Gardening & Horticulture
Okotoks Neighbourhood Community Garden program
The Okotoks Neighbourhood Community Garden program helps residents establish community-led garden projects in Town of Okotoks parks and green spaces. Through the program, residents will work with their neighbours to start a new community garden. Town staff will guide residents through the planning and application process, and provide resources to help build the garden so you can start growing your idea.
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.
More about community gardens
European elm scale is an insect that feeds on the stems (twigs & branches) of elm trees. If left unmanaged it can cause significant branch die back and in some cases may contribute to its death.
Management includes planning tree species diversity in the urban forest, applying mulch to encourage growth, spraying dormant oil, and pressure washing the scale off the stems with non-potable water. In conjunction, the Town also does pesticide trunk injections with a natural insecticide derived from neem oil from the seeds of neem trees.
Horticultural non-toxic oil applications are done in the spring prior to leaf out (April - May). Tree injections of elms takes place in spring summer (June – July).
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)
In late autumn, before the ground freezes and after the trees drop their leaves, give them a deep watering and ensure that the water reaches their roots. This will make your trees and shrubs strong enough to handle winter storms and high winds
Clean weeds from flowerbeds and planting areas. Dispose of plants with flower heads and seed in the garbage instead of composter.
Continue to dead-head annuals to keep the blooms going as long as possible. Once a killing frost has arrived, remove annual plants to the compost pile.
Except for lilies and peonies, leave perennials stalks as tall as possible to catch whatever snow arrives and to prevent mulch from blowing away. Perennials and ornamental grasses can add winter interest and a seed source for birds.
The Veggie Garden & Fruit Trees
It’s time to harvest root vegetables such as carrots, beets, and potatoes. Clean-up the remnants of garden vegetables and fruit trees, such as crab apples, to minimize disease for next year’s gardening season and to reduce indirect feeding of wildlife.
Mulch & Leaves
As well as compost, leaves can be used as a mulch. Pile these up into the garden, onto planting beds and wherever you need some winter cover. Leaves also house the eggs of beneficial insects such as ladybugs. Excess leaves can be brought to the Recycling Centre Grass & Leaf bin.
Fall is a good time to aerate and topdress. Topdressing acts a mulch for your turf and helps to compensate for the wind erosion that takes place in the winter. Let your turf go into winter a bit taller than normal. This also helps to combat wind erosion.
Adjust your timers to fit with your fall watering schedule (more days between waterings). Irrigation systems need to be shut down for the winter before the frost has a chance to move into the ground. They need to be blown out with compressed air so there is no chance for ice to form inside the lines, valves, and heads. If water is left in the system, there will be plenty of burst pipes and many leaks to fix next spring.
Plant fall bulbs such as Liatris and daffodils that are less tasty to squirrels and deer. Plant the bulbs at the depth indicated on the package. Remember to water your bulbs in and cover with mulch.
- 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.
The Town is pleased to offer a tree donation program as a means for residents to add to the urban forest. Learn more about the program by calling the Horticultural Hotline at 403.995.6333.