Weed Control Program

Sunset Lakes Owners Association – Weed Control Program


One of the primary ways that a weed free lawn can be maintained easily, cheaply and with a minimum of effort is through good lawn care practices which encourage the natural vigorous growth of turfgrass. Most weeds cannot compete with dense, healthy turf. The most important practices for weed control are detailed below.

Pulling by hand
Fertilizer Free Gardens
Small Trees/Large Shrubs
Small Shrubs/Perennials


Regular mowing induces the sod to become thick and dense. Grass should be cut at a height of 2.5″ to 3″, any shorter may cause and invasion of weeds. In addition many weeds cannot survive having their tops repeatedly cut off.


According to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, October is the best time to fertilize your lawn. Alternatively (or if necessary a second application) in early June.

In order to minimize any adverse effects on the lakes, use “organic” fertilizers (meaning most of the nitrogen is water insoluble).

The following brands of fertilizers may be used, follow the manufacturer’s instructions with respect to quantities:

  • CANAGRO VIGORO Natural Fertilizing 5-4-7
  • NUTRITE Vitorganic 8-2-0
  • CIL Mother Earth 100% organic Summer Lawn Food 8-2-0
  • SO-GREEN Envirosoft 6-2-0
  • MILGANIT Green & Fairway Fertilizer 6-2-0


Excessive thatch can lead to poor grass growth and weed encroachment. Dethatch in the spring.


During period of drought to prevent weeds from becoming established it is important to give one weekly soaking. Frequent light waterings encourage germination of shallow rooted weeds such as crab grass and creeping bent grass.


Reseed sparse areas before weeds become established.

Pulling by hand

If there are only a few weeds, pulling them by hand or with hand tools may be preferable to other methods of weed control. This not only gets rid of the immediate problem but also prevents those plants from producing seeds resulting in more weeds later in the season or in the following years.


The use of herbicides should be considered only as a supplement to the aforementioned methods of weed control. Many herbicides are highly toxic carcinogenci and have been linked to many other health problems. They are not a cure-all and cannot be expected to make up for poor lawn care practices and neglect. In Sunset Lakes only spot applications of herbicides may be used. Area applications, including using “Weed & Feeds” are not permitted. Spraying individual weeds is more economical, effective, minimizes the quantities of herbicide required and it minimizes the risk of damaging or killing adjacent flowers, shrubs and trees. Always read and follow the manufacturers instructions particularly on how and when you apply the herbicide and on proper protective clothing and methods of storage. Mixtures of 2,4-D with mecoprop and/or dicamba will control most common lawn weeds such as dandelion, plantain, chickweed, creeping bentgrass and clover. The following products are commonly available in garden centres, however some may contain only 2,4-D and they may not be in a form for spot applications, read the label to be sure: Killex, Kilmor, Lawn Weed Killer, Lawn Weed Killer, Multi Weed Killer, Pil-Kil, Spot Weeder, Tri-Kil, Trimex, Turf-Rite, Weed-B-Gon and Weed Killer. Do not use 2,4-D or 2,4-D mixtures on newly seeded lawns. Wait until the grass has been up for at least 4 weeks then use one half the normal concentration.


There are no herbicides available for weed control in established gardens and flower beds without the risk of damaging or killing desirable flowers and shrubs. Usually one must resort to pulling by hand, hoeing, competition and/or mulching.


A single hoeing will kill most annual weeds by cutting off all weeds to just below the ground surface. Perennial weeds are more persistent but repeated hoeing throughout one growing season will kill most and repeated hoeing into the second season will kill the rest.


Planting flowers and shrubs closer together than usually recommended may interfere with their shape and productivity, however, by shading the soil it can reduce the number of late germinating weeds.


Mulch, particularly when used with landscape fabric, is effective in preventing weed growth. It also conserves moisture and moderates soil temperatures. Mulches can be organic (such as bark or wood chips) or inorganic (such as stones, pea gravel or brick rubble).


The following expands upon information previously distributed concerning “fertilizer free gardens” and provides an extended plant list.

On all lots, but particularly waterfront lots, it is encouraged that “fertilizer free gardens” be planted. Unlike lawns and most other garden plants, the plants listed blow require little topsoil and no fertilizers to grow. Keep in mind that on waterfront lots that mature height of plants within 75 ft. of the water must be less than 3 ft.

Most of the following “fertilizer free” plants listed below are native plants and all are very hardy in the Ottawa area. They are commonly found in local nurseries:


  • White Spruce (Picea Glauca)
  • Norway Spruce (Picea Albies)
  • Austrian or Black Pine (Pinus Nigra)
  • White Pine (Pinus Strobus)
  • Canadian r Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis)
  • Eastern White Cedar (Thuja Occidentalis)

Small Trees/Large Shrubs

  • Amur Maple (Acer Ginnala)
  • Serviceberry or Shadblow (Amelanchier Canadensis)
  • Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus Stolonifera)
  • Russian Olive ( Elaeagnus Angustifolia)
  • Choke Cherry (Prunus Virginiana)
  • Mountain Ash (Sorbus Americana)
  • Common Lilac (Syringa Vulgaris)
  • Nannyberry or Wayfaring Tree (Viburnum Lentago)
  • High Bush – Cranberry (Viburnum Tribobum)

Small shrubs/Perennials

  • Meadow Sweet (Filipendula)
  • Potentilla or Cinquefoil (Potentilla Friuticosa)
  • Rugosa Rose (Rose Rugosa)
  • Raspberry (Rubus)
  • Arctic Willow (Salix Purpurea Gracilis)
  • Snowberry (Symphorecarpos Albus)


The following plants are good for shady locations:

  • Japanese Spurge (Pachysandra Terminalis)
  • Periwinkle (Vinca Minor)

It is highly recommended that for waterfront lots, instead of a lawn, a “fertilizer free garden” of the following ground cover plants, that thrive in full sun, be grown within 20 ft. of the lake along at least 75% of the length of the shoreline. They will absorb nutrients before they enter the lake, thus minimizing aquatic plant and algae growth. In addition they will minimize soil erosion into the lake. They can also be used for other areas of your garden.

  • Adjudge or Boggled (Adjudge Reptans)
  • Bearberry (Arctostaphylos Uvaursi)
  • Trumpet Vine (Campis Radicans)
  • American Bittersweet (Celastrus Scandus)
  • Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus Quinquifolia)

For more information, contact,