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.

 

06 May 2019

Modern patio Ideas

Techo bloc modern patio slabs

The landscaping industry has come a long way and now there are more modern patio ideas than ever to choose from. You can choose from pouring concrete slabs. large slab pavers and architectural slab, Composite or hardwood decking or traditional cedar decking.  Paving stones used to be only available in small bricks with very little options for styles and colours.  Now, that has all changed.  Manufacturers are now creating larger and multi sized paving stone patterns that come in a wide variety of styles and colours.

Paving stones and patio slabs

Modern great interlocking patio with rectangular fire pit and flame burning
Dakota paving stones with linear fire pit

Paving stone manufacturers such as Techo Bloc and Rinox are coming up with more and more styles and colours every season.  Many of the new styles of pavers are actually throwbacks to many many years ago yet they are returning as popular landscaping trends in Calgary.  You will see similar paving stones in older European cities such as London, England. You can even find pre cast paving stones that look like natural stone.  Large slab pavers or architectural slabs are also becoming more and more popular for modern patio ideas. Landscaping trends are definitely leaning towards larger paver slabs.  The patio slabs can be installed tightly together to create a solid patio.  They can also be laid out in a linear fashion with either crushed decorative stone in between or inset directly into sod.  This modern patio look goes best with modern homes.  The linear lines really compliment this style of home.  You can also use the patio slabs for walkways to continue the modern look throughout your front or back yard.  We do not recommend installing these patio slabs as a walkway unless they are installed tightly together.  If they are not installed tightly together and there are spaces in-between them, you will find your walkway will not be shovel friendly.

Poured concrete benches and patios.

Using concrete as you main structure for benches and patio will give your patio a very modern look.  Concrete benches can be poured in many shapes and sizes depending on your needs.  The poured concrete look gives your patio a clean and sleek modern feel. The concrete itself can be dyed in various different colours and can even be blended to give you a mix of colour throughout your patio and benches.  Concrete patios are nothing new but there are many different styles that are new.  The California look is based on modern homes in places like Palm Springs.  The California style is lighter concrete that is white or off white.  Traditional concrete patios can be poured using exposed aggregate or stamped concrete.  Stamped is still a good option and there are now more patterns and colours than ever to choose from.  We do not recommend stamped concrete for busy walkways around your home because they can tend to be slippery

Soften your modern patio with wood accents and plantings

warm arbor wood structure
Warm up your patio with a cedar arbor

If you plan on using large slabs or poured concrete for your patios and walkways it is important to soften the look.  Large areas of concrete can tend to look too industrial and cold and although these paver slabs are modern looking this landscaping trend needs to be softened with wood or plantings,  So you can choose to warm these areas up by incorporating warm wood accents.  For example a concrete bench looks fantastic if you add cedar or meranti hardwood seating area.  Adding these wood benches will installing warm up your patio.  You can also choose to add a wood pergola or arbor above or beside your modern patio.  These wood structures will make your patio setting more intimate and cozy.  There is nothing like natural plantings to warm up the cold look of concrete.  You can add plantings to your patio are by using them as border plantings along the permitter.  You can also choose to add cedar planters on top your patio and plant your plantings right into the planters.  If you plan on having concrete benches installed on your patio then you can incorporate planters right into the benches and plant your shrubs, perennials or annuals into the planters.

 

 

 

23 Apr 2019
Picture of David Abbott on the Marc and Mandy Tv show

Chinook Landscaping and Design on The Marc and Mandy Show

Chinook Landscaping was proud to be part of The Marc and Mandy Show.  The show is airing now on City TV in Calgary.  We shared “Tips from The Pros” and discussed several important ways to improve your landscaping.  You can watch the City TV segment on Youtube here Chinook Landscaping and Design on The Marc and Mandy Show.  Here is a sample of what we discussed on the segment.

How to prevent water from pooling around your walkways.

Preventing water from pooling around your walkways can be a challenge when landscaping in Calgary.  It is one of the most common issues we face as landscapers in Calgary.  Many homeowners or landscaping companies choose to bury their downspouts in order to divert water away from their walkways.  This is not necessarily the best solution.  Burying downspouts can often cause even more issues.  These new issues can arise because the the area that is buried can take longer to thaw in spring time.  Therefore the above ground free flowing water can run into an ice plug underground.  This causes your eavestroughs to overflow or even worse, it can lead to frost heaving under your walkway.  Frost heaves can cause cracks in concrete or high and low spots in your paving stones.  To prevent burying your downspouts we often recommend and arbor be used.  An arbor is a wood structure that can be simple or decorative.  We typically build these arbors from cedar because they look more attractive. Arbors provide drainage solutions by straddling walkways and diverting water away from your walkway.  We simply run the drain pipe over top the arbor and down the other side.  It is a simple solution to what could be a very serious drainage issue. Arbors also provide great curb appeal for your front yard and they are inexpensive to install.

The best way to create curb appeal for your property.

Defining your borders! This is the key to great looking curb appeal.  We discuss watch the video segment of Chinook landscaping and design on the Mark and Mandy show to learn more.  Defining your borders simply means cleaning up those edges around your garden beds. If you check out the TV segment Chinook Landscaping and Design on The Marc and Mandy Show you will see some great examples of how to create great curb appeal.   Overgrown messy garden beds are not attractive and they distract from the overall look of your landscaping in Calgary.  We often see great looking garden beds with a nice selection of shrubs and perennials but the borders are not defined.  Clearly defined borders look great and can be done easily without breaking the bank,  You can define your borders by using a simple spade edge but this needs to be done annually.  A spade edge means digging out sod or perennials around your garden bed in order to create a defined border.  A better way to define your borders is to use mowing pavers or raised stack stone or even a vinyl edge.  Mowing pavers are very practical because they allow you to mow your lawn easily by mowing right over the pavers.  Mowing pavers mean you do not need to trim up against a garden wall or edging.  A raised garden wall is another way to create curb appeal for your property.  Garden walls create a bolder and more obvious defined border than other methods. Raised garden walls are more expensive than mowing pavers.  Unlike mowing pavers, if you have grass bordering your garden wall you will need to trim up against it. You can eliminate the trimming by adding mowing pavers in front of your garden wall.

Watch Chinook Landscaping and Design on The Marc and Mandy Show.  Click here to learn more about Marc and Mandy

21 Apr 2019
wood structure with horizontal boards

Creating privacy in your backyard

Creating privacy in your backyard can be done in several different ways.  Many of our customers ask about creating privacy in their backyards and this includes screening patios, hot tub areas or other locations.  Creating privacy is important, especially in some of Calgary’s newer communities where homes are located very close to each other.  Many properties back right on to neighbouring properties with no back alleys so privacy is very important if this is the case for your home.

Privacy using natural screeningTall lush tree with trembling leaves

Using natural screening is a great method for creating privacy in your backyard.  Natural screening simply means using trees or large shrubs to create a natural screen.  You can use several trees to accomplish a good solid screen or you can choose to install several trees to create more privacy in your backyard.  Swedish columnar Aspens are a very popular tree for landscaping in Calgary and creating privacy in your backyard.  They work well along fence lines or areas where you do not have much room.  Swedish columnar aspens are tall narrow trees that grow very tall but stay narrow at their base. The often don’t exceed five four feet in width so this makes them a great tree for tight areas.  There are other columnar trees such as Columnar crabapples, Columnar blue spruce and multi stemmed Carriganas.  These trees are also a good choice for privacy screens and can be used in narrow areas.  The Columnar spruce will still grow to be quite wide so using it along a back fence is a better choice than between houses. Check some of our top tree species for Calgary
to learn more about privacy trees.  If you have a large open area and you want to use a larger tree species for creating privacy in your back yard, then you could consider trees such as Laurel Leaf willow, Brandon Elm, Colorado blue spruce, Mountain ash, Elm or trembling aspen trees.  All of these trees will give you a lush wide screen and because they are wider you won’t need to plant several trees and that makes this option less costly. Make sure you have your trees installed by a professional landscaping company
and that they include a warranty for their tree installations.

Blue green pyramidal shrub

Shrubs add privacy around hot tubs and fireplaces.

You can use a wide variety of shrubs to create privacy around hot tubs, patios and fireplaces.  Evergreen shrubs such as pyramidal junipers.  Pyramidal junipers include Wichita junipers, Cologreen Junipers and Medora Junipers.  These lush green junipers grow to heights of 8-12 feet over many years.  The not only create great privacy for you but they also provide you with a cozy natural environment.  Planting shrubs around your hot tub and patio gives you a natural and intimate feel.  You can also use a number of other shrubs that grow taller and create lush privacy for you.  These shrubs include Willow, Ninebark, Lilacs, Rose bushes, Mugi pines, Highbush cranberries, Alpine current and many more.  You can visit our shrubs Calgary
page to view may photos of large shrubs that are a perfect fit for creating privacy in your back yard.

Using wood structures to create privacyWood cedar structure with tall beams

The use of wood structures for creating privacy in your back yard is becoming more and more popular for landscaping in Calgary.  Arbors, Pergolas and privacy screens  can all be used for softening your landscaping and at the same time creating privacy.  Arbors can be placed in an area of your patio or garden bed that provides a screening affect from neighbours.  Arbors look great nestled in the corners of lush garden beds especially if the wood material used us cedar or Meranti.    You will have not doubt seen Pergolas around the city of Calgary.  Pergolas often straddle patios or decks.  They are a four post structure with beams running along the top.  We use pergolas quite often for creating privacy as well as some shade over top decks and patios.  Rich wooden privacy screens are a great way to soften your landscaping and warm up your back yard environment.  Privacy screens can be built at the side of decks or patios or fire pit areas.  We often install privacy screens using horizontal slats so it gives you a semi transparent look. Creating privacy in your backyard can easily be done with a small or large privacy screen depending on how large your screen needs to be.  To add more colour to your privacy screen you can plant a selection of colourful shrubs just in front of them.  These shrubs should not be tall growing as they will eventually distract from the beautiful look of your privacy screen.

 

 

 

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!

31 Mar 2019

Paving stone repair

We get a lot of calls from Calgary homeowners asking us about paving stone repair.  Paving stone patios and walkways or paving stone driveways are common in Calgary.  Over time the paving stones can heave due to frost heaves, drainage issues or tree roots.  Many of these paving stone structures have been there for many, many years so the paving stones themselves are old and outdated.

How to repair paving stones

For paving stone repair to be done properly you have to start by creating a proper base. As with all landscaping components, preparation is the most important part of the project.  Simply removing the paving stones and adding or removing a little of the base is not sufficient.  The best way to repair your paving stones is to remove the paving stones from the heaved or sunken area.  Also remove the paving stone from a portion of the affected area even if they are not in need of repair.  Then remove the sand and check to make sure there is an existing compacted gravel base.  If there is not an existing gravel base then that is likely the cause of your paving stone issue.  To properly re-install the paving stones you will need to add a compacted gravel base.  This gravel base will prevent frost heaves and damage from drainage issues.  IF you are looking for a quick fix then you can simply add or remove some sand but this won’t be a good long term fix.

Are roots the cause of your paving stone issue?

Tree roots are often the cause of paving stones heaving and they can cause real damage to patios, walkways and driveways.  You many be dealing with a city tree that cannot be removed.  Or, you like the look of the tree but you don’t like the damage it is doing to your paving stones.  If tree roots are the cause of the paving stone damage, then notching out the tree root might be your best solution.  Spruce tree and poplar roots are the most common culprits and their roots can be cut or notched out with a hand or power saw.  If the root is very large then notching out a piece is probably better than cutting through the entire root. Then, cover the notched out area with sand or a compacted base.  The root will likely continue to grow and will eventually lift your paving stones again in the future.  Removing the root entirely reduce the chances of the heaving returning in the future.

Should you consider new paving stones?

If your paving stones are very old and outdated it is probably best to start fresh with new modern paving stones.  Paving stones have come a long way and there are now so many great styles and colours to choose from.  It often costs the same to repair your old paving stones as it does to install entirely new paving stones.  Paving stone repair is an extensive process and most of the costs are in preparation of a proper base. You can add real value to your property by adding new modern paving stones.  We always recommend completely replacing your paving stones if they are older and outdated.

Call Chinook Landscaping and design today for your free paving stone consultation and estimate.

Ph:  403-452-8552

Or visit our estimates page

31 Mar 2019

Problems with poplar trees

If you live in one of Calgary’s older communities you are probably already very familiar with problems with Poplar trees.  

The city of Calgary planted thousands of Poplar trees in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Many of these trees were planted on Calgary boulevards.  Unfortunately, many were also planted in front of residential homes.  Over the years these Poplar trees have become huge and their size and evasiveness has caused numerous issues with Calgary residential properties and sidewalks.  It is likely the city of Calgary regrets planting these very destructive trees as they have cause so much damage throughout the city.

What are the problems with Poplar trees?

Poplar trees can grow to be  very large.  There are many problems with Poplar trees . Their roots do not run deep but instead they are very shallow.  These shallow roots can be up to 12″ across and they have the power to lift sidewalks, paving stones, driveways and retaining walls.  We have seen many examples of this destruction while visiting with our Calgary clients at their homes.  Poplars have a need to breed and their root structure is extensive.  Their root system also creates new shoots that can become full grown poplar trees over time.  Poplars not only have very evasive root systems but they are also have very fragile branches.  Considering Poplars are such a huge and strong looking tree, they are surprisingly fragile>  You may have witnessed the aftermath of a wind storm in Calgary and seen the branches strewn allover the streets.  The majority of these branches are from Poplar trees.  Poplar tree branches are extremely fragile.  A small child can easily break these branches off without much effort.  In high winds these branches break off and at times even entire limbs snap and fall to the ground, damaging cars, homes and surrounding landscapes.

Is your poplar tree a city tree?

If your Poplar tree is causing you grief, you may find that getting rid of it will cause you even more grief. Poplars are protected to an extreme in Calgary.  As destructive and evasive as they are, the city has made it a priority to protect them.  Removing them or even pruning them may be a battle especially if the trees is fronting your property and is deemed to be the property of the City of Calgary.
Is a city of Calgary tree on your property?  

The city of Calgary has come up with an exhaustive list you must conform to in order to have them consider allowing you to remove your Poplar tree.  This list includes getting permission from your neighbours to remove the tree, paying for the removal yourself and planting a replacement tree.

For more information visit this link to learn more from the City of Calgary about Problems with poplar trees 
Chinook Landscaping Calgary  has great options for great looking trees to include in your landscaping Calgary project.Check out our trees Calgary page for more information.

 

 

 

28 Mar 2019

Is a city of Calgary tree on your property?

Is a city of Calgary tree on your property?  The city of Calgary has planted thousands of trees throughout the city.  The city of Calgary trees are located on what may seem your property but they are actually on city owned landed that fronts your property.  City of Calgary homeowners are not allowed to remove a city tree even though it may appear to be on your property, without consent from the City of Calgary parks.  You can see what portion of your property is owned by the city by checking your RPR or Real Property Report.  The BOW shows where your property ends and where city property begins.  You can call the city at 311 to have them determine if the tree in question is a City of Calgary tree

Quite often we find that the most common tree homeowners want to remove are poplar trees.  Poplar trees were planted throughout the 1960′ and 70’s in Calgary’s older neighbourhoods like Lake Bonavista, Acadia and many others.  The Poplar trees are now huge trees that can cause lots of damage to lawns, driveways and sidewalks.  Their extensive root systems can lift concrete and even break concrete structures.  As well, the poplars are very fragile trees for their size so after a windstorm you will find branches strewn all over lawns and city streets.  Some branches are heavy enough to damage vehicles.  This poplar was not a good species for the city to plant and I am sure they regret it now.  Regardless of the poplar trees drawbacks, removing poplar trees in Calgary can be quite an ordeal if they are on City property.

Read more about problems with poplar trees

Here are the City of Calgary’s conditions for removing a city Poplar tree.

Poplar tree removal conditions

These are the conditions that must be met:

  • The poplar concern cannot be easily remedied through other means and is of significant nuisance.
  • The Poplar tree must be a city tree and are typically planted on city boulevards or frontage of your personal property.
  • Even though the poplar trees is the City of Calgary tree, the homeowner mist pay for all removal costs.
  • The homeowner is responsible for planting a new tree in place of the old poplar tree
  • Tree removal must be done by City of Calgary parks.
  • A survey of twenty residences must be completed.  Ten residences across the street from your property and five residences on either side of your property.  Your neighbours must sign the survey and express whether they want the tree to stay or be removed.

Read the full list of conditions here removing Poplar trees in Calgary

Make sure to do your due diligence to find out if a City of Calgary tree is on your property. Check out our trees Calgary page to view photos of trees that would be suitable to plant in you front or back yard.

 

 

24 Mar 2019

What is the best time to prune trees and shrubs in Calgary?

When it comes to maintaining yards, gardens or orchards, pruning always pops up in our minds. Though done when required, the timing of the practice usually matters a lot. Some have opted to prune as early as spring after snow has cleared while other have waited for mid-fall. Regardless of the window you might take chance of, it will solely depend on the type of plant, be it a tree or a shrub, and whether they blossom in spring or summer.

Nonetheless,pruning is importantbecause of obvious reasons like it enables rejuvenation of plants and aids in weeding out affected, unwanted and unproductive parts, thus increasing the potentiality of the plant.

With that in mind, occasional yard clean-up, care and maintenance is crucial but what is the best time to prune trees and shrubs in Calgary? Fear not as we will reasonably discuss the times to do this at home.

Best times to prune in Calgary

In Calgary, plants behave differently in seasons with the exception of evergreens. There are those that are active during spring and become dormant when winter comes. The ideal time to prune those trees would then be within that period of dormancy. Why? Because the plant, as the name suggest, is dormant; shutting down for ‘renovation’.

After the leaves have all fallen and signs of hibernation are existent, sharpen your tools and cut what is not needed. This period is advantageous because the plants experience no stress and there is minimal chance for them to get infection or fungus after mid-October.

In the case of pruning your shrubs and trees during mid-spring, you will also be able to notice branches with buds and those that don’t have. Thus, it will be easy to select the unproductive parts and do away with them. If you have ornamental grasses as part of your landscaping it is best to leave the growth on over winter time.  These grasses are as attractive in winter as they are in spring.  Learn about pruning Karl forester feather reed grass

Check out this page If you are interested in learning more about specific ornamental grasses ideal for Canadian climates

For evergreen shrubs and treesof course, they can be pruned anytime of the year. They usually require little to no pruning. For flowering shrubs, try pruning them during early spring and avoid pruning them when winter approaches, around late September. This way, you will avoid making them vulnerable to winter frost conditions as their wounds wouldn’t have recuperated or hardened by then.

In Calgary, mid-fall has been the perfect time to trim perennial trees such as birch and maple simply because they reproduce during winter, among other reasons. But other trees like spruce, junipers, crabapple and popular are well suited for pruning during winter. So why should you clip and trim your trees and shrubs during mid-fall towards winter?

  • Fungal diseases, infections and pests are usually dormant making it easy for their eradication.
  • The plant will face no stress and sap loss will be curbed.
  • At this point, plants are not budding so no new life will be lost when trimming
  • The structure of the plant is visible enough after leaves have fallen thus making it easy to identify what can be cut off and what can’t.
  • When pruning at this period, few branches will be left, enabling the roots to reserve more food and energy for new growth and life in the coming season.

Remember it is important to take care of your trees and shrubs 

by giving them fertilizer and watering.  Fall watering is very important and can make all the difference in the health of your trees and shrubs come spring time,

If you look forward to trimming down overgrown shrubs and trees that might be costly in the event of storms in Calgary, or just want to increase the aesthetics of your yard with well-shaped and well-kept hedges, shrubs and trees, sharpen your tools and start pruning your plants at the right time. When difficulty arises, as it always does especially where powerlines are near the home area, consults your landscaping Calgary specialistsi.  

15 Mar 2019

Drainage Solutions

Spring is just around the corner and so you know all that snow has got to go somewhere.  Is your property able to property manage drainage from snow, spring runoff and the inevitable spring rain?  Lots of snow is beneficial to trees and shrubs but it can cause serious drainage issues around your property if the grading is not adequate.  Drainage is a key concern for many Calgary homeowners.  Homeowners are concerned about water draining towards and around their foundations.  They are also concerned about water setting around patios and walkways causing freezing and slipping hazards. We can provide you with drainage solutions for your property and here are a few examples of drainage solutions you can implement to keep your property safe.

Positive drainage away from your foundation

It is imperative to have positive drainage away from your foundation.  This is done by creating a slope where the high point is against your house and the low point is away from your house.  You will want to create this slope with the soil before you add sod, decorative rock or any other topping.  Creating this positive drainage will help to keep water away from your foundations.  We grade our slopes at about one inch for every eight feet. We implement this on all of our grading including patios and walkways.  You may find that over time your property has settled and therefore your lawn or patios or walkways have settle along with the sub surface.  In some cases this may require removing the surface layer of sod or walkway and regrading the property so the proper slope is present.

Proper downspout placement

We constantly encounter issues where downspout placement is inadequate or where downspouts are not placed in the correct areas.  We find this issue to be most common around walkways, especially high traffic walkways in front yards.  Downspouts need to be placed in areas where they will not allow water from your eavestrough to drain onto walkway.  Sometimes this will require adding to or adapting your existing downspouts so they will help with drainage.  Many homes have neglected downspouts that remain in bad areas for years.  This can eventually cause erosion to your property, wash out of soil and gravel and even water making its way through foundation cracks and into your basement.  Try to place your downspouts in an area where it will serve your property best. Some times placing your downspouts into or towards garden beds will help provide your trees and shrubs with water throughout the season. Just make sure the garden bed is not right next to your foundation.

 Avoid burying your downspouts

If at all possible it is important to avoid burying your downspouts.  We find this to be one of the most common landscaping mistakes  Buried downspouts can cause all sorts of long term problems so whenever possible make sure to run you water overland and not underground.  One of the main reasons buried downspouts are an issue is simple.  The water below ground thaws last in the spring time.  The water on your roof, in your eves troughs and downspout drains first. So during Calgary’s big thaw in spring time all of the thawing water from above ground runs into a solid iced plug that is located underground.  This means your eavestroughs will not drain properly because there is no where for the water to go.  The backed up water will likely freeze again as cool weather returns and that can cause all sorts of problems to your landscaping.  We have creative drainage solutions such as using an arbor for a drainage aid.  This process involves running your drain pipes over to the arbor, allowing you to avoid burying your downspouts.

Use an arbor for a drainage aid

We often use decorative arbors as a drainage aid.  We use these arbors to straddle walkways and we run the drain pipe or downspout over top of the arbor and to the other side of the walkway.  This diverts the water and drainage away from the walkway.  The arbor also provides an attractive landscaping feature in your front or back yard.  The drain pipes can be hidden in the arbor so that they are not visible.  See our page arbors and pergolas for your front or back yard for more on this subject.
If your property would be improved by the look of a beautiful cedar arbor you could consider this option as one of your drainage solutions.

Use plantings to absorb the water

You can use plantings to absorb the water from some of your drainage.  Trees, shrubs and sod can really help with drainage issues especially if they are located in key areas.  If you are planning a new garden or new landscaping then  Planting trees and shrubs  in these key areas would be a great idea.  We find that larger trees and shrubs work best for this application as they require more water.  When planning this method make sure that you are not diverting too much water to your trees and shrubs as overwatering trees and shrubs can be as harmful as under watering.  Using run off water for trees and shrubs is a great way to recycle and it will save you time and money as your hand watering will be minimized.

Rain barrels

Rain barrels have become very popular in landscaping in Calgary.  The idea behind rain barrels is to capture the run off from your downspouts or rainwater and use that water for other purposes around your gardens or landscaping. You will see most rain barrels at the side of homes next to the downspouts.  Some homeowners use small pumps in their rain barrels that lead to a hose for hand watering trees, shrubs and perennials. Rain barrels are a great way to collect water and recycle the water.

French drains

French drains are often used as a last resort when overland drainage is not possible or if there is just too much water for your property to handle.  Most properties in Calgary are designed to manage the drainage overland without the need of underground drainage solutions.  French drains involve digging a deep hole somewhere on your property and filling the excavated area with washed rock.  The water is then diverted to this area away from your home and foundation.  The diversion can be done naturally or with the use of weeping tile or Big O drainage pipe.  French drains if built properly can handle a very large amount of water and will greatly reduce the amount of water you have on your property.  They don’t require any substantial maintenance and can be left alone for years.

Our estimates include all sorts of ideas for drainage solutions.  Contact us today for your free consultation and estimate. 
Ph:  403-452-8552