Monthly Archives

August 2015

Fight Invasive Plants with One Simple Step

By | Arborist Insights, Landscaping | No Comments

At a Starbucks recently, I ran into a friend who fights invasive plants with a municipal department. After covering the usual enemies -see below-, she shared with me her number one frustration. Homeowners who dump their pots into wild municipal zones. Yes, the local garden stores sell the plants and they’re fine nicely contained in your home garden. Once they’re dumped into open spaces they spread and displace native vegetation, affecting local ecology and soils. Municipalities then spend tax money fighting this problem. Discard your unwanted pots and plants with your Proper landscaper or at your local transfer station. It may even be free for residents.

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Lamium in the woods, five meters from the road

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Discarded pot full of bulbs and who knows what else……

Two other common invasive plants.

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Hedera helix

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Vinca minor

Annual Cuts

By | Arborist Insights, Education, Landscaping, Seasonal | One Comment

Every year I look for new experiences, both in my personal life and at work. This year I got a chance to work on annual cuts for the first time. This involves line-trimming meadow like fields and buffer zones using heavy-duty line. It can take days, and it will not be done for another year. Large areas are covered by Deere ride-on mowers.

Sometimes it feels like harvest time and the view can be great depending on your exact location. If you are working close to people, stop and let them pass.

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Annual cut detail shot

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Not a bad place to spend a day….

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Stop to let people and pets go by…..

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Heavy duty line

​If time permits, harvest ripe blackberries (Rubus discolor) before pushing back the thorny invasive canes. There are other hazards! The tall growth can hide all sorts of objects and small animals. I recommend using a full face shield but they are awkward and expensive. Goggles, ear protection and pants are mandatory. Use a hat, sun screen and bring water.

Best Advice: if you are not using a full face shield, CLOSE YOUR MOUTH! Little voles usually run away from the noise but I did not expect to decapitate two garter snakes in the space of three minutes. And I hate snakes. Harsh previous experience has thought me to look out for improperly discarded doggy bags; the contents defy description after six months of sitting in a meadow. Then there is garbage and rocks which can become nasty projectiles.
It feels great once the work is safely completed.

Follow local gardening guru Steve Whysall and learn!

By | Arborist Insights, Books, Education, Landscaping, Resources, Tips | No Comments


Imagine my excitement last year when I discovered that my kids were having play-dates with Steve Whysall’s grandkids! Mr. Whysall has been writing about gardening for the Vancouver Sun since 1994. Look for his column on Fridays, usually on page C3. You are guaranteed to learn new things. I often rip out the section and file it.

Mr. Whysall has also published several books and organizes overseas garden tours. While the tours are attractive they are way over my family budget. I am, however, ready to plug what I consider to be his most useful book.

Best plant picks, slightly beat up and autographed, has served me really well. The book is a neat month by month guide for our West Coast gardens. I use it to practice plant identification and to review the list of garden tasks to be performed on a particular month. As the seasons pile up, I can run through the list of plants much quicker. Always learn about new plants and review them.

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For more information visit It is my humble opinion that the website could use an upgrade but it is still useful. If your family budget allows, please subscribe to the Vancouver Sun newspaper at

Industrial athletes…..

By | Education, Resources, Tips | No Comments

IMG00495-20090830-1233I came across the term “industrial athlete” while reading an article on caring for your body in Arborist News (February 2013). All green industry workers work hard in the field all year and taking care of their bodies is critical to their work performance.
Some highlights. Many workers don’t eat enough, skimping on breakfast and skipping lunch because of the sluggishness they experience after eating. Proper hydration is important; excessive caffeine consumption contributes to dehydration.
Rest and recovery are important; and so is sleep.
Workers who take care of their bodies perform better and make a larger contribution to their company’s success. Review the article and take care of your body Properly!