The grass isn’t greener on the other side, its greener where you water it. It’s also healthier for you and more eco-friendly when you don’t spray 2,4-D on it. That’s the conclusion reached to bust this myth through both research and reader’s comments.

2,4-D or 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, is a white crystalline irritant compound commonly used as a weed killer and defoliant. It is the same chemical used in Killex, and one of the main ingredients in the compound Agent Orange which was used heavily in the Vietnam War.

As we’ve already hinted at, 2,4-D is definitely not a necessity to a better lawn, in fact, we encourage you not to use it. What effects does it have? This chemical is a known neurotoxin as well as causing kidney and liver problems. Five provinces have already gone ahead and banned the use of cosmetic pesticides, which include 2,4-D, but Manitoba has yet to follow suit. In Ontario, a year after the ban was implemented the amount of weed-killing chemicals found in urban waterways dropped by roughly 80%. Homeowners are known to use weed killers too sparingly but also beware of some lawn companies that pose as eco-friendly but really aren’t. If you prefer a lawn company, ask them what they use on the grass, including other chemicals with 2,4-D such as: Weedtrine-II, Aqua-Kleen, Barrage, Plantgard, Lawn-Keep, Planotox and Malerbane, Savage, Salvo, Weedone, and Killex.

For those still skeptical, worrying that weeds will take over, Ontario, despite the ban, only uses pesticides in cases where public safety is a risk, so no harm will come from the lack of pesticides as well.

So how do you keep that green grass without losing sleep over weeds? Our readers weighed in and had the great following suggestions:

  • In grasses mixed with white dutch clover, fewer dandelions result since the clover outcompetes the dandelions. The grass mixture is also more resilient in drought conditions, the clover provides the needed nitrogen back into the ground for the grass and you get to search for 4-leaf clovers!
  • In the spring when you are preparing your lawn for the summer, instead of throwing down fertilizer or herbicides, spread some compost across the lawn and lightly water. It provides a lot of nutrients for the grass without the chemicals, its natural, and compost retains water better than soil so your lawn won’t dry out and yellow.
  • For fixing patches in your lawn, scrape out the area with a rake, put some grass seed down, cover with compost and lightly water.
  • If you have the time and just can’t stand those dandelions no matter what, nip the weed right in the bud as soon as they pop up by cutting off the tops of dandelions so they don’t go to seed and spread.
  • Lastly, sign up for a FREE organic lawn care workshop. The Manitoba Eco-Network shows you how to effectively maintain a beautiful lawn without the harsh chemicals. More information can be found here.