call at 905.318.6677 or visit or website

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Does your Lawn Season starts with Too Many Phone Calls?

Some of our competitors are already manning the phones -calling and bothering homeowners about their lawn care programs. Trying to sign up new customers. I heard that last year, one company was offering customers of Company B $50 off if they would switch. So this year I hear Company B is offering customer of Company A to switch to them.

Turf King Hamilton does not telemarket the general public. Your privacy and respect are important to us. We want to treat you as we would like to be treated- and we don't like to be called by telemarketers at suppertime. (We will be calling our customers from last year to make sure that they are wanting to continue to have us look after their lawns for the upcoming year.)
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In December, 22007, the CRTC announced that Bell will administer the Do-Not-Call list for Canada . While this list was announced a while ago, the wheels of bureaucracy are slowly turning and things should be in place by next fall.
For more information from the CRTC about current rules on telemarketing contact What is surprising is that there are restrictions on the time of day that a telemarketer can send faxes, but there is no restriction on the times to make phone calls.
In the meantime, if someone does call you, and you want a second opinion on your lawn, please give us a call at 905.318.6677 or visit or website

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Art of More Paths

Lawns can be more than just a lawn in a garden.
A garden is are considered to be made up of trees, plants, flowers and flower beds. Certainly all of these elements are an integral and important part of a garden. Sometimes, lawns are sometimes looked upon as just the green stuff, the filler if you will between the flamboyant and colourful beds of well-designed and beautiful flowers and shrubs.

But, in reality, the lawn is more than just filler. It is the adhesive that binds all these sometimes diverse and varied elements together. The lawn can be a frame for the flowers. And, it can be the canvas on which the garden is painted.

We visited the Brookgreen Gardens in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina a few years ago. Here in addition to being the background for the camellias and azaleas, the lawns are also there to enhance the many figurative statues that grace the 9,200 acre site.

The photo I took is of the The Live Oak Allee garden. These 250 year old live oaks trees were planted in the early 1700s when Brookgreen Gardens was a thriving rice plantation. These inspiring matriarchs frame this garden space like a living cathedral. But here, also the lawn is an important element in allowing the visitor to take in all the beauty.

For more about lawns visit

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


On November 20, 2007, the following headline appeared on the Premier's website.

Part of the election promise was "Legislation to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides to be introduced in the spring of 2008."

Between now and February 17, 2008 the Environmental Registry is accepting public comment on just how this legislation should be crafted.

This is what the website lists the purpose of the proposal and contains a link where comments can be submitted.

If you have any questions you would like Turf King to answer, please email us at or visit our website to send us a comment.

The purpose of this proposal is to inform the public of the government's policy intent to implement a ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides, and solicit feedback from the public as the government considers policy options relating to the following:

1. Determining the Scope of the Ban

The proposed ban would apply to cosmetic uses of pesticides, those intended to improve the appearance of lawns, gardens, parks and school yards. Do you have any comments on the proposed scope?

The proposed ban would allow pesticides to be used in situations where it is warranted to help ensure public health (for example, to fight West Nile virus). Are there other situations where the use of pesticides should be allowed?

2. Sale of Cosmetic Pesticides

Other jurisdictions have banned the sale of pesticides used solely for cosmetic purposes while municipalities in Ontario have regulated the use of certain pesticides . Should the province consider banning the sale of those pesticides used solely for cosmetic purposes?

3. Exemptions/Restrictions

It is proposed that uses of pesticides for the purposes of agriculture and managed forests would be exempt, as they are already governed by stringent rules on the storage and application of pesticides.

The government indicated that the focus of the ban would be on “towns and cities, and not on restrictions on rural residents.” Do you have any comments on this approach?

4. Exemptions for Golf Courses

It is proposed that golf courses would also be exempt, but would be required to develop plans to limit the environmental impact of pesticides. Should the government consider setting out minimum requirements for the plans developed by golf course owners/operators? What should the requirements include?

5. Timing

The government proposes to introduce legislation in the spring of 2008, with a phased-in implementation (e.g. 3 years).