Landscaping in the Town of Jasper

Landscaping in the Town of Jasper

Jasper’s urban landscape is an important part of its character and it is important that it fits into its surrounding protected National Park wilderness with minimal environmental and cultural resource impacts. This urban landscape also includes the vegetated areas (including trees, shrubs and other plantings) in both public space and on private leaseholds, as well as the natural open space within the townsite. While this landscape will support a wide variety of plant material, native plantings, that have minimal wildlife attractants, and support FireSmart principles will be the priority for landscaping and landscape plans.

Maintaining a community’s collective landscaping benefits the environment, the health and wellbeing of residents, and creates beautiful spaces for all to enjoy. The Architectural Motif Guidelines for the Town of Jasper sets out general guidelines and the Town of Jasper Land Use Policy contains requirements such as maintaining a minimum amount of soft landscaping (vegetative) for each zoning district. Landscaping, including excavation or terrain manipulation, requires a Parks Canada Development Permit. Click the following Link to learn more about the landscaping requirements of your zoning district and apply for a Parks Canada Development permit for Landscaping.

The following information is intended to assist you in planning your soft landscaping (vegetative) project for permit or provide you guidance in replacing existing plantings with suitable native species alternatives. If you are planning a landscaping project outside of the town site, please see “Landscaping in Jasper National Park”.

Landscaping outside the Town of Jasper

Jasper’s landscape is an important part of its character and it is critical that outlying commercial accommodations and cottages blend into the surrounding protected National Park wilderness with minimal environmental and cultural resource impacts. The ecosystem will support a wide variety of plant material but native plantings, that have minimal wildlife attractants and support FireSmart Canada principles, are required in these special areas. With the exception of annual plantings and golf course greens, any new or replaced vegetation must be native to the National Park.

Maintaining native landscaping benefits the environment, the health and wellbeing of visitors, and creates beautiful spaces for all to enjoy. The Outlying Commercial Accommodation and Hostels in the Rocky Mountain National Parks and the National Parks of Canada Cottages Regulations contain landscaping requirements. All landscaping, including vegetation removal, excavation or terrain manipulation, requires a Parks Canada Development Permit. Click the following link to learn more about the landscaping requirements and apply for a Parks Canada Development permit for Landscaping.

The following information is intended to assist you in planning your soft landscaping (vegetative) project for a permit or provide you guidance in replacing existing plantings with suitable alternatives.


Vegetation removal, excavation or terrain manipulation

A Parks Canada Development Permit is required before any work commences. Ground excavation and terrain manipulation (including small tree/shrub removal), are considered disturbances on the protected landscape.

Mature tree retention or removal

Mature trees (at least 20 cm diameter at chest height) are an asset to the ecosystem and should be retained whenever possible. They filter air and water, help control storm water, provide protection from wind, shade in summer, screen for privacy, and provide critical wildlife habitat. If your mature tree must be removed due to development, or it is assessed as a hazard, you will be required to obtain a Parks Canada Tree Removal Permit. Where mature trees must be removed, replacement trees will need to be planted at a ratio of at least 1:1. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Bird nests are protected at all times

Tree removal is strongly recommended to be done before or after the bird nesting period. Parks Canada is required under the Migratory Bird Act to protect nesting birds from April 21 to August 13. Therefore, your application may be restricted during this time. Danger trees (those that pose hazard to property, infrastructure and/or public safety) assessed by a certified arborist can be removed during the nesting bird period with a Tree Removal Permit. It is, however, expected that leaseholders plan to do tree removals outside this period, except in emergency circumstances.

If you find an active nest in a tree you wish to remove, outside of the nesting bird period, you must contact Parks Canada: jasperrealtymunicipalservices@pc.gc.ca and refrain from removing the tree.

There may be extenuating circumstances where a tree may be removed during the bird nesting period. These exceptional circumstances are rare, but may be granted with additional considerations and mitigations applied. At a minimum, the proponent would need to enlist the services of a registered, licenced professional biologist to do a full inspection of the tree to ensure the absence of nesting birds. If none are found, a permit may be issued.

Parks Canada tree removal permit

To apply for a Parks Canada Tree Removal Permit you will need to fill out a Parks Canada Tree Removal Application including:

  • a completed Parks Canada Tree Removal Application
  • tree species and number of trees
  • purpose of removal. If considered hazardous, a written danger tree assessment from a certified danger tree assessor with proof of their certification is required
  • photo(s) of the tree(s)
  • dimensioned site plan illustrating the location of the tree(s), structures, and lot lines on the leasehold
  • flag the tree(s) of concern with flagging tape
Leaseholder Authorization

If you are applying on behalf of the leaseholder of the property, please also include a signed copy of the Leaseholder Authorization Letter (PDF, 58 KB).

Application to Remove 10 Trees or Less

If you are removing 10 trees or less, please use this application form. (PDF, 350 KB).

Application to Remove More Than 10 Trees

If you are removing more than ten trees, please use this application form (PDF, 395 KB).

Harvesting and landscape plan

Please be advised that, should there be more than 10 trees cut down, a harvesting and landscape plan will be required. The following elements should be included in your plan, at a minimum:

  • a written detailed description of what currently exists on site and the proposed project
  • indication of any proposed tree removal
  • drawings of (a) what currently exists in the proposed work area with dimensions in metric and; (b) the proposed project with dimensions in metric
  • a list of species to be planted, with common and scientific names
  • additional information may be required as considered necessary

Space permitting, contractors and leaseholders are expected to replace, at a minimum, the same number of trees that were removed. In some cases, it may be more. Refer to the attached Town of Jasper Planting List for allowable plant species.

Once the form is completed and the tree(s) are flagged, please return the application and supporting documents to jasperrealtymunicipalservices@pc.gc.ca. Please allow 10 business days to process your Tree Removal Permit.

If tree removal is related to development on property

If tree removal on the property is related to an ongoing development project (within 3 metres of the development), you do not need to apply for a Tree Removal Permit as removal will be included in your Development Permit.

More information on how to apply for a development permit

General guidelines for planting

Step 1: Where to plant

Follow the zone guidelines set out by FireSmart Canada. The design of the landscape immediately adjacent to buildings is a critical factor in determining the likelihood of an asset being resilient to wildfire impacts.

FireSmart zones 

Zones

Non-combustible Zone (0 – 1.5 m from building)

No planting of trees in this area.

Zone 1 (1.5 – 10 m from building)

No planting of coniferous trees in this area. You may plant deciduous native trees like aspen, poplar, cottonwood and birch. This is encouraged.

Landscape with appropriate short grasses, flowers, shrubs, in low density. Do not use bark or pine needle mulches in this zone as they are highly combustible. Gravel mulch and decorative crushed rock mulch significantly reduces the risk of wildfire.

Zone 2 (10 – 30 m from building)

Both coniferous and deciduous trees can be planted in this zone. Spacing is important. There should be 3 m between adult coniferous trees, from drip line to drip line (between outer branch tips of each tree). To achieve this, plant saplings/small trees at least 8 m apart.

Deciduous trees can be planted closer together (~4 m). Again, planting deciduous native varieties is preferred over coniferous trees.

Zone 3 (30 – 100 m from building)

If the area surrounding the new buildings is large enough to include this zone, deciduous and coniferous trees can be planted here, following spacing guidelines discussed above.

Planting near utility lines

If your lot has a formal utility right-of-way, ensure not to plant trees or shrubs on these areas as access must not be impeded for future utility installation or maintenance. Trees should be planted a minimum of 5 m from your septic line to mitigate root damage to the service line.

Step 2: Planting considerations

Avoid fruit-bearing trees and shrubs

Fruit-bearing trees and shrubs, such as crab apple trees, plum trees and Saskatoon berry bushes attract wildlife – ungulates and bears. Driven by their keen sense of smell and hearty appetite, bears may lose their shyness around people as they look for calorie-rich foods. Bears can climb into trees in search of ripening food, breaking branches in the process, and getting a food reward that will bring them back repeatedly. This may also lead to a bear seeking other food sources such as garbage or pet food, thereby putting their life at risk.

Plant native species

Jasper Townsite

Native species with low palatability to wildlife are preferred for projects in areas of high human use. Invasive non-native plants pose a significant ecological threat to native plant and wildlife communities. They spread rapidly without their natural insect predators and disease controls. They also displace native plant species that stabilize soils and provide forage and cover for wildlife. Personal gardens and built landscapes are entry points for many invasive, non-native plants. The most effective way to control non-native plants is to prevent their establishment.

Vegetable gardens are permitted, however it is preferred that aggressive, spreading species (like mint and chives) are planted in pots as opposed to beds. Vegetables can also attract wildlife — fencing or screening enclosures are advised.

Outside of the Jasper Townsite

Only native species with low palatability to wildlife are allowed for projects outside the townsite of Jasper. Non-native plants pose a significant ecological threat to native plant and wildlife communities. They spread rapidly without their natural insect predators and disease controls. They also displace native plant species that stabilize soils and provide forage and cover for wildlife. Personal gardens and built landscapes are entry points for many non-native plants. The most effective way to control non-native plants is to prevent their establishment. Some common, non-invasive annuals, are permitted for planting in baskets and flower boxes. While these plants will attract the bees and butterflies, most will also be appetizing for elk and deer. Annual plants may include:

  • Begonias
  • Petunias
  • Impatiens
  • Geraniums
  • Marigold (not palatable for elk and deer)
  • Calibrachoas (million bells)
  • Ageratum
  • Vincas
  • Pentas
  • Portulaca
  • Salvias
Low fire risk species

Low flammability vegetation is recommended for any areas adjacent to facilities or infrastructure. Not many coniferous trees are included in the recommended plant list below due to their high flammability rating, which pose a greater fire risk to buildings and communities.

Deciduous trees

Deciduous trees (with leaves) are attractive for ungulates (elk and deer). After planting, the stems of these trees must be protected with cage and stakes to a 2 metre height until they are mature and established enough to withstand ungulate browse. This typically takes 3 – 5 years, depending on the tree/shrub species, its age, and the frequency of ungulate browsing.

Step 3: What to plant

Wherever possible, these plants should be derived from local stocks to reduce the risk of introducing non-native varieties. All species listed are now, or soon to be, available from Alberta sources as seed or plants; they are considered non-invasive and are not at high risk of mortality from disease.

Deciduous trees, particularly aspen poplar (Populus tremuloides), are seeing decreases in the park due to ungulate browsing. We encourage leaseholders to plant these trees in their yards. Similarly, Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) are the preferred coniferous tree for planting, due to their fire-resistant nature.

Recommended Trees and Shrubs for Landscaping in the Town of Jasper

This list contains plant species that are native to Jasper National Park and regional area and unlikely to become ecological problems through cross-pollinating with native plants or spreading into the natural environment. Preferred plant species are those that are native to Jasper National Park. Some non-native species that are not invasive, fruit bearing, and have low flammability may also be acceptable. If you’re unsure whether a species is invasive, please reach out to jasperdevelopment@pc.gc.ca for verification. Also, the website www.abinvasives.ca provides an up-to-date list of invasive species in Alberta, and can be a helpful resource.

Trees and Shrubs for Landscaping Outside the Jasper Townsite

This list contains plant species that are native to Jasper National Park and unlikely to become ecological problems through cross-pollinating with native plants or spreading into the natural environment. Required plant species are those that are native to Jasper National Park.

Jasper Townsite planting list
Jasper Townsite planting list - Trees
Common name Scientific name General maximum height Site conditions

Deciduous trees

Balsam Poplar Populus balsamifera 25 m Moist sites, open to partial shade
Paper Birch Betula papyrifera 30 m Shade intolerant, well drained sandy/silty sites
River Birch Betula occidentalis 25 m
Trembling Aspen Populus tremuloides 30 m Dry-moist, sunny sites, open forest
Maple Acer spp. 30 m Moist
Spring Snow crabapple Malus ‘Spring Snow’ 20 m Not fruit bearing

Coniferous trees*

Alpine Fir Abies lasiocarpa
Balsam Fir Abies balsamea 25 m Moist sites, partial shade
Jack Pine Pinus banksiana 25 m Native Alberta pine - not native to Jasper
Limber Pine Pinus flexilis 15 m Slow growing native Alberta pine - not native to Jasper
Lodgepole Pine Pinus contorta latifolia 30 m Dry-moist, sunny sites, open forest
Rocky Mt. Douglas Fir Pseudotsuga menziesii glauca 40 m Dry-moist, sunny sites, open forest
Tamarack Larix laricina 20 m Wet sites, with poor drainage
Western hemlock Tsuga heterophylla 40 m Moist sites, shaded to partial shade
Western red cedar Thuja plicata 40 m Cool, moist, shady sites
Western Yew Taxus brevifolia 5 - 15 m Moist, sheltered sites
White Spruce Picea glauca 40 m Moist to wet sites, open or closed forest
Whitebark pine Pinus albicaulis 20 m Slow growing native Alberta pine -endangered species.

* Coniferous trees should be minimum 10 m distance from buildings.

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Jasper townsite planting list - Shrubs
Common name Scientific name Site conditions

Deciduous shrubs

Arctive Willow Salix arctica
Bebb's Willow Salix bebbiana
Bog or Shrub Birch Betula glandulosa Moist and dry sites, adaptable
Buckbrush Symphoricarpos occidentalis Good tall groundcover
Common Lilac Syringa vulgaris Many cultivars on market
Common Wild Rose Rosa woodsii (later flowering)
Green alder Alnus crispa
Meadowsweet Spiraea betulifolia Prefers canopy, not very vigorous
Mountain or River Alder Alnus tenuifolia Prefers moister sites
Prickly Rose Rosa acicularis (earlier flowering) Most commercial shrub roses are non-native varieties
Pussy Willow Salix discolor
Red Osier Dogwood Cornus stolonifera Prefers moister sites
Shrubby Cinquefoil Potentilla fruticosa Many cultivars on market
Smooth Willow Salix glauca
Snowberry Symphoricarpos albus
Wolf Willow or Silverberry Elaeagnus commutata

Evergreen Shrubs

Creeping Juniper Juniperus horizontalis Not recommended within 10 m of flammable structures due to fire hazard. Good for dry and exposed sites.
Kinnikinnick or Bearberry Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Good groundcover. No more than 10 plants per site

Grey symbol Most acceptable

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Jasper non-urban planting list
Jasper non-urban planting list - Trees
Common name Scientific name General maximum height FireSmart risk Site conditions

Deciduous trees

Balsam Poplar Populus balsamifera 25 m Very low Moist sites, open to partial shade
Paper Birch Betula papyrifera 30 m Very low Shade intolerant, well drained sandy/silty sites
Trembling Aspen Populus tremuloides 30 m Very low Dry-moist, sunny sites, open forest

Evergreen trees*

Alpine Fir Abies lasiocarpa High
Lodgepole Pine Pinus contorta latifolia 30 m High Dry-moist, sunny sites, open forest
Rocky Mt. Douglas Fir Pseudotsuga menziesii glauca 40 m Moderate Dry-moist, sunny sites, open forest
White Spruce Picea glauca 40 m High Moist to wet sites, open or closed forest
Whitebark pine Pinus albicaulis 20 m High Slow growing native Alberta pine -endangered species.

* Evergreen trees should be minimum 10 m distance from buildings.

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Jasper non-urban planting list - Shrubs
Common name Scientific name Attracts bears or ungulates FireSmart risk Site conditions

Deciduous shrubs

Arctive Willow Salix arctica Very low
Bebb's Willow Salix bebbiana Browse Very low
Bog or Shrub Birch Betula glandulosa Low Moist and dry sites, adaptable
Buckbrush Symphoricarpos occidentalis Low Good tall groundcover
Canadian Buffaloberry Shepherdia canadensis minor bear attractant Low Minor bear attractant – no more than 10 plants per site
Common Wild Rose Rosa woodsii (later flowering) Low
Green alder Alnus crispa Very low
Meadowsweet Spiraea betulifolia Low Prefers canopy, not very vigorous
Mountain or River Alder Alnus tenuifolia Very low Prefers moister sites
Prickly Rose Rosa acicularis (earlier flowering) Low Most commercial shrub roses are non-native varieties
Pussy Willow Salix discolor Browse Very low
Red Osier Dogwood Cornus stolonifera Browse Low Prefers moister sites
Shrubby Cinquefoil Potentilla fruticosa Low Many cultivars on market
Smooth Willow Salix glauca Browse Very low
Snowberry Symphoricarpos albus Low
Wolf Willow or Silverberry Elaeagnus commutata Low

Evergreen Shrubs

Creeping Juniper Juniperus horizontalis Xeriscape Not recommended within 10 m of flammable structures due to fire hazard. Good for dry and exposed sites.
Kinnikinnick or Bearberry Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Minor bear attractant Xeriscape Good groundcover. No more than 10 plants per site

Grey symbol Most acceptable

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Jasper non-urban planting list - Grasses
Common name Scientific name Attracts bears or ungulates Site conditions
Alpine Bluegrass Poa alpina Moderate
Awned Wheatgrass Agropyron subsecundum Moderate
Broadglumed Wheatgrass Agropyron violaceum Moderate
Fowl Bluegrass Poa palustris Moderate
Fringed Brome Bromus ciliatus Moderate
Glaucous Bluegrass Poa glauca Moderate
Hairy Wildrye Elymus innovatus Moderate
June Grass Koeleria cristata Moderate
Northern Wheatgrass Agropyron dasystichum Moderate
Plains Reedgrass Calamagrostis montanensis Moderate Will not accept related, but non-native B. inermis, as a substitute
Plains Rough Fescue Festuca hallii
Pumpelly brome Bromus pumpellianus
Richardson’s Needle Grass Stipa richardsonii Common understory dominant in lodgepole pine forests
Rocky Mountain Fescue Festuca saximontana Moderate
Sandberg bluegrass Poa secunda Moderate
Slender Wheatgrass Agropyon trachycaulum
Spike trisetum Trisetum spicatum Moderate
Spikeoat Helictotrichon hookeri Moderate
Streambank Wheatgrass Agropyron riparium Moderate
Ticklegrass Agrostis scabra Moderate
Tufted Hairgrass Deschampsia caespitosa
Western Wheatgrass Agropyron smithii

Grey symbol Most acceptable

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All of the above grasses are highly suitable for naturalized or low-use reclamation areas with infrequent or no mowing. Plant with Oxytropis or Astragalus.

Generally low flammability except when dry. Relatively low risk unless tall grass is adjacent to other flammable materials (eg: conifers, woodpiles, built structures).

The above native grasses are not suited for high maintenance, regularly-mowed turf. Green turf areas should be minimized in JNP due to elk attraction and high maintenance requirements which can lead to demand for cosmetic herbicide.

Where high-use public areas require turf, high quality non-native Kentucky Bluegrass/Creeping Red Fescue mixes similar to the following may be acceptable:

  • 60 – 70% Kentucky Bluegrass selected, elite cultivars
  • 20 – 30% “Boreal” Creeping Red Fescue
  • 10 – 15% Perennial Ryegrass, turf-type cultivars
 
Jasper non-urban planting list - Wildflowers
Common name Scientific name Attracts bears or ungulates Site conditions
Alpine Aster Aster alpinus Low Improved cultivars available
Alpine Hedysarum Hedysarum alpinum Low
Alpine Loco-weed Oxytropis cusickii Low
Alpine Milk vetch Astragalus alpinus Low
American Milk Vetch Astragalus americanus Low
Black-Eyed Susan Gaillardia aristata Low Very showy
Blue or Harebell Campanula rotundifolia Low
Blue-Eyed Grass Sisyrinchium montanum Low
Broad-leaved Fireweed Epilobium latifolium Low
Bunchberry Cornus canadensis Low Likes moist soils rich in humus.
Canada Goldenrod Solidago canadensis Moderate
Common Yarrow Achillea millefolium Low Since species invasive, use of non-white cultivars not recommended
Compound Fleabane Erigeron compositus Low
Coralbell Heuchera brizoides Many cultivars
Cordilleran Arnica Arnica mollis Low
Cow Parsnip Heracleum lanatum Low Prefers moist, rich soils
Creeping Phlox Phlox subulata Low Many cultivars, groundcover
Crimson Columbine Aquilegia formosa Low
Cut-leaved Anemone Anemone multifida Low
Daylily Hemerocallis hybrida Low Many cultivars available
Early Blue Violet Viola adunca Low
Early Yellow Locoweed Oxytropis sericea Low
Evergreen Candytuft Iberis sempervirens Low
False Solomon’s Seal Smilacina racemosa Low Good groundcover
Fireweed Epilobium angustifolium Low Spreads through seed and rhizomes
Garden Phlox Phlox paniculata Low Many cultivars, strong scent
Golden Corydalis Corydalis aurear Low
Graceful Cinquefoil Potentilla gracilis Low
Late Yellow Locoweed Oxytropis monticola Low
Lindley’s Aster Aster ciliolatus Low
Northern Bedstraw Galium boreale Moderate
Northern Hedysarum Hedysarum boreale Low
Old Man’s Whiskers Geum triflorum Low Looks good all season long
Pasture Sagewort Artemisia frigida Low
Pearly Everlasting Anaphalis margaritacea Low
Prairie Crocus Anemone patens Low
Prairie Groundsel Senecio canus Low
Prairie Sagewort Artemisia ludoviciana Low
Pussy Toes Antennaria parvifolia Low
Red Indian Paintbrush Castilleja miniata Low Difficult to grow
Reflexed Loco-weed Oxytropis deflexiai Low
Rocky Mountain Goldenrod Solidago spathulata Moderate
Shining Arnica Arnica fulgens Low
Shooting Star Dodecatheon pulchellum Low
Showy Aster Aster conspicuus Low
Showy Locoweed Oxytropis splendens Low Beautiful all summer long
Slender Blue Beardtongue Pentstemon procerus Low
Smooth Fleabane Erigeron glabellus Low
Smoothing Aster Aster laevis Low
Star-flowered Solomon’s Seal Smilacina stellata Low Good groundcover
Tall Larkspur Delphinium glaucum Low Needs staking or protected site
Tufted Fleabane Erigeron caespitosus Low
Twinflower Linnaea borealis Low Low groundcover
Veiny Meadow Rue Thalictrum venulosum Low
White Camas Zigadenus elegans Low
White Dryad Dryas octopetala Low Pioneering species
Wild Bergamot Monarda fistulosa Low Native Alberta species; not native to Jasper
Wild Blue Flax Linum lewisii Low
Wild Lily-of-the-Valley Maianthemum canadense Low
Wild Mint Mentha arvensis Low
Wild Strawberry Fragaria virginiana Low
Wild White Geranium Geranium richardsonii Low
Yellow Columbine Aquilegia flavescens Low
Yellow Dryad Dryas drummondii Low Pioneering species
Yellow Paintbrush Castilleja occidentalis Low Difficult to grow

Grey symbol Most acceptable

White symbol Acceptable

Frequently asked questions
Approximately 20 trees have been removed from a construction site. Once building is complete, there will not be room to plant at least another 20 trees to satisfy the minimum 1:1 ratio. What are the options?
  • As a priority, plant as many trees in the disturbed area as possible, following the guidelines provided.
  • Trees may also be planted outside the leasehold, on Jasper National Park or Municipality of Jasper lands, space permitting and with their permission.
  • Douglas fir and deciduous trees (aspen, poplar, birch) are the preferred species for re-planting.
  • Depending on the tree species removed from the construction site, you may be asked to plant more trees than those removed. This will increase survivability.
Can I plant a tree, shrub or flower species that is not on the list?
Within the Jasper Townsite

Plantings not on the approved list are discouraged, however some non-invasive, non-native species may be appropriate, especially in areas where native vegetation will not thrive. Personal gardens and human-built landscapes are entry points for many invasive plants. These noxious and prohibited noxious weeds cannot be planted on any leasehold and residents may be subject to prosecution if not removed. For a list of noxious and prohibited noxious weeds, visit the Alberta Invasive Species Council website. The most effective way to control the spread of invasive plants is to prevent their establishment, especially in locations bordering wilderness areas.

If you really want to do your part in conservation, plant native species.

Outside of the Jasper Townsite

No, you cannot. Personal gardens and human-built landscapes are entry points for many non-native plants. The most effective way to control non-native plants is to prevent their establishment, especially in wilderness settings outside the townsite.

How do I know if a plant is invasive?

Visit the Alberta Invasive Species Council website for the most up-to-date list of invasive plant species in Alberta. There are many! The most common invasive plant species in and around the Town of Jasper include:

Oxeye daisy
Oxeye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum)
Yellow clematis
Yellow clematis (Clematis tangutica)
Dalmatian toadflax
Dalmatian toadflax (Linaria dalmatica)
Scentless chamomile
Scentless chamomile (Matricaria perforate)
Yellow hawkweed
Yellow hawkweed (Hieracium pretense)
Tall buttercup
Tall buttercup (Ranunculus acris)
I’d like to use wood chips. Is this a good idea?

Firesmart Canada recommends that wood chips not be used with 1.5 m of structures. They can be used outside this zone, with proper watering (wood chips hold water well). Do not place wood chips around trees. When landscaping against your home or building, consider using gravel mulch, rock mulch, or a combination of plant mulch and decorative rock mulch to reduce the risk. Wood chips are not considered vegetative and therefore not soft landscaping.

I’d like to plant a lawn. What seed mix should I use?

Jasper National Park encourages a movement away from standard lawns to more of a natural environment (rock gardens with natural grasses and natural flowers from our planting list). This is especially important in areas outside the Jasper townsite. This approach blends nicely with the surrounding landscape, takes little maintenance and discourages wildlife from entering your yard to forage.

Within the Jasper Townsite
Traditional lawn
Traditional lawn
Naturalized yard
Naturalized yard, using native plants, rock and gravel)

Where high-use public areas require turf, high-quality non-native Kentucky Bluegrass/Creeping Red Fescue mixes similar to the following may be acceptable:

  • 60 – 70% Kentucky Bluegrass selected, elite cultivars
  • 20 – 30% “Boreal” Creeping Red Fescue
  • 10 – 15% Perennial Ryegrass, turf-type cultivars
Outside of the Jasper Townsite

Choose from the provided grass species and combine at least three different grasses in your mix.

Can I place artificial turf in my yard?

The short answer is no. Here is why…

There are a few “soft” pros for artificial turf:

  • It does not need to be cut.
  • From a distance, it looks aesthetically pleasing.
  • Turf does not need to be watered. This equals savings.

Points against artificial turf:

  • Most artificial turf is made from polyethylene plastic, which is a petroleum-based product. This product needs to be replaced every 15 years, on average, and has a huge carbon footprint. Some of these plastics cannot be recycled — we don’t need more plastic in our environment.
  • The soil underneath will be polluted for years to come.
  • Artificial turf can be toxic to the environment and wildlife.
  • Artificial turf does not absorb, filter or provide any benefits to water/hydrology.

The use of native grasses and plants require less water and have huge wildlife benefits—specifically for bees and butterflies. Native species do not require cutting and are beautiful. We simply need to get used to the new look.

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