Using pesticides on your lawn

A healthy lawn without pesticides

Did you know that a healthy lawn is less vulnerable to pests, weeds, drought and other problems?

Lawn pests can be any animal, plant, or other organism that is troublesome or can cause injury. When pests become a problem, many people rely on pesticides.

Pesticides can help you control a serious pest or weed problem and get you started on your way to having a healthy lawn.

However, long-term success depends on the overall health of your lawn. Using pesticides when pest numbers do not warrant it, or using pesticides on your lawn too frequently, are not recommended practices for attaining a healthy lawn.

To have a healthy lawn:

Integrated pest management

Integrated Pest Management is a way of dealing with pest problems in the most effective, environmentally friendly and cost-effective way. This can include pest prevention and using products and methods that are:

  • least hazardous to human health
  • least toxic to organisms not being targeted
  • least damaging to the general environment
  • most likely to result in a permanent reduction of the pest
  • easiest to carry out effectively
  • most cost-effective in the short- and long-term

For example, before using herbicides, try managing weeds in other ways by:

  • doing some occasional hand weeding
  • pouring boiling water on weeds growing between patio stones

Using pesticides

Health Canada encourages all Canadians to use pesticides responsibly and avoid overexposure.

Making and using homemade pesticides is not worth the risks to your health and the environment. Homemade pesticides have not been tested, and do not have label directions that explain precautions to take or safe use instructions.

Do not purchase a pesticide online unless it is a registered product from a Canadian retailer, and you are authorized to use it. Pesticides from foreign vendors may not be authorized for use in Canada, and may not be safe to use.

Important: Use a registered product

Only use a product registered for use in Canada. You can recognize a pest control product authorized by Health Canada by the Pest Control Product (PCP) number on the label, for example:

  • Reg. No. 00000 P.C.P. Act
  • Registration No. 00000 Pest Control Products Act

Some provinces and municipalities have placed restrictions on the use of certain lawn and garden pesticides. Check with your city or province for more information.

Follow all directions

When using a pesticide, always read and follow all directions on the label. The label tells you how to use the product safely so that it does not endanger your health or the environment. It also tells you how to handle, store and dispose of the product properly. The label is a legal document that must be followed exactly.

When using pesticides:

  • Make sure that the pesticide label says the product is for use on lawns and lists the pest you want to control.
  • Follow any local, regional, or provincial government regulations for use and disposal of unused products or empty containers.
  • Use any protective clothing, gloves, or other equipment specified on the label.
  • Store pesticides out of the reach of children and pets.

Use pesticides sparingly

To use pesticides sparingly, follow these tips:

  • Only apply it when and where the pest is present.
  • Only treat the problem area.
  • Time applications correctly to avoid the need for repeat treatments.
  • Try to buy only the amount of pesticide that you expect to use in one season. This helps you avoid the need to store and dispose of leftover pesticides.

Government of Canada's role

All pesticides must be registered before they can be imported, sold or used in Canada. We only register a pesticide when it works to control a pest. We also have to be reasonably certain that it will not cause harm to human health or the environment when used according to the label directions.

We place conditions on how pesticides can be used safely and effectively. We make sure the manufacturer includes these instructions on product labels. We also monitor and enforce the rules, to help ensure that pesticides are used properly.

For more information

See our Pest control tips for information on controlling common house and garden pests.

Pesticides and Pest Management

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