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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.

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.

Snow shoveling can be a risky job. Every winter many people are injured while shoveling snow. Heart attacks are also common during this time as well. Some careful planning and a few safety tips may help you stay healthy. Advances in snow shovel design over the last few years have help many people who do their own snow shoveling. With a slight bend in the handle the new shovel design means you can stay more upright, putting less stress on your lower back. FullSizeRenderLarge shovels designed just to push the snow are common place and make it easier to push a larger amounts of snow. Using a smaller shovel to then throw it up on the pile. Before heading out to shovel physiotherapists recommend some doing some stretching. Working in the cold is hard on the muscles until they get warmed up. Clearing the snow in a few stages instead of waiting until there is a large accumulation, is also a good idea if possible. Also remember to drink lots of water. Even though you are probably a bit cold and drinking cold water isn’t too appealing, it is important to keep hydrated. Snow shoveling is a trigger for heart attacks. Many people just don’t think about the dangers of snow shovelling. According to Patrick J. Skerrett, editor of Harvard Health : “What’s the connection? Many people who shovel snow rarely exercise. Picking up a shovel and moving hundreds of pounds of snow, particularly after doing nothing physical for several months, can put a big strain on the heart. Pushing a heavy snow blower can do the same thing. Cold weather is another contributor because it can boost blood pressure, interrupt blood flow to part of the heart, and make blood more likely to form clots. When a clot forms inside a coronary artery (a vessel that nourishes the heart), it can completely block blood flow to part of the heart. Cut off from their supply of life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients, heart muscle cells begin to shut down, and then die. This is what doctors call a myocardial infarction or acute coronary syndrome. The rest of us call it a heart attack.”


It is easy to forget how much snow we get!

So when you head out to shovel that walkway or driveway, please remember to stretch, drink plenty of water and take your time. Also consider spreading a little ice melt to keep the walks from being too slippery.


Love them or hate them we have been forced in to using the Green Bin Program in Ottawa with the reduction of garbage pick up to biweekly. Admittedly, using the green bin is a bit of a pain, but in our house we have adjusted and jam it full every week. In the news this week, certain councillors running in the upcoming election have suggested that if they run they will end the green bin program and return to weekly garbage pick up. It has been suggested this could cost the city millions of dollars, so I suggest the we get used to biweekly pickup and using the Green Bin.

All this talk of green bins got me thinking about how I never used to compost until the biweekly pickup started, now it is routine. A few tips to help you get used to using the green bin.

1. Keep a small covered compost bin in the kitchen and line it with purchased bags or homemade liners. Like these:

2. In the warm weather keep meat scraps in it’s own lined bin in the freezer until pick up day. This helps with the control of maggots.

3. If you are going to be prepping a large amount of veggies and fruits at one time, prep them right on to a few sheets of newspaper, then wrap and put in the Green Bin.

Many people are still not sure what can go in to the Green Bin. You can of course dispose of the expected items of food scraps and yard waste, you can also dispose of BBQ and fireplace ashes (cooled of course), kitty litter, pet fur, hair and feathers, to name a just few items. Check the City of Ottawa website for a full list here:

Naturally, as a landscape company we are keenly aware of the requirement of good organic matter for the gardens we build and maintain. As a homeowner, you can benefit directly from the city’s composting endeavors by purchasing (very inexpensively) compost which has been produced from matter the city has collected. It is a “serve yourself” at the Trail Road facility in the city’s west end.

Think green and keep on composting!