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The Green Acreages Guide in Action

Posted November 12, 2018 by LSC

The last Alberta census indicated that rural residential landowners represent 14% of Alberta’s population – a growing proportion of the rural population. Acreage living can offer much that urban living does not, including having nature right at your doorstep. But, it can also be overwhelming, especially for those accustomed to urban life, to manage the many aspects of an acreage or recreational land property.

Discover how one southern Alberta acreage owner has used the Green Acreages Guide resources to help transform his acreage, reduce his carbon footprint and, ultimately, become a better steward of his property.

Guiding a Transformation

Several years ago, when Terry Krause bought his Red Deer County acreage, a good portion of the property consisted of bare ground and an unhealthy groundcover mix consisting of timothy, quack grass and Canada thistle. With a mind to improving the ecosystem services, natural functions and biodiversity associated with his property, Terry turned to his copy of the Green Acreages Guide Workbook to help him remedy the issues he was facing and improve the health of his acreage landscape.

“The Green Acreages Guide helped validate our ideas and inform our path to transforming our acreage,” explains Terry. With the help of the Guide, Terry has implemented numerous best management practices on his property. He’s also quick to point out that the information in the Guide enabled him to adopt practices that best suited his needs and goals for his property. For example, rather than just use a huge open plot that would be barren over the winter and have no habitat value, the garden was instead designed as four plots with crisscross pathways lined with fruit trees (e.g. sour cherries, choke cherries and honey berries) and perennial flowers to provide year round cover for birds and insects. By keeping the garden plots smaller and surrounded with cover, the garden functions better ecologically year round.

A Plan With a Purpose

In addition to establishing a large, diverse garden and naturescaping (e.g. combining early and late flowers species to cover the season for pollinators), Terry planted 1,000 trees and shrubs on his 2.5 acres, using shelterbelt hybrids and a genetic diversity of tree/shrub species to mimic nature as closely as possible.

He also seeded the remaining acreage to a fescue-grass mix that enabled him to limit mowing to three or four times a year, fostering a deep rooted system. As a result, impermeable surfaces have been minimized as much as possible and the deep rooted vegetation and grass does a good job of sponging up precipitation. Grass clippings are also swept up and used in the garden as mulch/compost and the house itself even has a number of efficiency features incorporated.

An Informative Resource

All of Terry’s efforts have resulted in a beautiful and a more sustainable acreage; one with a landscape that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also yields fruits and vegetables, and benefits the natural world.

In addition to reinvigorating the property, Terry says implementing best management practices and being very purposeful about what he planted on the acreage has improved habitat for an abundance of important wildlife, such as birds, bumble bees and other pollinators.

“The Green Acreages Guide covers a range of topics and is hugely informative,” offers Terry. “I would recommend it to anyone thinking of moving to an acreage or who has just moved to an acreage. It will give you the basics but also helps you understand the more detailed aspects of how to better manage or transform your acreage property.”

Learn more about the Green Acreages Guide resources and what they can do for you.

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