Gerry's Blog




Borax (sodium tetraborate, a white, crystalline mineral salt) has been found to be an effective herbicide for Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea, also known as ground ivy, creeping jenny and gill-over-the-ground). Creeping Charlie is an invasive perennial weed that vines throughout lawns and chokes out grass. Since the 1920s, borax detergent has been used as an herbicide to eradicate weeds, but it has only recently been tested scientifically for effectiveness on Creeping Charlie.

Borax contains boron which is an essential micronutrient that assists in sugar transportation in plants. However, even in minute excess amounts, boron has a toxic effect on creeping charlie.

Borax must be applied with great caution because boron remains immobile in the soil and can accumulate to form a "hot spot" in the lawn. Boron toxicity results in yellow and brown spots around edges of leaves. Stems wilt and eventually the weed dies. Established grass appears to withstand the minute excess of boron needed to kill creeping charlie, though it may show brown discoloration temporarily. If the borax solution is applied in too high a concentration, or repeatedly, it will then be toxic to grass and many other plants.

This treatment can be applied only once each year for two years. If you still have creeping charlie problems, then switch to a standard herbicide.

Before applying borax as a herbicide be sure to test your spraying technique and the rate at which liquid sprays from the nozzle. Fill the sprayer with water and walk at a constant pace, passing back and forth over an area the same size as the one to be sprayed with borax. Your goal is to walk fast enough to empty the sprayer tank, spreading its contents evenly over the entire area.

Borax Solution for Creeping Charlie Control:

Dissolve 10 oz. Twenty Mule Team Borax in 4 oz. (? cup) warm water.
Dilute in 2.5 gallons of water.
This will cover 1,000 square feet. If you have a smaller area to treat, cut the "recipe" accordingly.

Apply borax when Creeping Charlie is actively growing in the spring, when no rain is expected for 48 hours. The borax treatment appears to be most effective during warm summers when soil moisture is ample.

Remember: The borax recipe has been tested only on Creeping Charlie and is not to be used on other broadleaf weeds. Be sure to use the borax spray only on the lawn because research shows that established grass is tolerant of the spray. It should not be used in gardens.

If creeping charlie is growing in a very shady location, think about what you can replace it with before spraying this borax treatment. Unless you can establish other plants you'll find the creeping charlie sprouting again in the same location.

A healthy lawn is the strongest defense against weeds. Maintaining a regime of proper mowing practices, watering and fertilization, will enable any gardener to combat weeds in a lawn. Contact your local County Extension Office or call The Yard and Garden Line for information on lawn maintenance and fertilization.
Creeping Charlie


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Grub protection time is coming soon. Order Now.

Grubs will be hatching soon. When they do, they have a tendency to do a lot of damage to lawns. Here in Ontario, Merit is no longer a legal product (even though the granular Merit that we once used is less poisonous than table salt).

Nematodes are now the only choice in Ontario. Nematodes are microscopic worms that find their way into the grubs. Once inside, they multiply and produce a toxin that knocks the grubs off the scene.

Nematodes are living organisms and need special treatment and care. They require lots of moisture to prevent them from drying and dying. Ideally, applications done during a rainfall are the best. Unfortunately, there aren't enough rainy days during the August-September time period for everyone to get a nematode treatment. The folks with sprinklers are lucky - set the sprinkler system to manual and give the lawn a watering. This will get the nematodes off the lawn and down into the soil.

Please order your Grub Protection Now. There are indications that Nematodes may be in short supply.


If you have a lawn/tree/shrub that needs some Tender Loving Care - get The KING OF GREEN – The Lawn Care Experts

Turf King Home

Click here to Request a Quote Online -

or call us at 905.318.6677 or 1.888.TURFKING (887.3546)

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Copyright 2009 Turf King-Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.

Steve sent an email asking, "What will you be using this year for white grubs?"

I replied, "I was thinking of hiring trained skunks and raccoons to go out onto
the lawns. They will be trained to remove the grubs and eat them. Most
importantly, they will be trained to put the grass back down, green
side up, and stomp it down with their paws.

The only other legal treatment is to use beneficial nematodes.
We used to use granular Merit, now a banned pesticide. Incidentally, granular Merit incidentally is less poisonous than table salt.

btw, any skunk trainers out there??

Here is a recent article from Turf and Recreation Magazine about Nematodes

The value of entomophathogenic nematodes in lawn pest control
By Lily Darold
Marketing Communications Manager
Becker Underwood Inc.

The recently enacted ban on cosmetic pesticide use in Ontario has lawn care specialists wondering which biopesticides offer the best results and are a safe alternative.

Entomopathogenic nematodes are an effective alternative to conventional insecticides. Now, more than ever, these nematodes are gaining acceptance and use as an important tool in controlling turfgrass insect pests.
"Entomopathogenic nematodes are remarkably versatile and useful against many soil and cryptic insect pests in diverse cropping systems, yet nematodes are clearly underutilized," states Randy Gaugler, Department of Entomology at Rutgers University. 

Nematodes are simple, microscopic roundworms - colourless, unsegmented and lacking appendages.
Certain plant parasitic nematodes are associated with crop damage. These harmful organisms include cyst, sting, lance and root knot nematodes. The beneficial nematodes, Entomopathogenic, have proven highly effective in controlling insect pests and reducing the damage they can cause. Entomopathogenic nematodes belong to the Steinernema and Heterorabditis nematode families.

Beneficial nematodes attack larvae by entering their natural body openings. Once inside, they release symbiotic bacteria that quickly kill the insect. Reproduction inside the insect releases a new generation of hungry, infective juveniles that disperse in search of further prey.

What makes these nematodes useful as a bio-insecticide is that applications are safe for the environment. There is no need for protective masks or safety equipment. While they are lethal to insect pests, they have no harmful effect on plants or animals. Groundwater contamination and pollution are not concerns.

In addition, nematodes can be applied with standard agrochemical equipment and sprayers, and kill the target insect within 24 to 48 hours.

Additional benefits of using nematodes include:

*   Quickly controls pest larvae at the time of application
*   Controls the problem before it appears
*   No re-entry restrictions
*   No pest resistance problems
*   Natural product that is safe for users, consumers and the environment
*   Compatible with other biological/IPM systems
*   Non-toxic with no requirement for protective clothing
*   No disposal restrictions

Choosing the appropriate nematode product for a specific target pest is crucial, as each species carries different bacteria, uses different hunting tactics and has different temperature activity ranges.
Several different strains of beneficial nematodes are currently marketed for controlling insect pests in the turf industry:

* Steinernema carpocapsae searches out, enters and controls Armyworm, Billbug, Sod Webworm, Annual Bluegrass Weevil, Cutworms, Fleas, Cinch Bugs
* Brands: Millenium, BioNem C, Guardian, NemAttack
* Steinernema feltiae controls Leatherjacket
* Brand names: Nemasys, Gnat Patrol
* Heterorhabditis bacteriophora is effective against European Chafer Grub, Oriental Beetle Grub, Masked Chafer Grub, Japanese Beetle Grub and Black Vine Weevil
* Brand names: Nemasys G, NemaSeek
* Steinernema scapterisci targets Mole Crickets
* Brand names: Nematac S

A study completed by the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries showed that H. bacteriophora was the most effective non-chemical product for control of second-instar European Chafer larvae, causing 100 per cent chafer mortality relative to the control, only 48 hours after treatment.
Just like any other pest control, the implementation of nematodes requires users to be knowledgeable about how to use them effectively.

While you are considering the use of beneficial nematodes in your operation, keep these five tips in mind:

1. Take the 'tool box' approach. Think of beneficial nematodes as another tool in your integrated pest management tool box. When used along with beneficial insects, crop scouting and other cultural practices, beneficial nematodes provide another valuable tool for controlling crop pests.

2. Buy quality and know what you are getting. Not all nematodes are created equally. Since nematodes are a living organism, they require special handling to ensure that they will be effective when applied. Be sure that the nematodes you purchase have been shipped and stored in a way that does this. Most nematode suppliers ship directly to the grower using next day or second day air freight along with ice packs to keep the nematodes cool. There are several quality manufacturers and marketers of nematodes in North America, many of whom are members of ANBP. For a listing of members see the ANBP website at

3. Read and follow label directions. The formulation of nematodes varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. As a result, the mixing and handling instructions may differ, depending on the manufacturer. Be sure to read the directions for use provided with the nematodes. Pay special attention to the storage guidelines and expiration date information. Most nematodes need to be refrigerated but not frozen. Detailed storage instructions should be provided by the supplier. Removal of screens from spray nozzles may also be recommended.

4. Know the pest's life cycle. While few of us are entomologists, having a good understanding of the life cycle of the pest being controlled is still needed. Nematodes are primarily effective on the insect's larva stage and not on adults. The nematode will enter the larvae and release a lethal bacterium. So being able to recognize and anticipate the life cycle of the pest will help you in timing the nematode application to maximize its effectiveness.

5. Resource the industry contacts. Since nematodes are very specific and selective in the pests they control, having the assistance and input of others knowledgeable in the use of nematodes will be helpful. Reach out to your industry contacts for further help and assistance. Some university researchers and extension professionals specialize in the study and use of nematodes. Other growers and producers may be able to provide information about their experiences in using nematodes. Your distributor sales representatives and the nematode manufacturer are also important resources for providing assistance and recommending the right nematode and rate to use in controlling the target pest.

By using these five easy steps, you can begin to use nematodes as a part of your integrated pest management program.

To learn more about these products, contact a reputable distributor of your choice. They can provide detailed cost, use and application information.

Becker Underwood creates and produces specialty bio-agronomic and colorant products for turf management, agriculture, seed treatment, wood recycling, aquaculture, vegetation management, forestry, structural pest control and many other industries. All products are developed and manufactured under strict ISO 9001 standards. Quality is monitored at every step, from raw materials through packaging. This same quality is reflected in customer-focused field support staff. For more information, visit .

Skunks- thank you for eating the grubs in my lawn

If you have a lawn/tree/shrub that needs some Tender Loving Care - get The KING OF GREEN – The Lawn Care Experts

Turf King Home

Click here to Request a Quote Online -

or call us at 905.318.6677 or 1.888.TURFKING (887.3546)

If you would like more information, please Contact us

Follow us on Twitter

Join our Facebook page

Copyright 2010 Turf King-Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.





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