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Know Your Enemy And Have A Weed Free Summer


Spring is just around the corner, and along with the smell of earth and fresh air comes the
tenacious weeds. Some are annual, some perennial, but they all have one thing in
common; they WILL take over your garden unless you tackle them early.

When weeds are first coming up in the spring, you can either use a hoe or pull them out
by hand. When doing larger areas you may find it easier to use a hoe or cultivator. This will
pop off the tops of the weeds, bring them to the surface and allow them to dry out in the sun.
After doing this consistently a few times, you will eventually kill off the weed, because it will
weaken and not be able to send out any new growth. However if you are dealing with a weed
that has lectomorphic rhizomes i.e.: quack grass, you will need to fork them out to get all the
roots. Each tiny piece of root left in the ground will grow another plant. The best method of
weeding is to get the entire root out the first time, saving time later on.

Garden and turf weeds most encountered in this area

Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale) – Perennial
Reproduces by seed, each plant can produce up to 5 000 seeds, so it’s very important to pull out or knock the head off before the flower sets. It will compete with your grass or garden plants for moisture and nutrients, and is a host for aster yellows.

Creeping Bellflower (Campanula Rapunculoides) – Perennial
Reproduces by seed or creeping rhizomes and is difficult to eradicate. Serious problem for lawns as it competes, robbing it of moisture and nutrients.

Quack Grass (Elytrigia Repens) – Perennial
Reproduces by seed or underground rhizomes that may spread up to 3 meters per year and give rise to more than 200 new shoots. Produces a chemical that can suppress the growth of other plants.

Creeping Woodsorrel (Oxalis Corniculata) – Perennial
Reproduced by seed, and creeping stems will often root at the nodes.

Common Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) – Perennial
Reproduces by seed (each plant can produce up to 4 000 seeds) and rhizomes that allow the plant to form large colonies.

Common Groundsel (Senecio Vulgaris) – Annual
Reproduces by seed only, but can produce 4 generations in one season, thus a single seed can produce over 1 billion seeds and can flower below 0 ºC. Alternate host for aster yellows, lettuce mosaic viruses.

Lambs Quarters (Chenopodium Album) – Annual
Reproduces by seed, each plant can produce over 500 000 seeds and can remain viable in the soil for up to 40 years. Rapid grower, can crowd out a crop entirely if not kept in check.

Barnyard Grass (Echinochloa Crusgalli) – Annual
Reproduces from seed or lower nodes of stems when they come in contact with soil. Ranked 3rd among the world’s worst weeds, it can consume 60 – 80% of the available nitrogen in your soil.

Common, or Round Leaved Mallow (Malva Neglecta) – Annual
Reproduces by seeds that may remain dormant in the soil for up to 100 years. Alternate host for aster yellows, hollyhock mosaic and tomato spotted wilt.

Black Medick (Medicago Lupulina) – Annual
Also known as trefoil, reproduces by seed. Can be a real problem in lawns

Annual Sow Thistle (Sonchus Oleraceous) – Annual
Reproduces by seed only, each plant can produce 26 000 seeds that are viable for up to 8 years, and is an alternate host for aster yellows and cucumber mosaic.

Purslane (Portulaca Oleracea) - Annual
Reproduces by seed and will root at the nodes. Uprooted plants are able to ripen seeds and may survive long enough to grow new roots.

Natural Lawn Care

1. Chose the Right Grass
Choose drought-tolerant grass seeds and spread them on your lawn every fall (over-seed).
A thick lawn will crowd out weeds.

2. Mow High
To discourage weeds, keep your lawn mower blade at a height of 7 cm (3 inches). Never
cut off more than one-third of the grass stem at a time.

3. Grasscycle
Leave your grass clippings on the lawn to return nutrients to the soil. This will reduce your
need for fertilizer by 30 percent. Clippings are mainly water so they add moisture to your lawn.
Best achieved with a mulching deck. If your mower leaves large clumps of grass on your lawn,
you must rake it up to avoid brown spots on your lawn from suffocating the grass under the clump.

4. Top-Dress and Fertilize
Once a year in the fall, use a slow-release granular fertilizer or apply a top layer of natural organic
matter such as compost (top-dress).

5. Let Your Lawn Breathe
Once a year, remove small plugs of earth to allow air and water to get to the roots (aerate). A
pesticide-free lawn will encourage earthworms, nature's aerators.

6. Water the roots
Let your lawn soak up 2-3 cm (1 inch) of water, once a week, early in the morning, to promote
deep root growth. If it has rained, adjust your watering. Use a rain gauge to measure water levels.

7. Remove Thatch
Thatch, a thick compacted layer of dead plants and grass, attacks harmful insects. Too much
thatch stops water and nutrients from getting to the roots. Remove thatch by gently raking your
lawn in late spring or early summer. Aerate. To prevent thatch, don't over water or over fertilize.

8. Develop a Tolerance for a Few Dandelions Weeds and Insects
Most insects are NOT harmful. Some are important to our environment.

9. Control Weeds and Insects
Dig out weeds and their roots by hand. Pour boiling water on weeds that are growing between
patio stones, etc. Use a stick or your hands to knock insects off plants into a dish of soapy water.

10. Consider Alternative Plants
Alternatives to grass include trees, shrubs, perennials, ground covers, and wild flowers (native
species work best).

www.pesticidefree.ca

 

For cracks in pavement and walkways, pour a kettle of boiling salted water on the weed.

Non specific herbicides should be sprayed with caution as they will not only destroy weeds,
but any plant near by. Brushing the leaf of the weed with the herbicide is a safer method.

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