Enjoy your yard and be a good neighbour

Each year, yellow followed by a fuzzy white dominate the landscape. It is best not to ask anyone their opinion about dandelions at this time of year as a heated debate could follow.

Each year, yellow followed by a fuzzy white dominate the landscape.

It is best not to ask anyone their opinion about dandelions at this time of year as a heated debate could follow. People tend to not worry about the plant or hate it with a passion. As the debate will never end one might want to adopt the part of the Australian model for pest control, “do no harm”. It is simple.

Have whatever on your property but keep all parts of the pests there, including the seeds. At this time of year it might refer to dandelions but it can refer to anything that moves from one property to another. The “do no harm” rule goes a long way in making a good neighbourhood.

Drive through any established residential area and it is full of beautiful, large trees. They provide welcome shade and refuge for birds. What you don’t see are the roots that run from one property to another. A large tree at the edge of a property will grow over the property line above and below the soil. The shade may or may not be appreciated while the roots can be a huge problem. Shallow stabilizing roots will crack cement and send suckers into the neighbouring yard.

By-laws dealing with this problem depend on the municipality. Goodneighbours that “do no harm” is a better idea.

The height and grade of properties also affect others in the neighbourhood. A yard that has been built up with more soil than the neighbours will drain into the neighbours’ yard. Diverting rain water into rain barrels or away from other properties is a must.

Aesthetic chemicals are banned from some areas but not locally. They can be found in most places where garden products are sold. Be sure to wear protective clothing and spray when it is calm. Even a slight breeze will carry droplets to other areas. Misshapen plants or parts of plants are often a sign of chemical damage. Allowing chemicals to drift into the neighbours’ property will harm their plants. It is not a good idea. Alerting the close neighbours before spraying is a good idea.

Noise need not be a problem within any neighborhood, urban or rural, if common sense is used. Avoid making loud noises early in the morning or late at night. Do not mow your lawn if the neighbors are entertaining on their patio close to your fence. While we can’t confine noise to our property we can make sure it isn’t offensive.

There are bylaws to control pets but there isn’t one for wild animals. Feeding native birds is considered acceptable because they “do no harm”. Feeding other wildlife can cause problems. Magpies will destroy other birds’ nests. Squirrels eat flowers and bulbs. They dig holes and will damage property. Deer are graceful creatures that belong in the wild. In urban settings they will devour gardens and rip branches off of trees. Ground squirrels or gophers make tunnels and holes which are hard on equipment and animals.

Dew worms or night crawlers are parts of older neighbourhoods but do not need to be part of new ones. If your neighbourhood is dew worm free make sure all the soil and plants that you add to the garden are free of the creatures.

Once they are on your property they will quickly move to the neighbours. Summer is a time when everyone heads outside to enjoy their yard.

Adopting “do no harm” will make the few months of good weather muchmore enjoyable.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist and educator living in Rocky Mountain House. You can contact her at your_garden@hotmail.com

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