What is this stuff???!!!!

So Springtime in Alberta is beautiful.  Fresh clean air, blue skies, birds chirping, tulips starting to bloom and your Mayday Tree should be blooming just around the….wait a second.  WHAT IS THAT STUFF???  

Ah yes.  Black Knot.  A client recently commented that it looks as though someone tossed dog poo into a tree (yick!)…but it is rather disgusting stuff. Black Knot is a fungal infection (Apiosporina morbosa), that infects trees in the Prunus genus.  What does that mean for us here in Edmonton?  Well.  In the city, mostly Maydays and Schubert Chokecherries are getting this nasty affliction.  However, there are other trees that are at risk and a close eye should be kept on them as well.  They are (and this is not in any order);  Amur Cherry, Apricot, Mongolian Cherry, Black Cherry, Nanking Cherry, Chokecherry, Cultivated Plum, Flowering Almond, Wild Plum, Flowering Plum, Prunus Hybrids, Japanese Plum, Sand Cherry, Korean Cherry, and Sour Cherry.

Have I seen it on this other list of trees that are at risk?  No.  Not yet.  I’m crossing my fingers.

Now for the good news.  You can keep Black Knot at bay.  All it takes is a sharp eye, patience and pruning.

However, a little info about Black Knot.


Black Knot is a plant pathogen.  What’s that? A disease.  It is caused by the fungus Apiosporina morbosa. It starts out as a slight swelling or gall (lump) on the tree branches.  In 2 – 3 years it matures, turning first green, then hard, black and rather disgusting looking.  Mature Black Knot galls will produce and release spores during the blooming period of the tree (May), which will increase the number of infected trees in the surrounding area as well as the tree of origin.  If the fungus is not controlled it will continue to grow until it is an internal, systemic problem, which at that time, the tree has a limited life span and the fungus will rapidly fill up the tree.  At this point it is beyond saving and it is suggested to get it removed by a certified Arborist.

So.  How can we control this?

  •  If you have it, PRUNE IT. If you struggle with knowing HOW to prune, call a gardener or an arborist.  Your local garden centers (I recommend Greenland Garden Centre in Sherwood Park for good info) will have plenty of information and tools that you will need if you decide to go on this adventure solo.
  • When should I prune? Prune out all black knot bearing branches during late fall, winter and in early spring.  When the trees leaf out it is far more difficult to see the diseased parts.
  • DESTROY THE DISEASED WOOD IMMEDIATELY.  Burn it. Bury it.  Or remove from the site.  Don’t toss it into your neighbors yard or the ravine!!  Also taking it to the Eco Station is good too, they will dispose of it properly.  Don’t attempt to chip your diseased tree and use it as mulch either.  It will spread the fungus!
  • Talk to your neighbors. Get your community involved! Is there a tree in your neighborhood that is infected?  That one tree can be providing spores that will infect all of the trees in quite a large radius as well as trees in our beautiful river valley.  It might be time to have THAT conversation.  A bit nervous about that?  Contact the City of Edmonton (311) and ask for advice on what to do.
  • Are there chemicals that can help?  No.  And no, tears don’t work either. The best advice is to make sure your tree is healthy ie. has a healthy immune system, is well watered and fertilized.
  • Happy Black Knot Hunting!


Bees Knees!

Many of you know about the plight of the bees.  Bees are crucial in the pollination of much of the food that we eat, not to mention the delicious honey that they supply.  I am happy to announce that The Garden of Weedin’ is running it’s first honey bee pilot project!  One of our wonderful clients, John and Nicola Biggs of Optimum Health Vitamins, has agreed to be the new home for a colony of honey bees and we are mere days away from supplying our new bee friends with their new home!  We will be blogging about this process including the setup of the new hive, the maintenance as well as the honey bee loving flowers that we will be planting.  Pictures soon but in the mean time here’s a link to where I ordered our hive.  Bee Maid Honey supplies delicious honey as well as all of the equipment you need to host your own honey bees!  Enjoy!

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Alberta summers are short and sweet.  For many of you gardening is something you just don’t have the time for but you want to really enjoy your garden.  That’s where we can help.  If you have any thoughts, ideas or questions about your garden feel free to give us a call.  Planning a veggie garden and need a hand getting it started or tending to it throughout the season?  We can do this too!  Whether it be tending a previous garden patch or helping build raised beds, last year we helped plant, tend, and harvest 3 local veggie gardens!  Some of the most beautiful gardens are the ones that you can eat!

Curious about what we do?

We provide the following services…..

*  Like our name….we WEED..  That’s right.  We’ll get down and do the dirty work for you and get rid of your weeds without using harmful chemicals that are found in herbicides.  We are also a pesticide free gardening company.  Our goal is to provide organic gardening services to Edmonton and its surrounding communities.  We value the health of our clients, their families and our beautiful city!

*  Spring and Fall cleanup.

*  Routine garden maintenance.  Whether your garden needs fertilizing, compost, weeding or planting, we’ll help you keep your garden looking it’s best!

*  Tree and shrub pruning and shaping.  We can also recommend qualified arborists for bigger jobs.

*  Planting and garden design consultation.

*  Special events “spruce ups!”  Planning a garden birthday party or an outdoor wedding?  We can help!

*  Container gardening.  Let us help you create beautiful containers with a wide variety of annuals and perennials that will bloom all summer long!

Curious to see what we can do?  Take a look at the before and after page above as well as our client gallery of the beautiful gardens we maintain.  Interested in container gardening?  Scroll down to see some of the containers we have helped to create.

Please feel free to give us a call, send us an email or post a question on the blog.

Looking forward to a wonderful gardening season!

Caitlin  Larsen

780 914 9778






Eco-Friendly Lawns

Are you considering making the switch from the typical heavy herbicide and synthetic fertilizer lawn care system you currently use?  Is your concern for your family, family pets and the environment a priority?  The Garden of Weedin’ is proud to recommend the services of Enviroperfect Solutions.  Enviroperfect Solutions provides a chemical free lawn care system which manages and feeds the soil which in turn produces a healthy turf that naturally out-competes weeds.  With their help you can rid your lawn of harmful herbicides and synthetic fertilizers. Read more about their turf management system here. Looking for eco-friendly weed control on your acreage?  Enviroperfect Solutions has also recently produced a new, eco-friendly weed control product called A.D.I.O.S.   We have partnered on several residential properties, providing chemical free lawn and gardening services.  If you have any questions contact them at 780-994-4743 / 1-877-4769 info@enviroperfectsolutions.com