Tom Bird Waterloo October 26, 2005


I am wondering if anyone knows of research that has examined barriers related to reducing weed and feed use. I am coordinating a pesticide reduction initiative for the Region of Waterloo, Ontario, and am considering weed and feed use as a target behaviour for next season's campaign. Our research indicates that 51% of our residents with lawns are using weed and feed and among these, one-third do not consider weed and feed to be a pesticide. Given that weed and feed is often applied unnecessarily as a preventative measure rather than to deal with weed problems when they arise, it seems a logical target for pesticide reduction. More specifically, it would be helpful to know of research identifying the users' perceived benefits of this product and their perceptions about using fertilizer only and spot-treating weeds as needed. This past season we utilized a CBSM approach to promote pesticide-free lawn care methods. Pre- and post-campaign evaluations indicated success at encouraging relatively simple changes in behaviour such as mowing high, grass cycling, and fertilizing. However, even among those that adopted pesticide-free lawn care practices, their pesticide use remained unchanged. For next year, we will need to do more to emphasize the connection between effective cultural practices for lawn care and the resulting reduced need for pesticide use. Weed and feed users seems to be a good target audience for this messaging. Any help would be appreciated.

Tom Bird
Region of Waterloo Public Health Waterloo,
Ontario, Canada