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Be Pesticide Free

A pesticide is a substance that is designed to kill pests. Pesticides include insecticides (for insects), herbicides (for plants), fungicides (for fungi) and rodenticides (for rodents). Common ingredients include Glyphosate and 2,4-D.  

Pesticides do not prevent pest problems. Rather, they are meant to control pests once they are present. Chemical pesticides should only be used as a last resort and with caution.

Pesticide free lawns and gardens

There are many ways to create healthy, beautiful outdoor spaces without using pesticides. View our  Pesticide-Free Gardening: How-To Guide to learn how. 

For more information on pesticide alternatives for your lawn and garden, visit our Healthy Yards page and bepesticidefree.ca

For advice on how to manage specific pests and weeds safely and without pesticides, contact the University of Saskatchewan’s Gardenline at (306) 966-5865 or  gardenline@usask.ca.

Do pesticides pose risks to human and environmental health?

Using pesticide alternatives to manage home and garden pests supports biodiversity, improves water, air, and soil quality, and lower the risks to human health.

Health risks associated with pesticides depend on the toxicity of the active ingredient(s) and the amount of exposure.

Weed N’ Feed products are banned in Canada. For more information on federal pesticide regulations, visit Health Canada’s Pesticides and Pest Management website

How you can help lower your exposure and protect others

Weeds and pests will never be completely eliminated, so the safest, most affordable, and lowest effort alternative to pesticides is to develop a certain level of tolerance for non-invasive weeds and pests.

Chemical pesticides should only be used as a last resort and with caution. If you do use pesticides, or are in an area where pesticides are used, here are some ways to lower your risks and protect others.

  • Research the pest to find out the different options available for managing it. Make sure you understand the associated risks and proper application procedures of the management method you choose before applying it.
  • Only apply pesticides to target areas or plants.
  • Read pesticide labels thoroughly and follow the instructions. The label will include proper safety procedures such as: the type of protective clothing to wear, how to accurately measure concentrations, and how to properly clean up spills if they occur.
  • Take your old or unused pesticides to one of our Household Hazardous Waste Drop Off Days. Do not dispose of pesticides in the garbage, recycling, or pour down the storm drain.
  • Ensure items such as children’s toys, pet bowls, clothing, and food are put away before pesticides are applied by you, your neighbour, or a lawn care specialist. Keep pets and children indoors before, during, and after pesticides are applied.
  • Do not apply pesticides when it’s raining (or when rainfall is expected), on windy days, or when the temperature is expected to exceed 27˚C.
  • Post warning signs in your yard prior to and after application. Read the pesticide label for details.
  • Check in with your family members and neighbours before you apply pesticides to ensure they take the appropriate precautions.
  • Get involved! Work with community organizations to reduce pesticide use in your community.

What you can expect from us

We are committed to using the least toxic control methods wherever possible to control pests. For example, our Parks division maintains the health of sports fields and the turf in our parks to make these areas more resistant to weeds and to reduce the need for pesticides. Herbicides have not been used since 2004 to control broadleaf weeds, such as dandelions, on park turf and sports fields. Instead, Parks uses established cultural turf practices to improve the condition of these areas.

We are also exploring innovative park management practices in naturalized parks, such as controlled burns, haying, and grazing, to reduce the need for pesticides, fertilizer, and extensive watering.

Our mosquito control program no longer relies on chemical control products. Instead, a series of alternatives are used, including biological, mechanical and cultural controls.     

We also require that community gardens and boulevard gardens are pesticide free. These gardeners use other practices, such as using mulch and compost, to maintain pesticide free gardens.

Visit our Healthy Yards page to learn more about how to create a healthy lawn and garden without the use of pesticides.