With winter rapidly approaching the Foothills region, there's some seasonal considerations regarding tree and lawn maintenance.

Urban Forester for the Town of High River, Darlene Donovan, says when it comes to whether leaves should be raked from your yard or left over winter, there's advantages to both.

"When your talking leaf cleanup, there's always a debate over whether to clean them up, or not clean them up, but it's up to personal preference. It's okay to clean them and take them to the recycling compound, or you can mulch them as they provide nutrients to your lawn. You can also mulch them for use in perennial and flower beds. It's helpful as it provides shelter for beneficial insects such as ladybugs. So it's good for winter cover, for some of the beneficial insects around town."

Regardless of whether they are mulched or left, Donovan says nature has a way of putting them to use.

"Definitely them breaking down over winter provides nutrients either way. If you look at forest floors, there's no one around to clean those leaves and it provides nutrients back to the soil. So either way, there's no harm in leaving them on the floor during the winter."

The High River Recycling Centre allows residents to drop off bags of raked leaves, compost and tree branches for residents doing pre-winter cleaning.

Donovan notes that the fall and winter months are a great time for last minute tree pruning to prevent various fungal diseases.

"When it comes to tree pruning, one of the important things to remember is elm pruning is okay to do after October 1. So we have a window of October 1 to March 31 to get your elm trees pruned. We have that pruning window to prevent dutch elm Disease. Another thing that comes up with the chokecherries and maydays around town, is black knot. Winter is a great time to get that black knot out of your trees."

Donovan asks that any residents uncertain about whether a tree falls on town property, to contact the Town Office to be certain.

"One of the things we want to point out, is that if people are not sure if a tree is on town property or not, just make sure you check with us first. If it's not definitive or you're unsure, make sure you call us because we want to be sure that town trees are only pruned by us. We have a tree protection Bylaw that prevents unwanted pruning on town trees."


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