Gardening & Horticulture
Healthy Okotoks Coalition Community Garden
The Healthy Okotoks Coalition operates the Community Garden at Kinsmen Park at the east end of McRae Street. Raised garden beds are available for residents to grow their own produce. The gardens are pesticide-free, and there are 56 individual plots. A $30 fee is charged to cover the cost of water.
The Okotoks Food Bank Association has a community learning garden in this space, which is a large growing area that helps the Food Bank provide fresh produce to their clients.
Contact Info: 403-995-2773 or click button below. Select Family & Community Services from the drop-down menu.
Okotoks Food Forest
Check out what the Okotoks Food Forest has to offer! Many of our public parks and natural areas contain edible fruit. To find out where, have a look at the fruit collection map by clicking the button below.
- Saskatoon: small to medium-sized shrubs; dark bluish-purple fruit; good fresh and in jam; jellies; pies or crisps.
- Western and Schubert Chokecherry: medium to large-sized shrubs, dark purple to black fruit, good for jellies, syrup, juice.
- Dolgo crabapple: green leaves; rosy red fruit about 2.5 cm across; fruit ripens about mid-august; good for jelly; syrup and ciders.
- Currant: medium-sized shrub; red to red-orange and black fruit; good fresh and in jam and jellies.
Fruit Collection Map
Things to Know
- The general public is authorized to collect fruit for personal use only from public trees for the list of locations below. Other locations, such as along roadsides or on medians, fruit picking is prohibited for safety reasons.
- The Town does not spray pesticides on these trees and shrubs.
- Please be certain that any fruit that is picked is properly identified. There is Tatarian honeysuckle in the river valley that is not edible. It has grey shaggy bark and the berries are bright red to orange.
Selecting the types of trees and shrubs that will thrive in Okotoks can save you time, money and disappointment. Heat, drought, hail, Chinook winds and lack of winter snow cover all affect the health and longevity of plants here. As well, many diseases threaten our urban forest. Below are a list of hardy trees and shrubs that will survive the environmental challenges in Okotoks. To get them off to a good start, plant them in the right location, use mulch and water regularly:
Amur Maple (single-stemmed, red fall colour) Bur Oak (brown acorns) - slow growing Colorado Spruce (green or blue foliage and columnar choices) Douglas Fir (green foliage) Golden Willow (yellow branches, distinctive in winter) Japanese Tree Lilac (cream flowers) Laurel Leaf Willow (shiny green foliage) Limber Pine (green foliage) Lodgepole Pine (green foliage) Ohio Buckeye (cream white flowers, yellow fall colour) Little Leaf Linden (yellow – green flowers) - requires wind protection Swedish Columnar Aspen (tighter form and more drought tolerant) Tower Poplar Swiss Stone Pine Trembling Aspen Ussurian Pear (white flowers, thorns, yellow fall colour) White Spruce
Amur Maple (multi-stemmed, red fall colour) Canadian Buffaloberry Double flowering plum Evans Cherry Hardy Prairie Shrub Roses (white, pink, yellow, red flowers) Highbush Cranberry (red fall colour, edible fruit) Honeysuckle Hydrangeas (hardy varieties Snow Ball or Pee Gee) Junipers (various, try upright varieties instead of less hardy cedars) Lilacs Mock Orange (spectacular white flowers and fragrance) Nanking Cherry Nannyberry Potentilla (yellow, pink, white, orange flowers) Saskatoon Silver Buffaloberry (red fruit) Spirea (various varieties)Sumac (red fall colour) – needs wind protection Sumac (red fall colour) – needs wind protection Wayfaring Weigela (hardy varieties) Wild Roses (three species)
- All trees could all benefit from an extra drink of water in the spring – it’s hard work budding all those leaves.
- Generally, newly planted and/or young trees, under five years old, require more frequent watering. During extended periods of dry conditions all trees benefit from some extra watering.
- Before watering, check the soil moisture. Using your hands, check to see if the ground is moist in the top 25cm (10 inches).
- Ensure the flow coming from your garden hose is a slow trickle to allow the soil enough time to absorb water.
- Always water the root ball out to the dripline of establishing trees. Feeder tree roots on mature established trees are found away from the trunk at the drip line, which is the spot where adsorbing roots generally are. Tree roots are usually in the top meter of soil and can extend laterally 2 – 3 times the height of the tree in favourable conditions.
- Only apply enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of 10 inches or more for mature trees, approximately 30 minutes at various locations around the drip line at a slow trickle.
- Avoid over-watering. A good indication of over-watering is if you squeeze a ball of soil and water runs out it may be too wet.
Try adding some mulch around your tree, about 3-4 inches but don’t bury the trunk because this can cause decay. Mulching helps trees retain water, moderates soil temperature and reduces grass and weeds from growing around tree trunks. If you need more info please submit an inquiry to the Horticulture Hotline by clicking the button below.
If you have questions or concerns about a Town-owned tree please submit an inquiry by clicking the button below.