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LiveStream is where we tell and share stories about the value of greenspaces, protecting and preserving wildlife habitats and building complete, sustainable communities. Here, you'll find print and online articles and videos from TRCA and other like-minded organizations that educate and enlighten readers and viewers about the importance of preserving watersheds, nature and wildlife. The stories of caring, committed people and organizations like TRCA come to life in The Living City.

Fall into Healthy Yards

Oct 01, 2009

Cooler temperatures and bountiful harvests make the fall the best time to work in the yard.  This is also the ideal time to enrich your soil, repair your lawn and plan your garden's future. 

"A lot of people think that spring is the best time of garden and lawn care, but that's not necessarily true. If homeowners want to get their yards in tip-top shape next spring, now's the time to act," said Colleen Cirillo, program co-ordinator for Toronto and Region Conservation's Healthy Yards Program. "Homeowners can learn more about ecologically friendly yard and garden care through The Healthy Yards Program which provides watershed residents with the inspiration, information and tools required to create naturally beautiful lawns and gardens."

Here are some eco-friendly tips for fall yard and garden care:

Think green: Repair lawns by overseeding and topdressing in the fall. Dense turf will crowd out weeds like dandelions and crabgrass.

Prepare beds for winter: Cover perennials with fallen leaves and maintain some stems and seed heads for birds, and to trap snow for insulation.

Compost: Applying compost, either store-bought or homemade, adds macro- and micro-nutrients to the soil. It also increases microbial activity that will decompose thatch and improve soil structure. Leaves are worth their weight in gold! Store fallen leaves in bags or bins near your compost pile and add a few every time you add kitchen wastes to the pile throughout the winter.

Don't forget the birds: A healthy yard welcomes wildlife. Install bird feeders and plant conifers to help resident birds survive the long, cold winter.

Planting trees and shrubs:  By planting trees, shrubs and vines you can change the temperature in and around your house and can reduce heating and cooling bills which reduces your household's reliance on fossil fuels, and lower the household's contribution to smog and climate change. A row of smaller evergreens planted three to four feet away from a house's northern wall to act as a layer of insulation. Vines help to insulate exterior walls from summer's heat and winter's cold. Brush piles can also help provide shelter for small animals during the winter.

Fertilize: If you really want to fertilize your lawn, apply an organic fertilizer in the fall to improve soil fertility and increase its organic matter content. These slow-release products will not burn grass, nor will they contaminate ground and surface water.

Toronto and Region Conservation
With over 50 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look-after the natural environment. Our vision is for The Living City®, where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity.  For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at

For more information, please contact:
Rowena Calpito
Supervisor, Media Management  
Toronto and Region Conservation
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5632


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Media contact:

Elizabeth Oakley
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5856

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