Naturalization is an alternative landscape management technique that allows the landscape to become more natural by planting trees and shrubs that are natively found in Alberta while reducing the time spent manicuring it.

The City has begun this process along the south side of town by the ring road. The small section of grass that divides the residential areas and the main road has had many seedlings planted and is no longer being mowed with the exception of buffer areas that will be mowed along residential lots. Over time these plants will mature and the area will look as natural as our beautiful countryside while being a noise barrier to the homes.

Another benefit of this process is that the City is using taxpayer dollars more effectively by reallocating staff and money to other projects. Naturalization of certain areas also means that the City will not need to buy another mower (approximately $110,000) and will continue to use the same number of units therefore saving money in operators, equipment, and maintenance costs.

There is no evidence of an increase of rodents or snakes in these areas. Plus the area is not large enough to harbor deer or coyotes. The plantings were specifically picked to not include berries so that they would not attract deer (and mostly likely deer will not stick around due to the high volume of pedestrian and vehicle traffic).

Also, the area is too small to be a fire hazard plus and has a fire break on the other side.

The City will continue to maintain the area by spot mowing and spraying weeds where necessary and maintaining walking paths. Eventually the long grass will choke out the weeds and the final effect will be a beautiful and natural landscape with very minimal upkeep.

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