The City of Edmonton is in the process of converting a number of locations that were previously mowed back to their natural state. There are numerous health and environmental benefits to making these changes. This process will take a different type of site servicing as we restore the natural ecology to the area.
There are a number of reasons why certain areas are prioritized for naturalization. Several of these reasons are listed below.
- Sites that are unsafe to continue mowing (for example, steep slopes, high vehicular traffic)
- Spaces with low to no active use by citizens (for example, grass along roadways)
- Sites with past and/or current community desire and requests to naturalize.
- Sites that have not been mowed for a number of years already and are considered stable grassland - ready to plant trees.
- Sites that already contain natural trees and shrubs where further planting will increase and enhance the area
- Areas that have been identified as important for biodiversity conservation or creation/enhancement of wildlife habitat.
- Areas identified by citizens or community groups as priorities where naturalization could enhance nature education opportunities (for example, Twin Brooks District Nature Park)
Natural biodiversity will increase within Naturalization Sites as they begin to stabilize. This includes small mammals including voles, rabbits and mice. The City is committed to maintain buffers as appropriate between Naturalization sites and adjacent residential homes.
As the City converts mowed sites to naturalization it is easier to identify areas with significant weed issues as they will be able to grow to a mature height. Perennial weeds are often able to compete directly with naturalized grass sites in the early years until shrubs and trees begin competing with them for light and moisture.
The City will monitor naturalization sites for the spread of noxious and prohibited noxious weeds and control or eradicate them as legislated by the provincial legislation. Long term, a healthy ecosystem will be better able to defend itself against weeds through a number of natural defence mechanisms. Mature forested canopies are particularly resilient to invasion by sun and moisture loving weeds.
Keeping our city "green" means respecting the environment. We are committed to weed management practices that make economic and environmental sense. As outlined in our Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Policy, the City minimizes the use of pesticides and uses them responsibly when they are required.
Research into biological rather than chemical weed control is being pursued. Only when necessary is herbicide applied to control noxious weeds, and weeds that would impact safety and enjoyment of our green spaces (broadleaf weeds are managed on active turf, such as sports fields to reduce slip and trip risks. (Integrated Pest Management)
All herbicide applications meet environmental protection legislation and broadleaf weed control standards established by City Council. Strict safety precautions are taken to protect public, employees and environmental health.
Naturalization is a vegetation management strategy used wherever appropriate to control and prevent weeds. Once a naturalization site that has been planted with native trees and shrubs is established, the tall trees and shrubs provide too much shade for weeds to grow.
For more information, read about our commitment to the environment.
The land around the Anthony Henday is considered a Transportation and Utility Corridor (TUC). The majority of this land is property of and managed by the Province of Alberta; therefore the Anthony Henday is not part of this plan - although some adjacent lands near the Anthony Henday that is City of Edmonton property may be part of this plan.
You can get involved with tree planting through the Root for Trees Program which offers the following opportunities:
- Guided Tree Planting Events
- Self-guided tree planting events - Have Shovel, Will Travel Program
- Special Events and Festivals involving tree planting