Chinook Landscaping and Design – Landscaping Calgary Specialists
Calgary, Alberta
403-452-8552
Mon-Fri 8:00 AM- 5:00 PM.
14 May 2019
weeds

What to do with weeds?

Weeds, weeds and more weeds!   Don’t you just love them?  Weeds are a persistent and common issue in Calgary and across the globe for that matter.  As you probably know, weeds are a plant just like other perennials.  They are here because they have evolved to survive and as we all know, weeds will do whatever it takes to survive.  What to do with weeds is one of the most common questions we get from our customers in Calgary.  Landscaping in Calgary is challenging that is for certain and weeds make landscaping here even more challenging.

The most common weeds in Calgary

Calgary has some particularly and very evasive weed varieties with. Choosing the best shrubs for Calgary can help reduce weeds in your garden bed.  Knowing these weed varieties and how to deal with them is important when maintaining your landscaping in Calgary.

Dandelions

Dandelions may taste great in a salad but they can be a real irritant when they invade your beautifully landscaped garden beds.  The City of Calgary has stopped spraying Dandelions in many areas throughout the city.  Up until a few years ago the city sprayed with a chemical called 24D.  This chemical would kill dandelions while not affecting the health of grass.  The City of Calgary would spray this herbicide on city parks and playgrounds.  Now, 24D has been deemed as a carcinogen recently so now it is not used as frequently as it used to be.  What does this have to do with you home garden?  Dandelions are famous for there seed blossoms that occur in a beautiful burst, buried in the soft white and fluffy seed pods.  These seed pods are perfectly designed to float throughout the environment during the smallest of breezes.  The seeds fly away and settle wherever they end up.  The result is a new crop of Dandelions popping up throughout the city.  You are likely used to seeing more Dandelions if you are close to city parks and playground because there seeds can migrate to your garden beds and lawns very easily. Reducing or eliminating Dandelions is possible even if they have invaded your lawn areas.  There are many weed and feed options available at your local garden centre.  These offer a way to reduce your Dandelions while fertilizing you lawns.  Hand digging your Dandelions is effective as well but this will need to be done repeatedly whereas a weed and feed application will only be required every few months during the growing season.  Roundup is very effective at killing dandelions.  But please be sure to wear protective gloves, glasses and clothing and do not spray Roundup if there is any breeze.  Drift from the spray can and will kill neighbouring trees, shrubs and sod.

Quack grass

Quackgrass is the most evasive and persistent weed we have come across.  Just when you think you have a nice clean garden bed that is Quack grass free it pops up again seemingly out of no where. Quackgrass is a super tough native grass that grows wild throughout Alberta.  It is a very tough resilient grass that will invade your lawns and garden in no time if you don’t take the time to fully eliminate it.  Quackgrass in lawns is particularly troublesome when it creeps into your lawn area.  The grass has deeper roots than conventional lawn grass like Kentucky Bluegrass or creeping red fescue grass.  Therefore, rooting out Quackgrass can be a chore to say the least.  Quackgrass making its way into garden beds is a very common problem in Calgary landscaping.  Many homeowners and landscapers make the mistake of simply removing Quackgrass leaves that are showing from the top of the soil.  This is a mistake because Quackgrass will always come back unless you remove Quackgrass at the roots.  Quackgrass has very extensive root systems so in order to make sure they will not continue to evade your garden beds you need to make sure all of the root system is removed.  You need to remove all of the roots and root systems that occur far below the surface of the grass itself.  We often encounter perennial garden beds that are overrun with Quackgrass and in order to eradicate the Quackgrass completely we have to turn the soil at a depth of 16″ or more, remove the root system and replenish the soil with good quality garden mix. Quackgrass is not usually easily killed with herbicides like Round up

Clover

Clover is one of the strongest, hardiest weeds in Calgary.  Clover is a super strong plant that has a very extensive root system.  Like Quackgrass, Clover does not respond well to herbicides such as Roundup.  Clover can spread very quickly and it can take over garden areas in no time at all if it is not removed.  Herbicides may slow clover down but removing them completely is the key to eradicating clover.   Clover needs to be removed from the root like most evasive weeds. Established clover is known to have a tap root that can be a foot long or more.  Pulling out these long tap roots can be a real workout for your forearms.  You may be tempted to simply cut out most of the root but these roots will sprout into new clover plants in no time.  So be sure to remove the entire tap root to make sure the clover will not return.

Managing your weed problem

There are many ways to greatly reduce your weed issues.  As we mentioned above, hand weeding is a great way to reduce and eliminate weeds but it has to be done repeatedly in order to insure your weeds will be eliminated.  Here are some ways to reduce your weed problems.

Landscaping fabric and mulch

Landscaping fabric or weed barriers are commonly used in garden beds to slow down weed growth.  Weed barriers are often called landscaping fabric or cloth.  There are many weed barriers sold in big box stores that are essentially useless when it comes to slowing down weeds.  These cheap weed barriers allow lots of light in them so plants will continue to thrive. A professional landscaper will always use a good quality weed barrier.   If you are planning on installing your landscaping yourself then avoid buying you weed barrier from a big box store.  Instead of a big box store, choose a local garden centre or landscape supplier to buy your landscaping fabric or weed barrier.  If you can tear landscaping fabric apart with your hands then it is definitely not a good quality weed barrier.  We recommend a good weed barrier for low maintenance landscaping for Calgary.  Choose a thick and strong landscape fabric that will not allow light through it.  If any light gets through, your weeds will eventually get through too.  Mulch on its own will not reduce your weed problem very much.  Especially if they are very tough weeds like the ones we listed above.  Mulch has other uses such as aesthetics, and helping your soil retain moisture.  If one of the main purposes of your mulch is to prevent weeds then you will need to add a landscape fabric or weed barrier first.  If you are xeriscaping your yard in Calgary you will want to use fabric and mulch for your garden beds.  Mulch comes in many forms including cedar mulch, black mulch, bark mulch and decorative stone mulch. New mulches include rubber mulch.  Read more about how to properly install landscaping fabric by checking out our post Does landscaping fabric really work?

Herbicides

Herbicides are less and less desirable and acceptable these days.  Some of the most effective herbicides like 24D are no longer available.  24D was very effective at killing dandelions in lawns so it was used widely throughout North America.  Companies such as Greendrop can apply a weed and feed solution that is very effective at killing dandelions while fertilizing your lawn.  We have found that this weed and feed solution kills 90% of dandelions in lawns. You can purchase a weed and feed solution at local garden centres such as Greengate  and apply it yourself.  Make sure you do not apply too much of this solution and follow the instructions.  Too much fertilizer or weed killer can be detrimental to your lawn.  There are many spot weed killers like Roundup on the market that are extremely effective at killing weeds.  Roundup has mixed reviews when it comes to health concerns.  There are many studies saying Roundup is not a health risk but other studies say otherwise.  Never spray Roundup like chemicals if there is any breeze at all.  The drift will kill your lawn , trees and shrubs.  Roundup needs to be sprayed directly on the weed only from a very close distance.   If you choose to use a weed killer like Roundup it is best to follow directions, never spray in a breeze and wear protective gloves, glasses and clothing.  So, what to do with weeds?  Ultimately, the best way to reduce your weed problem is to hand weed or use a weed barrier and mulch.

 

07 Apr 2019

Landscapers and BBB accreditation is more important than ever

There was a time when the Better Business Bureau or the BBB is it is commonly called, was the main source consumers went to in order to find trustworthy businesses in Calgary.  In this technology driven age, Landscapers and BBB Accreditation is more important than ever. The internet is full of websites, review sites and business listing sites. So, it can be very difficult to identify real and trustworthy landscaping companies.

A new review site seems to pop up everyday

There seems to be a new review site popping up everyday.  Some of the most common are Google, Yelp, Houzz, and Homestars.  There are also numerous other review sites that target homeowners.  Many of these business listing websites do not have the technology or the staff to property identify real reviews and fake reviews. Landscapers and other businesses can say whatever they want about their business and nobody can challenge them. This is why Landscapers and BBB accreditation is more important than ever.   Some areas companies can be misleading on are How long they have been in business, what memberships they have, are the pictures on their website actually their work.  There are so many companies out there using photos of landscaping that were just copy and pasted off the internet.  The Better Business Bureau actually vets business and thoroughly checks out their websites.  They identity how long the company has been in business, whether they are making false claims or claiming another companies landscaping work is their own.  A company cannot become BBB accredited if it does not meet these standards.  Another great thing about the Better Business Bureau is it is staffed by real people.  You can still call them directly to voice concerns with any contractor.  They will contact the contractor and verify the complaint.  You can visit the BBB online and research businesses to find out if they are accredited.  You can also view how long they have been in business, the owners names and whether they have has issues with customers or customer complaints if any kind. Landscapers and BBB accreditation is more important than ever if you are wanting to know the real facts about landscaping companies in Calgary.

Chinook Landscaping and Design is a long time BBB accredited member

Chinook Landscaping and design  has been a member of the BBB in Calgary since 2011.  We were proud to be awarded the Business Ethics Award for 2012, 2013, 2014.  Beginning in 2015 the BBB stopped the Torch Awards so we are very honoured to have received this award in the final years it was presented.  We have continued to win many landscaping Calgary awards since 2014 including the Consumers choice award, Calgary Herald Readers Choice Award and many others.  We were one of the first landscaping contractors in Calgary not to ask for deposits or progress payments.  We feel that this gives our customers peace of mind and is an ethical way to do business.  We have maintained an A+ rating with the BBB since becoming a member in 2011.  In that time we have never had any complaints from Calgary homeowners.

Landscapers and BBB accreditation is more important than ever so make sure to check out the BBB to find out more about any contractor you are thinking of hiring.

04 Apr 2019

Chinook Landscaping app now on Apple App store!

Chinook landscaping and design is excited to introduce our first landscaping Calgary app.  It is ready for you to download to your iPhone now at the Apple app store.

Chinook Landscaping created this app to:

 

Estimate your landscaping materials.

Quickly and easily estimate the amount of material you will need for your landscaping project.  Calculate soil for garden beds, crushed gravel for hardscaping areas, mulch or decorative stone for garden bed toppings or decorative rock for around your yard.  The material calculator gives you accurate materials required in just a few seconds>

Pics for Landscaping ideas

Our new Chinook Landscaping app features all of the landscaping creations we have done in the past several years.  Click on the photos page to view pictures of patios and walkways, paving stones  and more hardscaping projects.  You can also view photos of garden bed edging
Water features, garden bed designs, fire pits and planters

Tree and shrub guide.

Many Calgary homeowners are not sure of what kinds of trees and shrubs to plant in their front and back yards. Use this part of the app when planting trees and shrubs. Scroll through the pictures to view many photos of trees and shrubs that grow well in Calgary.
The pictures include captions with the shrub or tree name so you can easily identify the type of shrub or tree you are viewing.

Fast estimate request feature

See a landscaping picture you like?  Or a tree or shrub you would like planted?  You can contact us very quickly via our Chinook Landscaping app by simple clicking on request estimate.  We receive the estimates quickly and we will respond fast to your estimate request.

Download the app here :   Chinook Landscaping app 

Enjoy!

24 Oct 2018

Define your borders!

Defining your borders is the key to great looking landscaping.  There is nothing that helps you create a great looking landscape more than defining the borders of your garden beds and tree wells.  You can use various border materials to define your borders such as stone mow pavers, Vinyl edging, aluminum edging, clean line edging, natural edging, raised or natural stone, concrete curbing.  Define your borders with creative curves or straight lines depending on your preference. Not only do defined borders give you a great looking landscape but they also help with maintenance of your yard by helping to keep grass from growing into your garden beds or mulch or decorative stone spilling on to your lawn.  If you are on a budget then you could choose to simply edge out a defined border around your tree wells or garden beds.  This will need to be done one time per season at a minimum.  A more permanent border like edging or mowing pavers will eliminate the need for hand edging giving you a lower maintenance landscape.