The time of year has come where many southern Albertans start pulling out their gardening gloves, rakes and lawnmowers.
Environment Lethbridge is reminding residents to be aware of certain things before going all-in.
“There’s lots of things — great and easy things — people can do when it comes to yard care to be sustainable at the same time,” said executive director Kathleen Sheppard.
One thing to keep in mind is that although some find them unpleasant to the eye, dandelions are an important food source for insects such as bees.
“Whether you like them or not is kind of personal preference, but they’re not harmful in any way,” Sheppard said.
“This time of year, dandelions can actually be quite important for our pollinators, because there’s not a lot of other flowers that are blooming.”
Sheppard also suggested avoiding the use of weed killers or herbicides, and resisting the temptation to overwater or overcut your lawn.
“Your lawn only needs about an inch of water a week, so you don’t have to water every day — or, you know, a huge amount — to have a nice green lawn if that’s what you want,” she said.
Jessica Deacon-Rogers, the program co-ordinator with the Helen Schuler Nature Centre, said increasing the biodiversity of your outdoor space can be of great benefit to the local ecosystem.
“I’ve seen very few people that actually use their front lawns, so it’s important to consider how you can use that space differently and how you can landscape differently,” she explained.
Deacon-Rogers added that planting flowers that bloom through the entire season is helpful for pollinators.
“The more diversity you can have in your yard with plant species, the better it is for the ecosystem — and it’s often more attractive.”
While many property owners get their hands dirty on their own, local maintenance companies have been quite busy.
“We’re right in the crux of people starting to do it, and getting everything lined up for what they want to do,” said Bob Bennett, the general manager of Intrepid Property Maintenance. “Their spring cleanup and that sort of thing, so we’re seeing a lot of that right now.”
Dana Borggard, owner of All Seasons Property Services, said this past spring was his busiest in 10 years.
“I was actually just going, like, full-force April 1, and then, the odd rain day here and there and stuff,” Borggard said. “But April was definitely a super busy month for me.”
He said he feels fortunate to operate in an industry that hasn’t been too hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.