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In April 2008 the province of Ontario banned cosmetic use of pesticides. A study conducted the very next year, by the Ministry of Environment, showed an 80% drop in toxic lawn pesticides found in urban streams and creeks. For more information on this study: Prelim Pesticide Results
Since 2009, new eco friendly alternatives have come onto the market which will provide further reductions of toxic pesticide use. Nematodes are available in most hardware stores as of 2010 in Ontario, whereas this was a special order from a garden center in prior years.
Note that the Ontario ban still permitted use of glyphosate (trade name Roundup) for certain cases involving health and safety such as controlling poisonous plants. An iron based, selective herbicide for example, is now widely available for controlling broad leafed weeds.
Most weed problems can be attributed to poor soil conditions. Look after the soil and you also look after the weeks. Aerate, de-thatch, check PH levels, add compost. If weeds still appear, pulling by hand is usually very effective. An iron based herbicide is also an alternative for broad leaf weeds.
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