Turf grass Insect Pests and Weed Control: The use of pesticides on residential turf can no longer be applied in Ontario. However, these can be significantly reduced by nonchemical control methods such as:
Sharpen your lawn mower blades Yearly: This gives a clean cut and allows the grass to heal quickly preventing disease and gives a neat appearance as well.
Growing varieties of grass that are suitable to the area and resistant to pests. Many pest resistant varieties of grass are available. Some varieties of perennial ryegrass contain endophytic fungi that provide resistance against several leaf feeding insect pests. Resistant varieties of fescues are also available. If you are establishing a lawn these resistant grasses may be used as part of the seed mix. If you are maintaining an existing lawn these may be over-seeded to improve the mix of grasses growing in the turf.
Maintaining the grass height no less than 6 to 7cm. Allow the grass to grow 2.5cm above the cutting height before mowing. This will improve the ability of the grass to withstand drought, compete against weeds and withstand the attack of some insects. Keep the mower blades sharp as the torn ends of grass blades allow pathogens to enter.
Aerating the lawn yearly. Often turf in urban areas is growing on compacted soil. This reduces root growth and the ability of the grass to compete with weeds. Fall is the best time with over-seeding to allow the turf to rest and recover while wintering.
Fertilizing and watering the turf appropriately. Frequent shallow watering produces week shallow root systems. It is much better to water a lawn thoroughly once a week rather than several brief waterings. Using a tuna can with about a 1 inch height in the sprinkler pattern area when full, is adequate for 1 week to maintain growth although this depends on soil type.
Dethatching the grass if the thatch layer (a dense layer of dead clippings on the surface of the soil) is more than 1 cm thick. A thick thatch layer will increase insect and disease problems and encourage the development of a poor, shallow root system and make turf more prone to scalping and winter injury.