FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS OR HELPFUL TIPS
Myth: Perennials are high maintenance compared to shrubs and trees.
Fact: There are plenty of trees and shrubs available that require very little maintenance. However, low maintenance gardens do not just apply to shrubs and trees. There are plenty of perennials that require very little care. Perennials add extra texture, layers, and colours to a garden and there are plenty of options that are xeriscapic and do not require much attention at all. We can help select perennials that can look great with very little care, that will suit your style
Myth: In Calgary we can only grow plants that are Zone 3 and lower.
Fact: Calgary is classified as a Zone 3 climate, which is based on the minimum winter temperatures. Within Calgary, and even within an individual yard, there are many microclimates. You do not have to be limited to Zone 3 plants. Zone 4 plants can grow in many areas throughout the city without an issue. Many factors other than minimum winter temperatures affect the hardiness of a perennial such as snow cover, moisture, and Chinook winds. The key is finding the perfect location for you plants to grow and thrive. Higher zones should be planted in areas that are more sheltered from Calgary’s harsh winds and may require a little extra time spent watering and providing TLC. You do not have to feel limited by the zone when it comes to selecting plants for your garden!
Myth: There are not any shrubs or perennials that can thrive in a north facing yard.
Fact: North facing yards typically do not get much sunlight which can inhabit plant growth. However, there are many shade tolerant plants that can thrive in north facing yards. Because there is a lack of sunlight, these yards usually have much higher moisture retention in the soil. The selection of shade loving plants is outstanding. Designing shade gardens is my specialty!
Myth: You cannot grow anything beneath large spruce trees.
Fact: As mentioned above, low light conditions can make gardening a bit more difficult. Many people believe that nothing can be grown beneath mature spruce trees because the needles change the pH of the soil making it too acidic. The fact is, in Calgary our soil and water pH is quite high (more basic) and needle droppings very rarely change the pH to an acidic state that plants cannot grow in. The reason the grass dies and perennials are a challenge is due to the lack of moisture. Spruce trees love water and they will always seek it out. They can easily out-compete most perennials. There are plants that are shady and drought tolerant that could grow under a spruce tree but they do require supplement watering. Many people opt out of planting under spruce so that not as much maintenance is required.
Myth: Plants that are not looking their best or are not producing many flowers need fertilizer.
Fact: Fertilizer is mainly used for annuals in containers or in emergency situations, however, it is not a long term solution. Most of the time when your plants are struggling, not flowering, or not expanding to meet their full potential there is a soil issue. Overtime soil can be drained of nutrients. Soil amendments and bed rejuvenations are required every few years to maintain soil quality and increase the potential of the plants. Adding compost to the soil can do wonders for the garden. Having healthy soil is the key to a healthy garden. Good soil not only provides the basic nutrients found in fertilizer (NPK) but also insects, enzymes, and micro-organisms that aid in plant growth and health.
Myth: Maintaining a beautiful garden is a full-time job.
Fact: For some gardens, this is indeed true. But it does not have to be. Anyone can have a gorgeous and low maintenance garden. Plants that do not require a tonne of attention should be chosen. There should be clear edges for the garden so grass and weeds cannot creep in. Installing landscape fabric with bark mulch will also reduce weed growth greatly. Again ensuring high-quality soil prior to plant installation is essential. A garden that is planned and installed properly will be low maintenance in the long run!
MYTH: You should not plant anything after August 1st.
Fact: The earlier you plant in the season the better so that roots have more time to establish. Planting can still occur later in the season. Shrubs can normally be planted up until September and perennials can be planted and transplanted all the way up until consistent frost. Early in the season, starter fertilizer can be used on newly planted shrubs and perennials, however, fertilizer should not be used late in the season. The plants need to be weaned from supplementary nutrients prior to winter. Therefore, planting later in the season would require the use of natural slow release fertilizer such as bone meal. Other than fertilizer, the other key factor in determining the plants survival over winter is water. All plants should be watered in immediately following planting and continuous watering will ensure root development. The first two years are essential in the health and survival of a plant. They should be watered frequently and supplements with a high phosphorus fertilizer to promote root growth and establishment.
Myth: I don’t require spring or fall cleanups if I regularly maintain the yard
Just as a good breakfast is the most important meal of the day, spring clean ups are essential for maintaining a healthy lawn for the whole season. After a long winter, thatch can build up and compaction can have a negative impact on the health of a lawn. Power raking will remove the dead and decomposing layer of thatch that prevents water, air, nutrients, and sunlight from accessing the grass roots. Removing thatch can also assist in the prevention of disease and insect infestation. Core aeration is the process of removing small plugs of soil and roots from the lawn. The aeration process improves the flow of air, water, and nutrients,thus improving lawn health. It also reduces the negative impact of turf compaction. Core aeration is integral to a lawns health as it reduces the build up of thatch, increases water absorption and reduces water waste and runoff, increases absorption of nutrients, and greatly increases the strength and resiliency of grass roots. Using a slow release spring fertilizer with a proper N-P-K blend gives your lawn the boost it needs to start growing healthy and thick after a long harsh winter. All of these components will improve the health and look of your lawn and will overall improve the quality of your grass for the upcoming season.
Quite similar to a spring cleanups, fall cleanups are an important part of keeping a well groomed yard and healthy. Core aeration can be done in either spring or fall, the benefits being the same as listed above. The removal of debris is a big part of fall cleanups because if it is left until spring, it becomes a heavy, soggy mess that is much more time consuming to take care of. Additionally, fall fertilizer is very important for a healthy lawn. Calgary’s cold and dry winters can cause stress to a lawn and a fall fertilizer can help protect the grass to deal with the upcoming stresses of winter.
Why can I not achieve a beautiful, thick, green lawn?
Everyone is in search of the ideal thick, green grass for their lawns in the summer. It is attainable with a little bit of TLC! We can achieve a beautiful well groomed yard without sacrificing any health. We will cut your lawn to a length that looks great but is also suitable for water retention. Alongside regular fertilization, proper watering is essential to maintain a healthy lawn. Be sure to water in the morning when grass is the most receptive and water enough to fill a Frisbee. This ensures that your grass gets what it needs without being wasteful! When we trim your lawns we will ensure that the blades are sharp so they do not damage the blades of grass. Additionally, mowing in a different direction every week will reduce soil compaction, resulting in a happy healthy lawn!
Why hire someone for snow removal and ice control?
According to Environment Canada, Calgary gets an average of 129 cm of snow annually, the majority occurring between October and May. Calgary get approximately 85.6 days of snowfall that is greater than 1cm. According to Calgary Bylaw snow must be cleared from walkways within 24hrs, therefore, snow removal is a priority for all of Calgary’s residents.
Ice can be extremely problematic as it is not always obvious or visible. Ice Melt is a recommended product (made of magnesium chloride or potassium chloride) as these products are safe for animals, cause minimal damage to concrete, and are more environmentally friendly compared to other salt de-icing products.