• SNAP Display at Event
  • Grow a Lush Garden Organically
  • Learn to Manage Pests Naturally
  • Learn To Manage Weeds Without Chemical Pesticides
  • Driving Near Recently Sprayed Fields Exposes People to Pesticides
  • Learn About Pesticides in Foods
  • SNAP Tour of Organic Vegetable Garden
  • Learn to Keep Insects Out of your Crops
  • Learn About Colony Collapse Disorder and How to Protect Bees
  • Link to SK Organic Resources


Q What is the best way to control weeds in lawn?

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You can apply corn gluten meal (sold under various trade names both as a fertilizer (10% nitrogen) and as a herbicide) to the lawn to prevent weed germination. The effect builds up over the years. Don't do it prior to overseeding the lawn with grass seeds though as it will dessicate grass seedlings as well. It does not work that well when the lawn never dries out.

However, it will not deal with established weeds which have to be pulled or dealt with through better lawn care practices such as soil tests, aeration, proper mowing, overseeding and fertilizing with "live" fertilizer which provides soil and plants with the proper organisms for their health. Chip Osborne has turned around a lot of municipal properties in the U.S. with cultural methods, especially aeration, which our Regina soils are desperate for.

Q Are there any SK lawn care companies offering the natural lawn care described above?

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As of December 2012, no one has notified me that lawn care practices such as soil tests, aeration, proper mowing, overseeding and fertilizing with "live" fertilizer are being offered in SK.

In Regina, you can find companies offering aeration, but my concern with that is whether the equipment has been used on recently pesticided lawn. I am sensitive enough to pesticides that it would likely be a problem for me.

As the City of Regina was discussing reduced pesticide use and a potential bylaw in summer 2012, a lot of lawn care and pesticide industry presentations were made to the City of Regina Environmental Committee and to the Public Works committee. The natural option the Weed Man seems to offer is an iron-based herbicide which has not been accepted in eastern provinces with bylaws such as Ontario and the city of Halfax for health reasons.

Why are iron based herbicides not accepted in Ontario and Halifax?

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Iron- based herbicides are only available as commercial formulations at present.

Ontario and Halifax have not approved iron-based herbicides such as Fiesta under their pesticide bylaw. 

The hazardous materials, according to the Material Safety Data sheet, are sodium nitrate and Nitrilotriacetic acid, or NTA.The MSDS for NTA also warns of potential carcinogenic effects, and that 'the substance may be toxic to kidneys. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organ damage'.”  (Fiesta/FeHEDTA Letter from the�Canadian Cancer Society)

In addition, over exposure to Iron is toxic. Any potential increase in environmental exposure to Iron through inhalation, skin absorption or ingestion following the application of Iron-based landscape products is of grave concern to the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society (www.toomuchiron.ca ).

Creeping Bellflower

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Creeping Bellflower (Gardening at Usask, 2020)

Please never give that away ro trade it. It should never be available for sale.    'The problem is this plant has two very powerful means of reproduction. First, it has thick, fleshy roots called rhizomes which spread and mat and crowd out other plants. Secondly, this plant produces thousands of seeds which remain viable in the soil for many years. There is no quick fix but you can be successful if you are vigilant.'

SNAP Comment: 'My yard is threatened on all sides. We keep an edge dug up. The worst problem I have is where it grows among Lindley' Asters and I can't figure it out until it blooms.... I patrol the back alley and keep pulling anything going to seed and dig whatever comes close to the garden. When I dig some up, I carefully pick up all the roots ( even the tiny ones), then lay them on the driveway in the sun until dessicated before throwing them away.

Leafy Spurge control

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Leafy Spurge Control Using Flea Beetles (Aphthona spp.)  explains the life cycle so one can time mowing or grazing better. It looks like cutting off flowers or seed heads and disposing would not affect the adult beetles who feed on leaves. Mowing or grazing before emergence might be OK as long as it leaves leaves to feed on and stems to lay eggs against. 

also Refer to leafy spruge fact sheets in several of the generall integrated weed management sites on the main alternatives to pesticides/ weeds page. 

'Flea beetle life cycle

Aphthona spp. adults emerge from the soil in late spring to early summer (Figure 2). Following emergence, adults feed on leafy spurge leaf tissue and mate. Females begin laying egg clusters of three to 15 eggs almost immediately. Egg laying continues every three to five days throughout the adult life stage. Aphthona spp. females produce an average of 220 to 280 eggs over a lifetime. Eggs are yellow and laid on the soil surface or slightly below, near the leafy spurge stem base. Larvae emerge from eggs in 12 to 19 days. The longevity of A. czwalinae, A. lacertosa and A. nigriscutis will vary from year to year depending on weather conditions. A hot, dry spring and summer will shorten the time adults are present while a cool, wet season will lengthen it. Generally, adults live for 1.5 to two months in the field. Most leafy spurge flea beetles have a single generation, egg to adult, each year.'

Natural Control of Individual Weeds

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also see resistance/ herbicide

Creeping bellflower (Campanula rapunculoides) control (Edmonton Horticultural Society on Facebook)   My whole yard is surrounded by this awful weed. It is my nemesis....

Dandelions  (NCAP)

European buckthorn  (or Common Buckthorn) control

Kochia  Herbicide resistance keeps on rising   Mother Nature keeps outsmarting the available crop protection products   (Gord Leathers, Manitoba Cooperators, 1 March 2022)   'Increasing the seeding rate did have an impact. In one year, they reduced kochia biomass by 74 per cent. Geddes said the effect of the rotation was almost like adding another effective herbicide mode of action into the tank. They also hit the weed with a slightly different rotation, changing the crop life cycle by using winter wheat instead of spring wheat. Winter wheat is already well established by the time kochia is getting started and it’s harvested before the kochia can set seed. There are also issues with downy brome in Alberta. Both waterhemp and Palmer amaranth have been documented in Manitoba and both are capable of glyphosate resistance.' 

Biological Control of Ox-eye Daisy

Poison ivy and oak  (NCAP)

Everything You Need To Know About Poison Ivy. Don't let fear of poison ivy keep you out of the garden. Here's how to get rid of it for good. Deals with how to wash clothes, the rash and plants.

Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) fact sheet. includes a source of biological control beetles, Ontario Beetles which have been 90% effective in one year.

Biological control of Ox-Eye Daisy

Tansy biocontrol for USA and Canada

Non-chemical Management of Noxious Weeds
2. Lessons from Leafy Spurge and Yellow Starthistle (JOURNAL OF PESTICIDE REFORM/SPRING 1998· VOL.18, NO.1, p.2) 

Wormwood, Absinthe or Silver Sage  (Artemisia absinthium)

In 2019, The RM of Corman Park wanted land owners to control silver sage and sent a notice to landowners recommending products:containing 2,4-D, aminopyralid and metsulforon-methyl.. 2,4D is what most people use on their lawn, usually in formulations mixed with mecoprop and dicamba. It is also used in agriculture and now in mixed formulation with glyphosate when weeds become resistant.while aminopyralid.is not something you want to contaminate a garden with.

To my knowledge, silver sage is not a weed that suckers or has runners although it may be weakly rhizomatous according to the USDA Forest Service. When they rebuilt the curbs and sidewalks on our block, they brought in topsoil full of it. I had a lot of success pulling small plants up after rain. (you can always pull more root after a rain.) It is wind pollinated.It would not be hard to cut off all the flowering/seed heads and at least prevent it from reseeding.The plants left on the boulevard are mowed regularly so don't produce any seeds.

Wascana is regularly spraying for it around the lake (they haven't gotten rid of it yet), It thrives where geese overgraze. The city of Regina is letting it be all over Prairie Island in AE Wilson Park. I guess it depends how serious a municipality is about noxious weeds. (It is listed as a SK invasive plant, unsure if listed as noxious).

I believe a natural or least toxic solution should always be used for before pesticides. The way I look at it, it can easily be pulled when young, and if they are mowed all the time or the flower/seed heads eliminated before the seeds are viable, it can’t reproduce so is not a problem. Often municipalities do their absolute best to mismanage weeds by waiting until they go to seed before mowing, therefore ensuring as much seed spread as possible. Another way invasive plants spread badly is through moving of contaminated soil which often occurs during construction.

Alternative Control    What is the most important in weed control is timing.

  1. For individual plants or small patches, hand pull or dig up the roots when the soil is moist, making sure to remove all the roots.
  2. In crop production areas, tillage can prevent establishment. Summer fallow followed by fall tillage is more effective than spring tillage.
  3. keep it from going to seed
  4. don't move contaminated soil around.
  5. Not sure if goats would eat it. 
  6. Steam might also work, or a propane torch. 

Poison Ivy

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How to Get Rid of Poison Ivy Naturally

7 Ways to Kill Poison Ivy Naturally (by Barbara Gillette, Master Gardener, The Spruce, 09/22/22)  this site also mentions 

  • How to dig out plant and roots
  • goats will eat it
  • gives warnings about not spraying adjacent plants even with a natural spray.

How to Get Rid of Poison Ivy Plants (Home depot video and site)  Skip the chemical herbicide part and look at the rest.

  • How to Identify
  • Pulling (wearing appropriate clothing)
  • Smothering
  • Boiling water (It is apparently safe to do so)
  • Home made spray (below)
  •  how to clean tools and body to avoid a reaction.
  • safe disposal

What kills poison ivy permanently naturally?  You can kill poison ivy without noxious chemicals by dissolving one cup of salt, one tablespoon of white vinegar, and one tablespoon of dish soap in a gallon of water. Pour this soapy water mixture into a spray bottle and apply it liberally to the whole plant. Jun 7, 2021 and   It also mentions using concentrated vinegar  but the city of Regina used that around playgrounds and say that the acid is really hard on equipment.

SNAP comment: I don't know if the dried up/dead plant still has urushiol so they should be removed with gloves and all tools, gloves etc cleaned as per video. However, keep in mind this natural methods only kill the surface parts of the plant. The rhizomes will still push up new shoots in time. To permanently get rid of a patch, it would have to be disconnected from others, and these natural methods applied many times. I have never tried it. Persistence is the key.

Purslane Control in Gardens

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Purslane control (by Paule Hjertaas, 14 February 2020)

Purslane is an annual weed well adapted to dessication. It also has the ability to re-root from every cut piece or if hoed, especially if left on a moist surface.

Are you rototilling? If so, that would make the problem worse, like it would for some perennials like quackgrass, thistles, and the terribly weedy imported Campanula. Loosening soil and hand digging or pulling works best for those in garden setting. You can always get more roots when digging or weeding after a good rain or watering. I always dig weeds before they go to seed, and leave them in piles as mulch, but not purslane, it would only re-root.

My experience is that purslane will germinate well in bare soil or even in cracks on a road or at the edge of a lawn besides the curb where the grass grows poorly. My experience with an ecoweeder trying to get rid of it in cracks or along a curb is that it may be set back but not killed. 

Purslane is edible so you could eat some of it. Chickens also love it, and perhaps so do other livestock. Visiting organic school gardens in Berkeley, California, several had several chickens wandering the garden during the day for pest control and likely also weed control.

Mulching might help but it may bring rodents. If mulching around fruit trees, put a collar near the base to protect them. Some plastic or polyester mulches are also available, although you may not want to go there with the current issues with plastics.

Organic growers grow flowers under fruit trees in orchards to increase pollinators and predators.


1. quit rototilling areas with lots of purslane, especially during the growing season. Hand pull or dig out.

2. try mulching at least some of the area to reduce work.

3. don’t ever let any weed go to seed.

It may take a few years, but I think you will see a reduction of your problem by following these rules.

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) control

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I posted a photo of tansy flowers on facebook and several people commented on what a horrible weed it is and that Roundup doesn't control it. I realized I did not have a link to tansy natural control sites. It appears it is difficult to control strictly by natural means at this time but they can be hand-pulled (with gloves) and one should mow very low to the ground before July prevent seed production, followed by herbicide treatment of regrowth. This may have to be repeated for a number of years. According to the Saskatchewan government, it does not tolerate frequent disturbance. In general, roots are weakened the most when plants have extended their flower heads so one can deplete the roots better by mowing at that time.

Tansy biocontrol for USA and Canada

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare L.) (Problem Weeds - A Cattlemen's Guide/Tansy, Government of Sasaktchewan} 

Common Tansy fact sheeet (Invasive species Council of BC, arch 2019)
" Mechanical Control
» Common tansy can not be controlled with single mowing
events (e.g. once-a-year), as the plants will respond with an
increase in vegetative growth.
» Mowing sites very low to the ground before July can prevent
seed production.
» Combined mowing and subsequent herbicide treatment of
re-growth appears to be an effective control method.
Treatments must be repeated over several years.
» Hand pulling may be used in areas where mowing and
herbicide application are not feasible. Gloves and other
protective clothing should be worn to prevent skin irritation. 

'Tansy will spread quickly from its seed and less invasively from rhizomes. The seed is viable in soil for quite some time, so it is best to cut off the flower heads before they turn into seeds. Dig out clumps of the plant where you do not wish to have it and keep old plant matter cleaned up to prevent self-seeding. Hand pulling the plants as you would pull weeds can prevent the plant from spreading. You should do this with gloves, as there have been some reports of contact toxicity. It is unlikely to be toxic to grazing animals, but minimize the spread by mowing areas with the plant when they are in bud stage.'
Read more at Gardening Know How: Common Tansy: Tips For Controlling Tansy Weeds  

Weeds can be managed in a non-toxic way.

Weeds can be managed in a non-toxic way.

more on weed control at Resource links/weeds, and Lawn/Turf

Elements of Organic Gardening, the Prince of Wales new book illustrates how he maintains 15 acres of immaculate ornamental and vegetable gardens on his Gloucestershire estate, Highgrove. While Prince Charles’s book is available in the United States, there is a two-year waiting list for the public to view Highgrove estate. To join the waiting list, write to the Clarence House Press Office, London SW1A 1BA, England. This book is available through the Regina Public Library.

Many resources in the notes of SNAP's Organic Gardening Class and Organic Land Care Training for Municipal Officials or Transitioning Landscapers class.

Non-Toxic Ways to Deal with Weeds in the Lawn and Garden (Toxic-free Future)  Generally good article includes sections on moss, invasives and mulching. I would like to add the use of infrared or steam weeders for hard and gravel surfaces, sources of which are presented in Resources. alternatives/weeding and also on this page.

Today I came across the site of the Invasive Species Centre in Sault Sainte-Marie, Ontario. There is mention of chemical control of many species but usually in the form of painting a cut trunk or wicking in small areas. In the fact sheets I looked at, there were other more effective methods. There is extensive information of each species and extensive information of all control methods previously tried including biological.     Lo and behold, I have been trying to find a source of biological beetle control for Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) and found it on their fact sheet.   Also info on European buckthorn and several other invasive plants, as well as invasive insects, fish and invertebrates, aquatic plants and pathogens.

Integrated Weed Management: Biological Control Options (SK Prairie Conservation Action Plan -PCAP) 40 minute Youtube video. Speaker: Sheena McInnes, Frenchman - Wood River Weed Management Area and SODCAP Presentation summary: The presentation will be mostly a video introduction of two grazing experts speaking on using cows and goats to control weeds.    Lee Sexton started with sheep but found goats more effective and acceptable to SK cattle producers for integrated weed management as they mostly don't eat grass. Lee mentions Leafy Spurge control. He assesses the site and can train his goats to eat the target weeds. sextongc@icloud.ca                 Ralph Corcoran is a trained in holistic manager with cattle and is using the approach to rehabilitate the pastures on his farm. He has had success with controlling absinthe, burdock, thstle and even some leafy spurge by intensively grazing at the right time and rotation. Sheep or goat following cattle work good on Leafy Spurge. "With small paddocks, you can fix one problem at a time. it really works well." Stop the overgrazing. rlcorcoran@sasktel.net  Speakers phoen numbers provided in presentation.             www.holisticmanagement.ca

An overview of the Alberta Invasive Species Council and their biocontrol release program in Alberta ( PCAP- Prairie Conservation Action Plan-  presentation. March 2, 2022) 54 minute video available on PCAP's you tube channel.   Review of what invasive species are and details on weed bio-control programs especially Leafy Spurge. Dalmatian Toadflax, and Knapweeds. Their March 2022 conference will have a speaker presenting on biocontrol of Tansy and Ox-Eye Daisy. The Alberta Invasive Species Council have lots of resources including photo fact sheets for all species classified as invasive in Alberta and their biocontrol program. Links to free EDDMapS (Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System) Pro app  and EDDMapS app (citizen-science-based).from Bugwood Apps in Alberta. Data submitted through the EDDMapS Pro app can be summarized and used to inform future prioritization and management strategies, more effectively utilizing limited resources.

Flying Blind in Weed Control  (by Margaret Wilson, Rodale Press, 10 December 2020)  'Learn from the experts at Rodale Institute why blind cultivation may be the answer to getting ahead of weeds on your farm.'

The Detox Project supports alternative non chemical weed control such as RootWave (electrical) and FoamStream.

Machine controls weeds with steam (By Robin Booker, Western Producer, July 4, 2019)  “The X-Steam-inator is 100 percent steam, there is no chemical whatsoever in it,” said Ron Gleim, founder of X-Steam-inator.'

Steam 'N' Weeds  A Canadian company based in Waiwright, Alberta, utilizing patented Satusteam™ technology.

Weedtechnics: a new source for steamweeding equipment. The previous ones had disappearedand I have been looking for a new company for years! The company is located in Australia but the steam-weeding equipment has a Canadian patent as well. Products are made in USA and Australia. The city of St-Albert near Edmonton is moving to their Satusteam Weed Control steamer instead of Roundup/glyphosate. It has other uses as well. link to their electric steamer. There are also several other models. .For some reason the links in the main page don't work but clicking on the "products' link at the bottom of the page in the dark gray section gets you to the products. 

Weedingtech Foamstream equipment. International company. Canadian distributor at Turfcare. The Foamstream has been used by the City of Prince Albert. 

Why Organic lawn Care is so Important: Organic Gardening. US source. Some of the products allowed on lawns in the US are different than in Canada, although is is hard to tell as Canadian regulators have not been able to produce a list of domestic products for many years.

Solutions for Weeds, Lawns and Landscaping   Information on how to effectively prevent weed problems in your lawn, flower beds and shrub beds, and ecological approaches for managing existing weed problems. (NCAP)

Professional Toolbox    Non-Herbicidal Weed Control Strategies      

Ecological Management of Problem Vegetation (aka. "Invasive Weeds")   Resources (Beyond Pesticides)

The Weed's News is a place to hear the latest about weed research and share information about weed controlling and/or preventing.

Pesticide Publications - including how to (SES)

  • Dandelion Fact Sheet
  • If you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em: Dandelion Recipes
  • Brochure Ants Dandelion
  • 10 Steps to a Healthy Lawn Fact Sheet
  • Fact sheet Bellflower
  • Fact Sheet Creeping Charlie
  • Fact Sheet Fairy Rings
  • Fact Sheet Problem Plants Garden
  • Factsheet Quackgrass Chickweed

Iron-based herbicides (FeHEDTA/Fiesta)