It’s been a beautiful, but very hot, summer in Calgary so far. We’ve been fortunate to be able to spend many uninterrupted hours at our commercial and residential landscaping maintenance and construction clients’ properties, but severe weather has been a factor in our work. There has been damage that we’ve noticed, usually sunscald, hail damage and loss of topsoil, but the warm temperatures have meant great growth for many. Vegetables, herbs, and fruits seem to be especially loving the heat, with some gardens nearly bursting already, plus perennials are showing off with larger than normal blooms.
Our main concern this summer as Calgary landscapers, as it is always, is to protect our workers, and to also help protect you. Not only are we experts in the landscaping business, we are also experts in staying safe from the sun, avoiding sunburn, and keeping away from biting insects.
Sunburn hurts …for a long time
All of our crews are provided plenty of sunscreen and it’s not an option that everyone uses it. After three generations of work as Calgary landscapers, we have seen the immediate and long-term damage over-exposure to the sun causes. Incidences of melanoma are on the rise in Canada and around the world, with the Canadian Cancer Society predicting that in 2020, 8,000 Canadians will have been diagnosed and 1,300 will have died from skin cancer.
Anyone who has a tan has actually damaged their skin by contact with UVR (ultra-violet radiation). Not only does UVR cause painful sunburns, which greatly increases chances of developing skin cancer, it also leads to premature aging. Anyone who has had a very bad sunburn (blistering) at a young age has a much higher chance of developing skin cancer later on.
We make it clear that even those it’s nice to be able to work outside, our crews are still required to keep covered. Sunscreen is mandatory, as we have said, and we also suggest long sleeves and wide-brimmed hats – even when it’s exceptionally hot out. Fabrics that are light in both colour and weight are recommended, and hats provide extra protection for the head, face, neck, and ears.
Dodging the buzzy biters
All of us Calgary landscapers agree that it’s actually been a really good summer for mosquitoes in Calgary. The intense heat has led to fewer of the pests in the city, as the hot and dry weather did not leave much habitat for mosquito eggs to hatch and grow.
Still, we are swatting away occasionally and have a few tried-and-true tricks up our sleeves to dodge the pesky biters. The worst times for mosquitoes are during dusk and dawn, so if we’re out and about during those times we’re wearing our long-sleeved shirts, pants, and hats for sure.
Along with a steady supply of sunscreen, our trucks are also stocked with plenty of mosquito repellant. DEET has gotten a bad rep in the past, but is perfectly safe for everyone aged two months or older, and is also safe for those pregnant or nursing. A good mosquito repellant should have a concentration of at least 25% to 30% of DEET. For those looking for a more natural option, picaridin is an alternative, as is oil of lemon eucalyptus.
Many people don’t realize that mosquito repellant will also deter ticks, so it’s an important accessory to take with you when hiking in the woods.
Keeping mosquitoes away from your yard
To keep mosquitoes away from your yard, avoid standing water. All mosquitoes breed in standing water, and under ideal conditions can grow to adults in less than a week. Adults of some mosquito species remain near their breeding site, others can come from far away. Getting rid of all standing water leaves them with nowhere to breed, and they will look elsewhere for accommodations.
Neatly trimmed grass and lawn care as a whole is actually a big part of keeping mosquitoes from taking over your yard. A well-trimmed yard leaves less chance for breeding mosquitoes to find places to live.
Birdbaths and ponds attract birds, and birds are ravenous bug-eaters. Calgary has a plethora of different beautiful bird species to look out for as well. A yard with a healthy bird population will be kept nicely free of a number of bugs and pests. Make sure you change the water in your birdbath at least once a week, and circulate your pond water.
Tiki torches and citronella oil work hand-in-hand to not only create a nice ambience for your yard at night, but to also keep you from spilling your drink while swatting flies. Citronella masks scents that attract mosquitoes, preventing them from coming too close. Other plants that work the same way are marigolds, catnip, some herbs and ageratum.
Protect your eyes
We are pretty good at wearing sunscreen after years of education on the dangers of UV rays, but we tend to forget that our eyes need equal protection from the sun. Choose sunglasses that offer 100% UVA and UVB protection with lenses large enough to cover the area around your eyes as well. Ten percent of skin cancers are found around the eyes as well.
Researchers say sunglasses also contribute to the development of cataracts and may worsen the symptoms of glaucoma. Both are serious eye diseases that can result in a severely hampered ability to see.
Macular degeneration, which is also common among older people, can also be diminished by wearing sunglasses regularly.
Sunglasses not only protect your eyes from UV and UB rays, they are also a shield from elements such as dirt, sand, snow, wind, and whatever else the weather throws at us. Plus, a nice pair can look really cool.
Calgary landscapers with experience, expertise, and a commitment to high-quality work
With three generations of experience as Calgary landscapers, we know what to watch for to keep your property in tip-top shape to be enjoyed for many years. Mirage Landscaping operates as a full-service residential and commercial landscape maintenance and construction company specializing in serving southeast Calgary districts and communities including:
Auburn Bay, Chaparral, Chaparral Valley, Copperfield, Cranston, Douglasdale, Heritage Pointe, Lake Bonavista, Mahogany, McKenzie Lake, Mackenzie Towne, Maple Ridge, New Brighton, Odgen/Lynwood/Millican, Parkland, Riverbend, Sundance, Walden, and Willow Park.
Contact Mirage for a fast, free project quote to make your yard dreams come true.