The City’s Grass and Weeds Bylaw has been updated and the new Turfgrass and Prohibited Plants Bylaw came into effect on January 1, 2022. The new bylaw modernizes regulations, supports biodiversity and streamlines enforcement efforts.

Under the updated bylaw, all property owners or occupants will be required to maintain their property to meet the following maintenance requirements focusing on health and safety:

  • Turfgrass must be cut when the growth exceeds 20 centimetres
  • Land must be kept free of prohibited plants listed under the bylaw
  • Plants cannot obstruct sidewalks or roadways and
  • Plants cannot restrict driver and pedestrian sight lines at intersections, driveways, sidewalks, walkways, or visibility to all traffic control devices

Residents can contact 311 to report a property that violates these bylaw requirements.

Owners or occupants of private property are required to cut the turfgrass on their land whenever the growth exceeds 20 centimetres in height or length. The bylaw considers turfgrass to include various perennial grasses grown for lawns. These are grasses typical of traditional lawn that forms a dense, uniform turf if mown.

All gardens and properties must meet the following maintenance requirements:

  • Land must be kept free of prohibited plants listed under the bylaw
  • Plants cannot obstruct sidewalks or roadways and
  • Plants cannot restrict driver and pedestrian sight lines at intersections, driveways, sidewalks, walkways, or visibility to any traffic control devices

The owner or occupant of private properties must keep their land free of the following plants. These plants are prohibited on private land because they pose a threat to ecological and/or human health and safety.

  • Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)
  • Common buckthorn; Glossy buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica; Frangula alnus)
  • Dog-strangling vine (Cynanchum rossicum; Cynanchum louiseae)
  • Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
  • Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)
  • Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria japonica var. japonica)
  • Phragmites (Phragmites australis subsp. australis)
  • Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)
  • Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
  • Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia)

Toronto is located in a place of particularly rich biodiversity. Learn more about biodiversity in the City and Toronto’s first Biodiversity Strategy.

The best way to help native pollinators is to create a pollinator-friendly garden and plant native plants. Read more about pollinator-friendly garden tips and plant lists to get your garden started.

If a property does not meet City standards, the City may send an advisory letter to the property owner notifying them to comply with bylaw requirements. Property owners will be asked to comply with the bylaw by a certain date.

If no action is taken, a bylaw officer will follow up to take appropriate action to achieve compliance with the bylaw. If property owners do not comply with the bylaw, the City can carry out maintenance work to ensure compliance and the costs of the work may be added to the property tax bill.

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