Don’t be fooled:
Weed and feed means pesticides

UPdate Summer 2007

“Weed and feed”. “Fertilize and weed.” “With weed control.” Combination lawn products may not say PESTICIDES in big letters on the package, but that’s exactly what they are -- a combination of pesticides (weed) and chemical fertilizer (feed.) In communities which do not have the protection of pesticide bylaws, weed and feed products account for two thirds of the pesticides used on lawns and gardens.

Many high- powered sources, even some who support pesticide use, say weed and feed products are the wrong solution for lawn problems.

"Combination products, like the product Feed & Weed, have been found to be over-purchased by 67 per cent and nearly 53 per cent of purchasers are not reading the product labels. Products are over-applied to the entire lawn, not merely to areas of weeds, and so are counter to pesticide reduction strategies.” Jim Moore, Supervisor Parks and Grounds, City of Moncton Source: Moncton Times & Transcript, May 12, 2006

"Weed and feeds are a half-baked tool that don't work, make a lot of money and put 10 to 20 times more chemicals on the lawn than are needed," said Jack Wetmore, Board Member, New Brunswick Horticultural Trades Association. Source: NB Telegraph-Journal, June 2, 2005

“The PMRA [Pest Management Review Agency] approves all of the individual active pesticide ingredients under the Pest Control Products Act. But because weed 'n' feeds are classified as fertilizers, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is responsible for testing the fertilizer components under the Fertilizers Act. Yet no one, the Citizen has learned, tests the final, end-use weed 'n' feed products for possible hazardous synergies between their various chemical compounds.”
Source: Ian MacLeod, The Ottawa Citizen, July 3, 2004
[Ed note: Its now 2007, and weed and feed products are still approved as fertilizers. They are not evaluated under pesticide regulations, or given a pesticide product code.]

Scientists doing water quality testing commonly find the three weed killers in most weed-and-feed products (2,4-D, MCPP and dicamba) in Puget Sound area streams. Even if you don't live near the water, pesticides from your yard could travel through storm drains- untreated- to the nearest stream, lake or Puget Sound. Quick-release fertilizers, commonly used in most weed and feed products, apply a quick and heavy dose of nutrients to the lawn, and are more likely to wash off into local lakes. This increases algae growth in lakes and reduces oxygen levels, killing fish and other organisms.
Source: King County, Seattle, Washington,

• The Canadian Medical Association has called on the Federal government to rescind registration of all combined fertilizer/pesticide products.
• February, 2005, CMA letter to Federal Health Minister, Ujjal Dosanjh
• Quebec’s Pesticide Code bans the use and sale of all combination weed and feed products.
• Use of weed and feed products is prohibited under Halifax Regional Municipality’s pesticide bylaw. However, many stores in HRM continue to sell weed and feed products, creating confusion about whether the products are approved under the bylaw, and whether they contain hazardous pesticides.
Thanks to Mike Christie, Coalition for a Healthy Ottawa