Turf in Ontario

The turf industry in Ontario is made up of professionals who produce and maintain turf and home owners who look after their lawns. The professional turfgrass industry in Ontario consists of businesses and public sector operations. It is broken down into sectors based on the end use of the turf. These sectors are:

  • golf courses
  • sports fields (national facilities, municipal facilities, educational facilities)
  • residential and commercial lawns
  • sod farms
  • other (municipal parks, cemeteries, airports, roadsides)

There is also turf that is maintained by the home owner.

The turfgrass industry contributes significantly to the Ontario economy. It provides employment and revenues through gross sales and expenditures on good and services. In 2007, there were 390,000 acres of turfgrass maintained in Ontario, which contributed $2.6 Billion in gross revenues and employed 33,000 full time employees.

Professional Turf

To successfully manage turf requires knowledge of soils, fertilizers, water management and turf species selection. We have resources that provide the tools you need.

General

Irrigation

Soil Fertility and Management

Fertilizing is one of the key components of good turf management and integrated pest management. A well balanced fertilizer program will help turf avoid stress and disease. The best way to determine turf fertilizer needs is to do a soil test.

Cosmetic Pesticides Ban

Ontario's cosmetic pesticides ban took effect April 22, 2009. The requirements of the ban are detailed in Ontario Regulation 63/09 and the Pesticides Act, which was amended by the Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act, 2008.

The provincial ban supersedes local municipal pesticides bylaws to create one clear, transparent and understandable set of rules across the province.

Pesticides cannot be used for cosmetic purposes on lawns, vegetable and ornamental gardens, patios, driveways, cemeteries, and in parks and school yards. In these areas, biopesticides and alternatives to pesticides can be used.

Pesticides can be used for some excepted uses such as on golf courses provided they follow new rules. They must become accredited for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) by the IPM Council of Canada.

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a process that uses all necessary techniques to suppress pests effectively, economically and in an environmentally sound manner to sustain healthy landscapes.

Pesticides that are registered for use on excepted turf areas and biopesticides which are allowed under the cosmetic pesticides ban can be found in Turfgrass Management Recommendations.

General

Turf Diseases

Turfgrasses are often attacked by diseases, reducing both the aesthetics of the turf and the playing surface quality. Understanding the role of cultural controls, correct identification and weather is important in managing turf diseases.

Turf Insects

The most destructive pests that attack turfgrasses are turf insects. Not only do they reduce aesthetics and playing surface quality, they can also completely destroy a turf stand. Information on the key insects pests, insect identification and their lifecycles is important to successfully manage insect pests. Monitoring information and cultural controls are essential in an Integrated Pest Management approach to pests.

Weeds

Weeds compete with turfgrasses for light, water and nutrients. Proper cultural practices can greatly reduce weed invasion in turf. Correct identification of weeds is important in their control.

Pesticide Safety

Read the latest product label before using a pesticide. Each time a pesticide is handled there is some risk. Information of using pesticides safely to avoid adverse effects to humans and the environment is important to all turf managers.

Pesticides Registration

Before a pesticide can be sold or used in Ontario, it must be registered under the federal Pest Control Products Act (PCP Act) and be classified under the provincial Pesticides Act. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada registers pesticides for use in Canada following an evaluation of scientific data to ensure that the product has merit and value. It also ensures that the human health and environmental risks associated with its proposed use are acceptable.

The minor use program is necessary to bring pest control products to Canadian minor crop such as turf that otherwise would not be marketed to them because of their unique and/or limited production area.

Sod Production

Turfgrass sod is a roll of grass and part of the soil which is held together by roots. It is produced on a farm. It is removed intact with a minimal amount of soil, transplanted in another area and instantly forms a grassy turf cover.

Information and resources on the agronomics and marketing of sod in Ontario are available to you. That and the environmental impact of sod production is also important information for anyone considering sod farming as a business.

The statistics for sod in Ontario were 36,000 acres of sod grown in Ontario in 2007, with a gross revenue of $108 million employing 1,000 full time workers.

Turf Research in Ontario

Turf research has been conducted in Ontario since the mid-1980's, with the bulk of it taking place at the Guelph Turfgrass Institute. GTI Annual Research Reports from that time until the present are available and contain useful information on many turf related topics.

Home Lawns

Ontario's cosmetic pesticides ban took effect April 22, 2009. The requirements of the ban are detailed in Ontario Regulation 63/09 and the Pesticides Act, which was amended by the Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act, 2008.

The provincial ban supersedes local municipal pesticides bylaws to create one clear, transparent and understandable set of rules across the province.

Pesticides cannot be used for cosmetic purposes on lawns, vegetable and ornamental gardens, patios, driveways, cemeteries, and in parks and school yards. In these areas, biopesticides and alternatives to pesticides can be used.

Pesticides that are registered for use on excepted turf areas and biopesticides which are allowed under the cosmetic pesticides ban can be found in Turfgrass Management Recommendations.

A scientific review of current alternatives available under the ban for home lawns, driveways, cemeteries, parks and school yards is in a new brochure put together by the Ontario Turfgrass Research Foundation (OTRF) and the Ontario Horticultural Trades Foundation (OHTF).

General

Turf Diseases

Turf Insects

Turf Weeds

Crop Updates, Newsletters and Articles

Turf Management Updates offer weekly insect, disease and weed updates and recommendations for cultural practices. In addition, many turf industry associations have sector specific newsletters with timely and informative information.

Resources & Services

Many resources and services are available to assist turf managers in maintaining healthy turf. These services range from a list of accredited soil and tissue testing laboratories to pest diagnostic services.

Stats and Facts

Statistics Canada collects information on the size of the sod industry in Ontario. A comprehensive survey of the turf industry in Ontario was conducted in 1007 that gives an estimate of the impact of the industry to Ontario's economy.

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