Targeted management: Intervene less, but more effectively
Targeted management involves intervening less often in certain parts of the Garden, taking account of the plants’ needs and the use of the space in question. Lawns, for instance, are usually mowed short on a regular basis. This method leads to less species diversity, encourages dandelions and ragweed, and translates into higher maintenance costs. When grass is mowed less frequently, the plant cover is more diversified and more resistant to drought and insect pests.
In addition to encouraging biodiversity, improving the landscape quality and the health of green spaces, this is an effective way of combating many kinds of invasive plants. This new approach is attractive from both ecological and economic viewpoints.
Targeted management at the Montréal Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden’s targeted management plan, established in winter 2012, concerns mainly the lawns in the Arboretum and around the ponds. A number of pilot projects now underway are directly inspired by this approach: a strip around the ponds is being naturalized, the lawns in some parts of the Arboretum are mowed less frequently, and a flowery meadow has been planted. Sites will be chosen and landscaped with special care to make sure that the more natural-looking areas do not appear out of place next to other gardens requiring more intensive maintenance.
Right plant, right place
Choosing the right plants can have a considerable impact on a garden’s maintenance requirements. They must first be selected according to the site conditions (sun, soil type, space available, etc.). Native species adapt well and need no special care, so we tend to use them in areas that receive limited maintenance. More demanding species in terms of watering, fertilization and pruning are grown together in certain areas. Diversity in plant groupings is also an important consideration in choosing species, as it helps limit the Garden’s susceptibility to insect pests.