Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Reports of the death of Canadian lawn care are greatly exaggerated

You may not agree with the source, but a recent column from the Western Catholic Reporter cited some interesting statistics about the lawn care industry in Toronto, and how it has overcome bans on pesticide use to grow 30% since 2001.

"Despite the growing trend away from chemically based lawn care, Toronto lawn companies are showing substantial growth. A recently released report by the City of Toronto's health department cites data from Statistics Canada showing a 30 per cent increase in the lawn care and landscaping sector since 2001.

It should be noted at the same time, pesticide use has decreased significantly. According to the interim evaluation of Toronto's pesticide bylaw, 'From 2003 to 2005 the proportion of Toronto residents who report any pesticide use on their lawns has decreased by 35 per cent.'"

And even though the column comes from outside the industry, her advice is pretty good.

"Non-chemical lawn care is much more labour intensive, and hence more costly than chemical lawn maintenance. In non-chemical lawn care, the standard of bi-annual spraying that most chemical companies employ is replaced by such maintenance functions as fertilizing, aerating, hand-weeding, de-thatching and over seeding. Since many of these activities are done on an as needed basis, that bi-annual visit can translate into monthly (or more) check ups.

Given the huge amount of public support behinds these bylaws, it's likely that provincial governments will respond with province-wide legislation, much like they did in the case of regional and municipal smoking bans. When that happens, smart lawn care companies will be ready." — Mike Seuffert

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