The pandemic has caused us all to appreciate our outdoor spaces even more, and the City of Calgary is looking to add even more green to the grid. Right now, our urban forest accounts for about 8.25% of the canopy level. This way of measuring uses aerial views to compare how much coverage there is from trees within the city limits. Where we are right now is actually a reduction from 8.5%, which is where we were before the infamous “Snowtember” event of 2014.
In early September seven years ago, Calgarians woke to a city far more quiet than usual. The sound was deadened by inches of heavy snow accumulation, only broken through by the regular crack of branches breaking under the weight of both their leaves and pounds of half-melting snow. More than 28 centimetres of snow had fallen over three days, making it the snowiest September in 130 years. Calls to 311 numbered more than 47,000, with 6,500 of those being “tree emergencies.” As residents and workers cleaned up after the disaster, people came together to save as many of their trees as they could, shaking off snow, trimming, and pruning. Eventually, 26 million kilograms of tree branches and debris were dropped off at city landfills, or about 31,202 truckloads.
All told, the urban canopy of Calgary lost half a percentage of its total coverage, dropping to 8%. That number is actually quite remarkable, considering it’s estimated that at least half of the city’s 500,000 public trees and 1.5 million private trees were damaged by the storm. That means that the hard work put in to preserve what could be was largely successful.
Calgary’s urban canopy is back up to a plucky 8.25%, and city officials have pledged to keep on growing for the long term. Plans are in place to double the size of the urban canopy to 16% by 2060. That’s hard work, requiring the planting of 3,500 trees each year just to maintain the current canopy coverage, plus 4,000 more, meaning the threshold is 7,500 trees a year for the next 40 years to reach the city’s goal.
Tree planting requirements for new homes
Part of getting to 16% requires a commitment on the part of residents. All homeowners in Calgary are required to plant a certain number of trees depending on the size of their property to help maintain the city’s urban canopy. An urban forest is incredibly important to the lives and well-being of city residents. Trees provide much enjoyment for people as well as the birds, animals, and even insects that call our growing spaces home.
All those who have built a new home in the city, including a tear-down and rebuild, are required to plant trees on their property. Single detached homes on parcels 10 metres wide and more are required to plant three trees, single detached home on lots less than two metres wide are required to plant two trees, and semi-detached homes must plant two trees as well. The minimum diameter of the tree’s trunk must be 50 millimetres, meaning smaller, more ornamental trees will fit the bill.
A single existing tree of 50 millimetres in width and three metres in height are considered one tree, and an existing tree 85 millimetres in diametres and four metres high count as two trees.
Tree planting and maintenance from Mirage Landscaping
Mirage Landscaping’s landscape construction services include sod and tree installation. We will purchase, deliver, and professionally install your new trees within hours, transforming your yard into a shady, leafy oasis. Trees need a strong start, which can be helped along by professionals such as us. We know how deep to plant each different species, what spots in which they will thrive, the best mix of dirt to use, and how to build a tree well for watering. When we plant, we do our very best to not stress out the tree with over-handling.
Our custom watering services help reduce the shock of being planted in a new spot and keep your new trees thoroughly moist. In order to help a newly planted tree recover and establish itself in its new location, a lot of moisture is need to soak the entire root ball at the time of planting and the day after to help get rid of air pockets and settle the soil. After that, new trees should be watered daily for a week, and then twice a week for the next four weeks or so. After five weeks, new trees should continue to be watered every seven to 14 days.
Count on Mirage Landscaping for all your property maintenance needs
Our family-owned company has been specializing in helping property owners throughout Calgary keep their homes and businesses looking great for low prices. For three generations, we’ve been delivering affordable services that exceed customer expectations. You can familiarize yourself with our work by browsing our online portfolio of successful past projects.
We are pleased to offer custom quotes that allow you to put together a uniquely designed service package, according to your specific needs. Use our online form, enter your information and project details, and one of our team members will perform an evaluation and get in touch with you to offer a low and affordable price quote. It’s fast and easy.