Pesticides are prohibited at all times
See the information sheets on ecological maintenance on our website. In the event of a major infestation, contact the Public Works Department for a permit.
See the information sheets on ecological maintenance on our website. In the event of a major infestation, contact the Public Works Department for a permit.
Your answer to these two questions will determine the amount of time and energy you will choose to spend on composting. Remember that nature does things well, and on its own…
If you want to compost for the sole purpose of reducing the volume of waste you produce, even if results could take up to two years: add your peels every 3 to 4 days and forget about the compost, doing just enough maintenance to avoid odours.
If you are composting in order to harvest compost once or twice a year, you would do well to monitor its development, to find the perfect mix, to water and stir it, and to add everything you haven’t consumed, down to the last seed: more daily maintenance required, with peak periods in the spring and fall.
In either case, you would do well to start off slowly, working this activity into your daily routine.
You might also decide not to put everything in the composter from one day to the next. Remember that, until now, all of this organic matter had gone out with the garbage. Take the time to adjust to this new approach, to work it into your daily routine, and most importantly, to balance the contents of your compost! Before long, questions and uncertainty will give way to expertise and pride! Turn your first harvest into a celebration: in the spring or fall, bring together the ones who contributed to the production of your homegrown compost!
What is compost?
It is a biologically stable and hygienic soil conditioner, rich in humus, resulting from the biochemical conversion of biodegradable organic waste decomposed by microorganisms and aerobic organisms.
What is a composter?
Quite simply, it is a unit that accelerates and controls the work of nature. In nature, everything decomposes, layer by layer. The same thing occurs in the composter.
How to install the Earth Machine?
How to get good results?
It’s all a matter of balance: Matter -> Water, humidity <-> Air, oxygen <-> Micro-organisms
Tip: 1 part green for 2 parts brown matter.
(green - humid materials)
(brown – dry materials)
|Materials not to be composted
(or in very moderate amounts)
|Fruit leftovers - raw, cooked
Vegetable leftovers - raw, cooked
Fresh sod shavings
Crushed egg shells
Newsprint (if no leaves)
Coffee grounds, coffee filters
Pasta, bread, rice
Bird litter, feathers
Dead plants and dried flowers
Meat and fish
Oil and fat
Human and animal excrement
Vacuum cleaner dust
Plants or sick foliage
Large amount of soaked material in one layer
How to collect the compost?
To maximize the production and use of compost:
How to use the compost?
In the spring, you can spread ripe compost on flowerbeds, the lawn, the vegetable garden. You can mix it with repotting soil for indoor plants. As a rule, it is preferable to spread young compost late in the fall: it will continue to ripen on the ground and will be perfect for use on most plants in the spring.
Where to find more information?
Lawn treatment firms solicit your business for the maintenance of your property. A word of caution: be wary of their "magic" formulas! Despite municipal bylaws prohibiting the use of pesticides outside the house, some companies are suspected of still using them illegally and without your consent!
Before settling on a company:
Ensure that the contractor you select uses 100% natural fertilizer (almost always granular) that presents no danger to health or the environment, and whose N-P-K formula is less than 10 (ex.: 44-2 fertilizer by Acti-sol, whose figures are all lower than 10).
Furthermore, when you hire a contractor to apply fertilizer, low-impact pesticides or any other product on your lawn, ensure that the company is registered with the Town. Bear in mind, however, that being registered with the Town does not guarantee that the contractor is competent; he must have the legal permits needed to apply his products, in keeping with provincial laws. These rules also apply to companies that maintain hedges, trees and flowerbeds. Contractors who only do mechanical maintenance work (mowing, dethatching, manual weed removal, etc.) are not required to be registered with the Town.
Remember that, in the long run, adopting good lawn gardening methods (aeration, compost application, top soil application, dethatching, mowing high, etc.) is a winning formula, and that the application of various control products (ecological or other) must only be considered as a last resort. Because of this, companies whose services were once limited solely to lawn treatments (pesticides and fertilizers), now offer a range of services including manual weed removal, soil testing, etc.
In fact, some companies provide very good follow-up services dispensed by competent employees capable of diagnosing various problems to which your lawn may fall prey. Obviously, it would be wrong to lump all contractors together, but some have recently made considerable efforts to offer ecological maintenance services.
To find out if a company has recently been convicted of an offense, contact the eco-consultant at the Public Works Department by calling 450 621-3500, ext. 3305.
For additional information:
After building a new home or following a severe infestation of grubs, you have a number of options for putting in a new lawn. Regardless of the one you choose, you should know that, to a great extent, the results will depend on your soil (its texture, organic composition, thickness). And while it may be more expensive to buy a sufficient quantity of high-quality topsoil (minimum 6-inch layer in the case of a new construction), you will come out ahead in the long run, as your annual lawn maintenance costs will be reduced.
Sod is a fast but expensive solution that requires less maintenance than seeding. Furthermore, between early June and mid-August, temperatures do not foster the germination of grass seeds (over 25ºC, dry conditions).
While putting in sod is especially practical if you have young children, as you don’t want them playing in dirt all summer long, it does carry disadvantages other than its high cost.
Firstly, since sod consists mainly of Kentucky blue grass, it is hardly varied. As a result, over time (after approximately 3-4 years), it becomes more vulnerable to pests, unless it has been properly maintained. It is also important to know that sod is grown on agricultural land where it is heavily subjected to pesticides. In fact, when a large quantity of sod is delivered to a neighbourhood, it is not unusual to detect a strong odour of pesticides. Consequently, you must take protective measures when handling the sod (wear long sleeves, pants and gloves). You should also wait a few days before allowing children (or pets) to play on it.
Another important consideration: sod can require a significant amount of water if put in during hot, dry weather. To save water, time sod’s installation with the weather. The planet will be a better place for it.
If you still choose the sod option, you can enhance the contents of your lawn over time, by adding other types of seeds every year. Simply adopt good gardening methods and overseed every fall, introducing new grass varieties to the existing one.
Seeding should be done between mid-May and early June and between mid-August and mid-September when temperatures foster the germination of the seeds. However, these periods can vary according to weather conditions, and every effort should be made to coordinate seeding with cool, rainy weather.
Seeding points to bear in mind:
There is a third, lesser-known option: hydraulic seeding. Offered by some companies, this type of seeding consists in mixing grass seeds with water and projecting it through a pump or hose. This method is more costly than conventional seeding, but is often more effective, especially in the case of sloped surfaces or large areas. It is also faster.
This can be explained in part by the fact that the seeds, which have soaked in water, will germinate more quickly. In addition, the use of mulch (paper fibres, shredded wood, hay or straw) in the mix or applied afterwards, will keep the surface moist longer, and keep birds away from the seeds.
In addition, the seed mix can be personalized to your preferences.
First, you have to know that a healthy lawn (diverse and pesticide-free), with longer roots, is better able to withstand the attacks of more pests than a weakened lawn. As a result, prevention becomes your best weapon against severe infestations, regardless of the type of pest. What’s more, a healthy lawn is much more capable of withstanding the full range of environmental stresses, such as drought, heat, cold, and trampling.
For your lawn to grow well, the temperature must be cool and humid, and the soil must be rich and light. When establishing a new lawn, it is the soil that supports the growth of the grass, which is why it must be adequate if you wish to obtain good results.
If you have adopted ecological maintenance habits in recent years, but your lawn’s appearance leaves much to be desired, the problem most likely lies with the soil’s composition.
In Rosemère, many lots are clayey, resulting in highly compact soil. This is bad for grass roots. To counter the problem, aerate the soil annually, then add a thin layer of topsoil (with aged compost), and overseed, ideally at the end of the summer (mid-August to mid-September), otherwise in the spring. On the other hand, newer neighbourhoods located in the eastern part of the town are on higher ground, and the soil is sandy and poor, which also presents a problem for lawns. Sandy soils should be enriched through the annual addition of topsoil (with 1 cm of aged compost), followed by overseeding.
As for other good habits to adopt
There are instances when conditions are so difficult for grass seeds that the establishment of a healthy lawn is either virtually impossible or too expensive over the long term.This could be a sign that you should stop fighting nature and opt for vegetation that is better suited to the environment and will do well. Rosemère, for example, has many hills and slopes. Properties are seldom level, and often slope towards the ditch in front of houses. Water drains quickly on these inclines, making it particularly difficult from grass to take. However, flowerbeds and rock gardens, including landscaping arrangements for drought conditions, often yield much better results (thyme, gypsophila repens, sedum repens, Irish moss, pink corepopsis, arabis, ajuga, etc.)
On the other hand, there is sometimes so much shade under a tree that grass is unable to grow, which is hardly surprising when you consider that grass is a form of vegetation that thrives in the sun. Compounding the problem is the fact that the quantity of leaves that fall in autumn is sufficient to suffocate any lawn. Putting in shade-friendly vegetation (hostas, ferns), ground covers (vinca minor, moss) and inert materials (flagstones, mulches, etc) are effective alternatives to grass and effectively showcase Rosemère’s many magnificent trees.
In areas with intermediate sun (slight shade), opt for creeping phlox, pachysandra, lysimachia nummularia, dead nettle, birdsfoot trefoil, etc.
Replanning your garden might also provide a welcome opportunity for you to create a cosy corner, with a swing, lanterns, and water garden where you wouldn’t have any grass to mow… Be creative!
For additional information on the establishment or maintenance of a lawn, please contact the Town’s eco-consultant, at 450 621-3500, ext. 3305, or see the following list of reference books and websites:
Ants are social little insects that generally play a useful role in nature and whose presence is not necessarily problematic. Since there are many trees in Rosemère, ants are quite present and active here for much of the season.
In your grass, they can cause a few problems as they tend to build small nests here and there throughout the lawn. On the other hand, they aerate the soil by excavating galleries, clean away small debris and effectively prey on a number of garden pests, including white grubs. While we should learn to appreciate and tolerate them, there are a few things we can do to make our lawn a bit less attractive to them:
Carpenter ants tend to be more worrisome though they are rarely a source of major problems. Carpenter ants build their nest in damp or rotting wood, tunnelling deeply. They are often visible near old tree stumps, fences with rotting wood or close to cords of wood. These ants are quite active; they forage for food wherever they can find it, which is why they visit our houses every spring. If they happen to come across damp wood while visiting, chances are they could settle in. The best way to avoid this situation is to watch for the infiltration of water (window sills, basements, roof…) and to replace any wood that remains damp. As a rule, ants do not attack sound wood, but they will make the most of pre-existing problems.
Although they tend to be more active at night, some clues could point to the presence of an ant colony in your home:
To get rid of a colony of carpenter ants, you have to find the main nest and destroy it. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to locate. In some cases, it is outside the house while satellite nests are indoors. If the nest found inside is easily accessible, simply use a vacuum cleaner (don’t forget to empty the bag and leave it outside…) or boiling water to kill the ants.
A number of so-called "low impact" products can be used if you have ants in the house. Borax-based products (approximately 5% concentration) are used as bait to kill the colony. Foraging ants contaminate the queen by sharing the poisoned food in their second stomach with the rest of the colony through a process known as trophallaxis.
To eliminate outdoor nests, you can install an ant trap at each corner of the house, adding a borax-based product (ex.: "Attack" by Safer’s) as bait. Simply pour the sweet borax mix in aluminium plates or in a trap designed for this purpose ("Ant Pro"), which can be ordered online from natural-insect-control.com. However, the mix must be renewed daily, as it tends to dry out and must remain liquid, if the ants are to drink it.
You can also sprinkle diatomaceous earth ("Insectigone" by Chemfree) where ants are likely to enter or pass. The silica naturally contained in this powder acts mechanically by dehydrating the ants and causing their death. Sold in most good hardware stores or garden centres, these products must be used as directed, and though they are low impact, they should be kept out of the reach of children and pets.
Still, it is important to remember that ants can be useful when they are outside, and the excessive use of diatomaceous earth could prove harmful to other useful insects living in your garden, including the invaluable pollinators.
Whether you are dealing with ants in your lawn or carpenter ants, you must prevent them from entering your home, where they are not welcome. First, you would do well to search for, and seal cracks and holes through which they can enter. In addition, discard aphid-infested houseplants and clean food crumbs from your cupboards, as these could attract them.
Beware of the "good" exterminator who returns every year… If he’s back, it’s because your problem hasn’t been settled! In fact, resorting to the services of an exterminator who uses pesticides is only justified if a colony has settled inside the frame of your home. A conscientious company will also seek a way to keep the ants from entering the house, offering to caulk doors and windows and proposing various methods to seal the different openings.
Resorting to an insect specialist such as an entomologist can often prove to be a better long-term approach. On the other hand, if you must call in an exterminator who uses pesticides, remember that he cannot use them outside the house, unless you have obtained a temporary permit from the Town’s Public Works Department. For additional information, contact the Town’s eco-consultant, at 450 621-3500, ext. 3305.
For additional information:
In today’s world, the cost of having a perfect "weed-free” lawn, both economically and environmentally, is very high, which is why it is so important for you to determine your level of weed tolerance before defining a plan of action.
At the outset, it is important to know that it is difficult for weeds to take hold in a very dense lawn of adequate length. In fact, a lawn that is suddenly overrun with weeds is a lawn that has been weakened for a variety of reasons (poor gardening conditions, soil that is depleted, acidic or overly compact, etc.). Applying good gardening methods will help you counter the problem.
Whether it’s dandelions, plantain, crabgrass, strawberry plants or Creeping Charlie, weeds often take over where grass is already struggling. In Rosemère, the soil is heavy and compact in a number of places, due mainly to its high clay content. These conditions tend to favour the growth of weeds with large, pivoting roots like dandelions and plantain, as well as the proliferation of Creeping Charlie. Others, like strawberry plants, do particularly well in depleted or acidic soil. In these cases, fertilize well using natural products and add lime to restore the soil’s pH balance. A soil test (provided by many gardening centres) can help you opt for the most effective solution.
Avoid keeping lawn sections damaged by grubs from being exposed to weeds too long. In fact, if you wait too long to reseed these patches, annual weeds will take root, including the highly allergenic ragweed or crabgrass, which are very hard to eliminate. These weeds must be ripped out as quickly as possible in the spring, before they have a chance to bloom or produce seeds.
A bit of advice: if you buy a low-impact herbicide treatment such as TOPGUN or ECOCLEAR, available at garden centres, use the proper concentrations and avoid putting too much on the lawn, since they often eliminate all vegetation, without distinction. These products are better suited to the elimination of weeds that grow between paving stones or close to the asphalt.
Ripping weeds out by hand remains the most effective as well as the most ecological way of ridding yourself of these unwanted plants. A tip: after removing the weed, fill the hole with a mixture of earth and lawn seeds. That way, the empty space won’t invite another intruder. For your information, a number of contractors now offer this ecological maintenance service.
About white clover:
White clover cohabitates quite well with grass. However, it does tend to take over in dry or depleted soil. To maintain a fine balance between the two, adopt good gardening practices. Clover requires little maintenance and remains green during heatwaves. It will take better if seeding is done in the spring. However, it is more sensitive to freezing when not covered with snow in winter.
About corn gluten meal:
Corn gluten meal keeps weed seeds from germinating (dandelion, plantain, crabgrass), but it is not a herbicide per se. Consequently, it does not affect the grass or other vegetation already in the lawn. It should be applied in the spring, when the lilacs start to bloom. However, if you are planning to reseed your lawn, you must wait until the fall, since this product will also keep grass seeds from germinating. You can also apply corn gluten meal in early September. It is important to use it in moderation, especially if you have already fertilized, since it is high in nitrogen.
And what about herbicides?
Municipal bylaws prohibit the use of synthetic herbicides to suppress lawn weeds. The Québec Pesticides Management Code, which went into effect in April 2006, is also highly restrictive when it comes to the use of pesticides.
If your lawn maintenance contractor offers you a miracle cure for your weed product, be wary! Chances are it won’t make your dandelions curl up and die, unless of course, some chemical pesticides have been added to the mix. It happens more often than you might think!
Some new low-impact herbicides such as Sarritor (fungus that attacks plants), Fiesta (iron chelate also marketed under the name "Scott’s Weed B-Gone") and Organo Sol (containing citric and lactic acids), can also be offered by contractors but are not applied in a traditional fashion.
At this time, despite the constant marketing of new low-impact products, there is no truly effective selective ecological product (one that will eliminate weeds only). So, if you happen to detect the odour of chemical products in your neighbourhood, contact the eco-consultant at the Technical Services and Public Works Department, 450 621-3500, ext. 3305.
For additional information: