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Author Archives: Heidi McLaren

Wild Parsnip has become a common site along the roadways in our communities these days, and I am here to warn you about the dark side of this plant. Although it is very pretty with tall regal stems and yellow lacey flowers, don’t be fooled, it is a very dangerous plant.

Invasive Wild Parsnip

Invasive Wild Parsnip

A native to Europe and Asia, Wild Parsnip was likely brought to North America many years ago by European settlers. Unfortunately, this plant has gone from being a cultivated plant to an invasive species we are now having difficulty controlling. A member of the carrot and parsley family the root is actually edible, but I DO NOT recommend trying to harvest them.

Wild Parsnip is a biennial, meaning it grows the first year, forming roots and a small flower. The second year a tall plant is formed, which dies during that second year.

Invasive Wild Parsnip

Invasive Wild Parsnip

The flower produces many seeds which are spread very easily via wind, forming many new plants to begin the process again. Very large thick stands of Wild Parsnip are not uncommon.

There has been a lot of news reports about people being injured while handling this plant. What you need to know is that the sap that is produced inside the thick stem is extremely toxic. If your skin comes in contact with the sap, it produces a very painful reaction, much like a burn. You may also experience rashes or blisters. Once you have been exposed to the sap your skin becomes very sensitive to sunlight, and you will likely be told to keep the area that was exposed out of the direct sunlight. If you believe that you have come in contact with the sap from the stems, immediately wash the area very well, being extremely careful to avoid touching your eye area.

Wild Parsnip Burns

Wild Parsnip Burns

If you have Wild Parsnip on your property be extremely careful if you attempt to remove it yourself. Please remember to wear protective clothing, including long sleeves and long pants, heavy rubber gloves, eye protection, ideally a disposable suit over your clothing would be the perfect solution. Remember to wash your rubber gloves very well after handling the plant, along with your clothing of course.

If you have a small number of plants on your property you can attempt to dig them out, digging the tap root, trying to get as much of it as you possibly can. You will have to check back regularly to re-dig the area of any roots you missed. Ideally, check for the plant in the spring when it is a smaller low growing plant and easier to remove.

Where it is permitted you can use chemical treatment, or if personal chemical treatment is not allowed, hire someone to spray the area. Another way to control an area of unwanted growth is to tarp with thick plastic, leaving this in place for at least one full growing season to kill off all growth. Once you remove the tarp you can rehabilitate the soil and replant with more desirable plantings.

Please be careful and keep a watch out for this invasive plant. Please call the office if you have Wild Parsnip that you need removed and do not wish to attempt it yourself.

There has been a lot of talk in the news lately about Lyme disease, which of course means avoiding contact with ticks. It is somewhat frustrating for outdoor enthusiasts who wait all winter to enjoy their summer pursuits only to be told to cover up, put chemicals on your body and go outside and get healthy! I believe with a little bit of careful preparation and caution we can enjoy our summers safely.

Ticks are found in long grasses, piles of damp leaves or wood, forests and bushy areas.

Long grass where ticks can hide

Long grass where ticks can hide

Here are a few tips to help you avoid these pesky arachnids.
1. Cover up. If you are going to be traipsing through long grass and bush areas, wear long pants and tuck them in to your boots or socks. Long sleeve shirts are recommended as well.
2. DEET. If you are participating in an activity like hiking or golf and wearing shorts an insect repellant with 30% DEET is suggested.
3. If you wear light coloured clothes it is easier to spot ticks that may have attached themselves to your clothing.

Stay on the path

Stay on the path when hiking in the woods.

4. If you are hiking, try and stay on the trails to avoid contact with the long grasses and damp wooded areas. 

5. After any outdoor activity in areas where ticks are present, always do a body scan of yourself, children and pets. Ticks love to nestle in to warm areas on your body like toes, armpits, knees, groin and scalp.

If you find a tick remove it as soon as possible. The sooner you remove it the less likely you will be infected with Lyme disease. If you think the tick may have been attached or looks engorged, carefully remove the tick. To remove a tick, it is suggested that you use tweezers, grasp the tick at its head, as close to your body as possible, and pull straight up. Once you have removed the tick be sure to wash the area with soap and water. Save the tick in a small jar and bring it to your doctor. The tick can be tested to see if it is carrying Lyme disease.

The list of symptoms of Lyme disease is long and varied. Here is a link to the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation’s list:
If you think you have been exposed to an infected tick, see your health care provider right away.

If you have a pet that spends a lot of time outdoors, it is important to check them for ticks as well. Remove them the same way as discussed above, then safely dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet or sealing it in a bag and placing it in the garbage. There is a vaccine available for dogs.

The Ottawa area has been tagged as a higher risk area in Ontario. Be safe, take the proper precautions and get out side and enjoy our summer!

I have noticed since moving out to the country almost 6 years ago, a pretty flowering plant growing along the sides of the roads.  I wondered what it was and almost considered finding some I could plant on my property. Thankfully I never did this because I have recently discovered it is the very invasive, and damaging species, Japanese Knotweed.

Lindsay Landscape has recently been called upon to help homeowners safely clear this from their properties. I want to share some information with all of you so you can be aware of this plant, protecting your property values at the same time.

What is Japanese Knotweed?
An invasive species which is becoming a problem for Ontario, including the Ottawa Carleton region.
It has been found that Japanese Knotweed takes 20-40 years after initial planting to expansively spread. This species was introduced to North America in the late 19th century, planted for ornamental purposes as well as erosion control and forage for livestock. It has now become an aggressive plant, particularly in Ontario.                   It is considered to be one of the top 100 invasive species in the world. 

What does it look like? Japanese Knotweed has hollow, smooth stems, resembling bamboo. It has medium to large oval to triangular shaped leaves, growing in an alternate pattern. The plant produces pretty, small, white flowers in sprays near the end of the stems. The flowering occurs in Late July- August

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed

Where does it like to grow?

Japanese Knotweed thrives in full sun, open and exposed sites. But, this attractive, but invasive species also thrives along river edges, wetlands, ditches, along roadsides and fence lines. It can often be found on old homestead land where it may have been originally planted as an ornamental. Because it thrives along river edges, rhizome pieces can be dispersed in the moving water quickly spreading the plant. The seeds are usually spread by wind. It is salt tolerant and can survive extreme climates and site conditions.

What harm will it do if I have it on my property?

Most importantly for homeowners to know is the Knotweed rhizomes spread so vigorously that they can damage home foundations, grow up through interlock patios and driveways, or through your deck boards. This plant can also grow through asphalt up to 8 cm thick!

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed

This species is known to degrade wetland and river habitats. Dense growth of Japanese Knotweed will reduce sun penetration by so much that it prevents other plants from growing. There is also some preliminary studies which suggest that it may also change the soil chemistry prohibiting the growth of native species.

This species is known to degrade wetland and river habitats. Dense growth of Japanese Knotweed will reduce sun penetration by so much that it prevents other plants from growing. There is also some preliminary studies which suggest that it may also change the soil chemistry prohibiting the growth of native species.

What should I do if I have Japanese Knotweed on my property?
Calling a professional is recommended as there is a certain protocol for removing and disposing of this aggressive plant.
Please remember if you pull any of this out of your gardens, to dispose of it properly.
Place all plant materials in thick black plastic bags. Leave the bags in the sunlight for a week then send to a landfill site. If you live in an area where burning is permitted, this is the best method to dispose of it.

For more detailed information if you think you may have this plant on your property please check this link:

Please call the office 613-293-8246 if you have Japanese Knotweed on your property to receive a quote to remove it safely and prevent the spread of this invasive species.

Although the rain has settled down slightly, according to Environment Canada, 2017 it will go down as one of the rainiest years in our recorded history.

Here are a few tips for you to help ensure your lawns can deal with another summer like 2017!


  • Try and keep your lawn well aerated. Ideally twice a year to keep the compaction to a minimum. This will help with drainage.
  • Be sure your lawn is properly graded. You want to ensure that there are no low spots where the water can puddle. You also want to make sure that water does not sit up against the foundation.
  • Over-seeding your lawn once a year once the cooler, late summer temperatures arrive. This will help keep a thicker lawn with a more complex root system, which helps your lawn absorb more water.
  • Once the lawn is very wet, try and avoid walking on the lawn. This contributes to soil compaction and therefore further worsening the drainage problem.

As we head in to August, let’s hope that the rain stays away, giving our lawns time to dry out a bit. On the other hand, we do not want it too dry, that is a whole new problem! If that happens, don’t worry we will send you some tips to help you deal with that as well.

Enjoy the rest of the summer.

Just as we like to cozy up in the fall when the temperatures drop so do the critters outside. Protecting your home from becoming a winter vacation property to rodents like mice and squirrels and chipmunks, not to mention raccoons, is very important. unnamed-1Having a chimney full of raccoons is no fun for the homeowner. Let’s face it, most of us don’t really even think of this until it happens to us!

Damage to beams, walls, and wires are a real hazard that needs to be addressed. Rodents in search of food can find their way in and create havoc in your home. Keep in mind, mice only need a quarter of an inch to get in and squirrels only need about two and a half inches. The most common entry points for smaller critters are around windows and doors. Raccoons love the cozy chimney! Add weather stripping, check door sweeps and your screens for holes, add a chimney cap. With a few preventative measures you can ensure that your home will be safe.

According to the Insurance Hotline website these tips should help:

  • Don’t leave food out.
  • Secure your trash.
  • Cover up any cracks or holes inside and outside your home.
  • Install a chimney cap.
  • Invest in a dehumidifier.
  • Clear away wood, mulch or plant material from the base of the home.

Many people don’t realize that if they have a major infestation and damage to their home, their insurance may not cover them. Just another reason to keep your home and yard clean, tidy and shrubs and bushes well trimmed away from the house.

I can’t believe it is almost Halloween again! Where do the months go? It seems like we are just gearing up for summer and poof! it is Halloween.

I was writing an email to our property managers with some tips for keeping their properties safe on Halloween night and decide that the tips were good ones, that every homeowner could use. So here it is:


Dark a spooky sounds like the perfect environment for Halloween, but not it you manage an apartment building or multi unit complex. To keep things safe for the little ones, it is recommended that you keep your property well lit. Stairwells and hallways are particularly vulnerable to accidents so ensure all lighting in these areas are functioning properly. This is going to make your tenants more comfortable as well as making it that much less attractive to the pranksters out there.

Fire Safety

Who doesn’t love a brightly lit jack-o-lantern on Halloween night? But these can be dangerous and prone to burning. A battery operated candle is a great alternative. PumpkinsIf the pumpkin is bumped or knocked over there is no worry of any fire starting. This can also be a good time to remind your tenants about candle safety and to check the smoke alarms on your property.

Clear the Way

Half the fun of Halloween is the decorating! Remind tenants to keep their decorations off the paths and from blocking any cut through areas that kids might use. As a property manager this would be a good time to take care of any loose bricks, boards or big holes in the lawn areas of the property. No one wants to trip or step in a hole and twist an ankle. Any area that is deemed dangerous should be marked with safety cones or cordoned off. Better safe than sorry. A bit of time spent checking over the property will be well worth it.

Take the opportunity to send a newsletter to your tenants. It will be appreciated that you are taking their safety seriously.

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!


Beautiful tulips, the result of planting fall bulbs!

Living in the Ottawa area we are treated every spring to an amazing show of tulips all over the capital region showcased during the Tulip Festival. For the home owner planting fall bulbs is an easy way to enjoy beautiful colour on your own property.

Lindsay Landscape plants bulbs for some clients every year. Planting  should be done anytime from late September in to late November or even December if the ground is not yet frozen solid. Tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, and crocus are spring flowering and considered hardy. They need to have the dormant rest during the winter. Once the snow begins to melt in the spring the bulbs are watered with the melting snow and they begin to grow.

Plant in well drained soil, adding bonemeal to the planting bed may help keep squirrels from stealing the bulbs. We would recommend mulching to help prevent weeds, retain moisture and if there is a severe winter, some mulch will help protect them from damage. Planting in clumps is an attractive option, giving the best hit of colour in the spring when the bulbs flower.

Once blooming has finished let the leaves die back, then carefully remove. You can leave the bulbs in the ground but many gardeners suggest after 3 years, removing and splitting them. Some well thought out planning in your garden will ensure that there are other plants growing up to disguise the dying leaves of your finished tulips or whichever flower you planted.

Whether you choose to plant bulbs yourself or want some help from Lindsay Landscape, planting bulbs is a great way to plan ahead for an early and colourful start to your gardening season.


The summer of 2016 is looking like it is headed to the record books. While we all wait anxiously for warm summer weather, extremes like this year can play havoc with your lawn.

Urban Lawn

Shady city lawn

Naturally, our first instinct is to water like crazy, but there are a few things to keep in mind. If you are lucky enough to have a big shade tree in your yard, your lawn will likely come through a drought situation better than most. Yes, the trees do suck up some of the moisture, but protection from that intense sun helps protect the lawn.

Water wisely. Try not to water in the middle of the day. First thing in the morning is best, with evening being the next best choice. While watering is important, keep in mind a few good deep soakings are better than many short sprinkles.

When the lawns turn brown in a heat wave, in most cases, they are not dead, but only dormant. The leaves or crown of the plant dies back but the root systems are still alive. These can survive about 6 weeks with little water. It is important to water during a drought but don’t worry if the lawn still looks brown, even if you have watered it. Keep in mind those roots are okay and once the regular rain comes the lawn will usually green right up.

Something else to keep in mind is that when the grass is dormant, it is more prone to damage. Chinch bugs are very active in the heat, and can kill the grass if the heat is prolonged.  Also, keeping off the grass as much as possible is a good idea. Don’t know what chinch bugs look like? Check here:

Another thing to keep in mind when the hot weather begins is to keep your lawn a little longer than usual. We recommend about 3-31/2 inches. This also encourages deeper root growth as well. Ensuring your lawn is well aerated also helps any moisture you apply get down to the root system.

A mature, well established lawn will of course withstand drought conditions better. Keeping up with a regular turf care program will in the long run mean a more drought tolerant lawn. Keeping in mind that during a severe heat wave do not apply any weed control treatments. Once the drought is over, return to your regular watering cycle and maintenance.

Whether or not you are selling your home curb appeal is very important. We all want to drive up to our home a feel good about what we see, but if you are selling it goes way beyond our feelings.

Lindsay Landscape has been called in numerous times for an overhaul on a property that the owners were looking at selling. Beyond the regular lawn mowing, keeping your property well maintained includes weeding and re-edging your gardens beds and adding mulch as well as trimming your shrubs and hedges. Keeping any painted surfaces on the exterior of your property in good shape, and in an updated colour will go a long way in improving the curb appeal. Potted flowers, a comfy chair on the porch or a bench in the garden are welcoming to visitors.DSC_0041

If you have large trees on your property be sure they are kept trimmed as dead branches can be a hazard to people and property, not to mention a broken limb hanging down is definitely not appealing. Fences and retaining walls should be kept in good repair. Decks can often be greatly improved by a good power washing.

Curb appeal is going to draw in potential buyers who might otherwise just drive on by, or in this day and age, click on the next property’s picture. Often overlooked is your house number. Is it easy to read from the road? Consider replacing the numbers so your house is easy to spot to potential buyers. Keep your walkway clear to the door. Plant some flowers and keep them watered.

Your real estate agent will thank you for these preparations.

If you have a hedge, cedar or not, regular maintenance is required to keep it healthy, green and importantly the size you want. If you have chosen a hedge over a fence it likely means that you enjoy the “green” it provides because there is no doubt a hedge is much more work.

A neatly trimmed hedge provides privacy

A neatly trimmed hedge provides privacy

Annual trimming is going to keep your hedge looking good and keep it down to size. Lindsay Landscape recommends letting the spring growth start and the hedge to grow a bit in to late spring/early summer, then do a good trimming to encourage a nice dense growth. That being said we trim hedges right in to September and find that they do very well. Some clients prefer a later trim and some an earlier one. We try and accommodate our clients preferences as long as the health of the hedge is maintained.

A cedar hedge can also benefit from a fertilization as well. Lindsay Landscape recommends fertilizing your hedge in the early spring up until the end of June when the growing period has finished. Cedars also like lots of water. If you are having a dry summer your cedar hedge will benefit from some extra watering. Although they do not like to be sitting in water. If you want to plant a new cedar hedge the best time is early spring or in the fall when the plants are dormant. Lindsay Landscape would recommend avoiding the heat of the summer if possible but if you must have a hedge planted at that time of year, be sure and water for 30-45 minutes every evening. Also when planting ensure the hedge has well drained soil and add a bit of bone meal to the planting hole to ensure good root formation. A hedge can add beauty and softness to your landscape, just keep in mind, as with everything maintenance is the key to growing and keeping healthy hedge.

Lindsay Landscape Inc.

Social Media Co-Ordinator/Admin Heidi McLaren