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Are Lawnscience treatments safe for pets?

Posted on 24 May 2014
Filed under Dogs, General, Pets
pets on a lawn

CC Image from Janet Tarbox on Flickr

I am often asked if the Lawnscience lawn care treatments are safe for pets. The answer is generally yes, however there are some special cases for some small animals where a few lawn care treatments may become an issue and care should be taken to ensure safety.

Cats, dogs and lawn care

The most common pets, cats and dogs, are at very little risk from standard fertilisation and weed control treatments. The only thing that I advise for most treatments is that the lawn is allowed to dry before letting them back on the lawn. This is for a couple of reasons. Firstly once a herbicide has dried onto a leaf then it won’t be picked up onto the fur of the pet and possibly licked. Although the risk of illness is extremely small due to the very tiny amounts of herbicide used in professional treatments, it is best to avoid any possibility of this occurring. Secondly, for treatments which contain soluble iron such as some moss treatments, then allowing the treatment to dry will prevent any possibility of the product being walked into your house on paws, as doing this could stain wooden floors and surfaces.

Rabbits, guinea pigs and tortoises

For small animals which actually graze on grass, such as rabbits, guinea pigs and tortoises, then I advise a slightly different approach. It is not advisable for these small animals to eat grass which has recently been treated with a systemic herbicide or fungicide. Again, any risk would be very low, but as these animals are very small, and the quantity of grass in their diet can be quite high, it is advised that small grazing animals should not go on a lawn for at least six weeks after treating. This gives enough time for any chemical residues to grow out of the grass.

Keeping your pets safe

For these reasons, it is important to discuss any pets with your lawn care technician as your schedule and treatments applied can be modified. This will ensure great results, while also taking the safety of your beloved animals thoroughly into account.

If you are considering lawn care, but are worried about the affect of any treatments on your pets, then get in touch and I will happily, and honestly, discuss your situation and advise.

Kris Lord
Lawnscience (South Manchester) Ltd

Further reading


Open gardens in south Manchester in 2014

Didsbury Open GardenThe summer months are fantastic times of the year for gardens, and every year a great many garden owners gracefully open their private gardens to the public in the form of an open garden day. For just a few pounds donation to a worthy cause, you can have a delightful wander around a wonderful tended garden and gain inspiration and ideas for your own garden.

In south Manchester, we are spoiled for choice when it come to open garden days, with five local areas annually opening their garden gates to the public, a number of National garden Scheme gardens and local charity open days means that you have over a hundred gardens available to see over the season. To help you decide where to go, I have put together this list with links. If you know of any more, please let me know.

Village open garden days

These are communities that get together and open a number of gardens, usually all within walking distance of each other. It is a great way for the village to come together and to showcase their gardens and community spaces and to raise some money for charity.

  • Heatons Open Gardens
    Sun 19 May 2014 between 12pm and 5pm
    A total of 21 participating gardens, full of innovative and decorative ideas, will be opening their gates to the local community.
  • Didsbury Open Gardens – Didsbury
    Sunday 8 June 2014 between 11:30am and 5:30pm
    With 30 new and old gardens to visit. Live classical and guitar music, a pop up Pestaurant and a chance to see a real Falcon, have family fun and a barbie at the Nazarene College, take tours of the allotments, enjoy teas and cakes … and lots more.
  • Burnage and Levenshulme Open Gardens
    Sunday 22 June 2014 between 11:30am and 5:30pm
    Come along and visit a wide number of gardens in Burnage and Levenshulme, South Manchester. Refreshments and other products will also be on sale during the day. Tea, coffee, juice, cakes and scones will be on sale at 51A Burnside Drive in aid of Freedom from Torture.
  • Wilmslow Wells for Africa Open Gardens Day – Wilmslow and Alderley Edge
    Sunday 28 June 2014 between 11am and 4.30pm
    £10 gets you access to 21 wonderful gardens across Wilmslow and Alderley Edge, with 7 new gardens for 2014.

NGS open gardens

The NGS is the National Gardens Scheme, which is a UK-wide organisation that “opens gardens of quality, character and interest to the public for charity”. There are over 4,000 gardens currently in the scheme, and we are lucky enough to have some excellent ones right here on our doorstep.

For more information on the gardens, contact the relevant garden owners.

Take a look at the Website for further listings of garden days around the country.

Hairy bittercress (cardamine hirsuta)

Hairy bittercress plant

The hairy bittercress (cardamine hirsuta) is an extremely common garden weed which can quickly appear on any bare soil on vegetable patches, flower borders and in any thinner areas of your lawn.

It is from the Cardamine genus, which is a large group of over 150 flowering annual and perennial plants that are in the Brassicaceae family and so, bittercress is related to cabbages, sprouts, broccoli and mustard.

It is also commonly known as lamb’s cress, land cress, flick weed and shot weed.

It can be sometimes confused with wavy bittercress (cardamine flexuosa), but differs in that hairy bittercress is a short-lived annual, whereas wavy bittercress is a biennial or perennial plant. It is also related to the larger and more showy cuckoo flower (cardamine pratense).

Hairy bittercress is native to Europe and Asia, and has now made its way over to North America. It is often transported into gardens on the compost of container-grown plants and, once a group is established, can quickly spread to all areas of your garden. It is only really a problem over the winter on thin lawns, or in shady, moist areas where the grass finds it difficult to spread.

How do I identify hairy bittercress?

Hairy bittercress is a small weed, rarely growing more than a few centimetres high. The hairless stems grow out of a central rosette, with dark green round-ish leaves regularly spaced along its length which are no more than 0.5cm wide. It quickly develops small, delicate, white, four-petaled flowers which grow into long narrow seed pods (called siliques) and these pods can open explosively (through a process called explosive dehiscence), sending the seed up to a metre away from the parent plant. The tiny seeds are also sticky and are easily transported around gardens, stuck to clothes, tools and machines, which is how it can spread so quickly around your garden. Seeds can also remain dormant in covered soil for several years, germinating once they have been brought to the surface.

Hairy bittercress flower

Hairy bittercress leaf

Hairy bittercress is an edible herb but, as its name suggests, it is rather bitter and unpleasant to taste so is rarely used in cooking, although hunter gather cook does suggest a recipe for bittercress pesto.

Control of hairy bittercress in a lawn

Hairy bittercress is rarely a problem weed in lawns, choosing to occupy damp thin areas of the lawn where the grass has trouble growing anyway. It can be easily hand-weeded out, but larger colonies can be treated with a herbicide. It is controlled easily with a Lawnscience standard treatment.

Kris Lord
Lawnscience (South Manchester) Ltd

Hair bittercress in a thin lawn

Further reading about hairy bittercress

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