Call Before You Cut

Jennifer Jarvis, Stakeholder Communications and Marketing Advisor

Municipalities are responsible for developing their own by-laws. Your municipality may have passed by-laws that determine if you can remove a tree from your land or woodlot. These by-laws may include conditions that affect how you carry out the work, including the need for a qualified professional and/or a permit to complete the work.

jarvis-article-removing-some-logs-smTree protection by-laws and the requirement for permits, including the types of conditions within them, can differ between municipalities. Save yourself from costly fines or legal fees – talk to your municipality first before removing trees. In areas where there is an upper-tier municipality, you may need to talk to both the upper-tier and the lower- tier municipality.

Municipal authority for tree protection by-laws is outlined in the Municipal Act, 2001, administered by the Minister of Municipal Affairs. As a starting point, refer to sections 135-141 of the Municipal Act for more information about the powers of municipalities respecting tree cutting by-laws.

The Municipal Act does not explicitly provide exemptions for agriculture. Municipalities, however, commonly include exemptions in their by-laws for horticultural operations, such as:

  • Commercial fruit and nut orchards
  • Christmas tree production
  • Commercial tree nurseries
  • Commercial sugar bush and maple syrup operations

Visit the Ontario Woodlot Association’s website for additional information.

Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Nutrient Application: Timing Matters

Jennifer Jarvis, Stakeholder Communications and Marketing Advisor

There’s a right time for everything.

Every year, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) receives calls about winter spreading. Long, cold winters that come after a wet fall and/or late harvest tend to make winter spreading more common. However, spreading on frozen or snow covered ground, on saturated soil or before major rain events is not a good practice, even if storages are full.

Spreading at the wrong time increases the likelihood of nutrient loss and runoff. Nutrient runoff not only pollutes lakes and rivers, it can also decrease your profits. Lost nutrients have to be replaced from another source, and additional commercial fertilizers cost money. Instead, apply at the best possible time to increase your profits while minimizing harmful environmental impacts. Apply nutrients when soil conditions allow crops to use the nutrients – just before planting or when crops are actively growing is best.

There are specific rules for applying nutrients if your farm is required to have a Nutrient Management Plan under the Nutrient Management Act. These rules apply between December 1 to March 31, and at any other time when the ground is frozen or snow covered. Frozen means there is five centimetres (cm) of frozen moisture in the top 15 cm of soil, and snow covered means soil has a layer of snow on the surface with an average minimum depth of five cm. Depending on the type of nutrients, these rules could include larger setbacks from surface water, requirements to inject or incorporate the nutrients, and/or only applying on land with lower slopes.

Even if your farm doesn’t require a Nutrient Management Plan, there is other environmental legislation that applies to everyone. Legislation such as the provincial Environmental Protection Act, Ontario Water Resources Act and the federal Fisheries Act contain general rules against the release of nutrients that may harm the environment.

Applying nutrients at the right time is one of the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship: apply nutrients at the right time, from the right source, at the right rate and in the right place. There are a number of methods that can ensure the right timing of nutrient application:

  • Increase your storage capacity if your farm produces liquid manure.
  • If your farm produces solid manure, look at options to store manure in either permanent or temporary storages.
  • Talk to your neighbours about short- and long-term arrangements for additional storage capacity.
  • Look into other operations that may take manure, such as a facility with an anaerobic digester, a mushroom farm or a manure broker.
  • Look at the weather forecast and delay applying if the forecast calls for rain or snow in the 72 hours after you plan to apply.
  • Allow for enough time, equipment and resources to apply at the best time.
  • Make sure application timing is a priority in farm management decisions; don’t leave it until it’s too late.
  • Create a good contingency plan that includes options for poor weather and emergencies.

Visit our website to find our factsheet, “Winter Application of Manure and Other Agricultural Source Materials,” and other resources to help you with storages, contingency planning and knowing the right time to apply. You can also contact the Agricultural Information Contact Centre for more information at 1-877-424-1300 or

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Recent berry research highlights

The Ontario Berry Growers Association has worked closely with the University of Guelph over the years to support research. Here’s a list of recent project results and links to where you can find them in my newsletter, the Ontario Berry Grower.

Runner Removal Increases Albion Yields,  by Becky Hughes, John Zandstra, Toktam Taghavi and Adam Dale, University of Guelph (September 2016)

Growing Raspberries in Tunnels and Greenhouses: basic concepts , by Adam Dale, Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph (March 2016)

Growing Raspberries in Tunnels and Greenhouses: maximizing yield ,  by Adam Dale, Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph (March 2016)

 A Report of Substrate Trials on Day-neutral Strawberries  – by  Toktam Taghavi, University of Guelph, Simcoe (May, 2015)

Developing F1-Hybrid Seed-Propagated Dayneutral Strawberry Cultivars– by Becky Hughes, University of Guelph, New Liskeard Agricultural Research Station (Nov 2015)


Posted in Berries, Strawberries, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A PROPOSAL TO FORM BERRY GROWERS OF ONTARIO: What berry growers need to know

  • This proposal has been carefully developed by the Ontario Berry Growers Association and the Ontario Highbush Blueberry Growers Association.
  • Information on the proposal can be found on the OBGA website at
  • The proposal affects all Ontario growers with 2 acres or more of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.
  • Berry growers are invited to vote on this proposal.
  • The vote is being run by the Ontario Farm Product Marketing Commission.
  • Ballots were mailed to Ontario berry growers during  the last week of October .
  • Voting ends November 14.
  • If you didn’t get a ballot, contact the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission.   (519) 826-5189
  • For information on the proposal contact :

Kevin Schooley,, 613-258-4587

Jenn VanDeVelde,

Steve Kustermans,

  • It is important that you vote.

OBGA Logo_3 Berry

Posted in Berries, Blueberries, Events, Raspberries, Strawberries, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A nectarine by any other name is ….. NOT a peach!

Historically, the following statement appeared at the beginning of the peach calendar in Publication 360: “All products labeled for use on peach can also be used on nectarine.”  During the summer of 2016, an auditor spotted Decis on the spray record of a nectarine grower and flagged it as unregistered.  After a lot of emails, we received confirmation from PMRA that, indeed, if a product label does not specify nectarine or Crop Group 12-09, it is not legal for use on nectarine.

Continue reading

Posted in Insects and Diseases, Nectarines, Peaches, Tender Fruit, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Have you thought about planting a windbreak?


Windbreaks are a great way to reduce soil erosion and increase crop growth on your farm.

  • They reduce wind speeds, which can increase growth of crops for a distance of up to 20 times the height of the trees.
  • The taller the trees and the longer the windbreak, the greater the area the windbreak will protect: wind speeds can be reduced upwind for a distance up to five times the height of the trees, and downwind for a distance of up to fifteen times the height of the trees.
  • Combine a windbreak with other conservation best practices, such as conservation tillage, crop residue management and cover crops, and you’ll obtain optimal wind erosion control.

View original post 332 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Are you waste wise?


Disposing of non-nutrient agricultural waste responsibly needs to be a year-round effort.

Burning and burying non-nutrient agricultural waste can pollute the air, contaminate water and can have other potential harmful impacts on the environment, which can harm people and livestock. Consider recycling or reusing your waste instead – recycling and reuse not only lowers your dump costs, it can also help you keep your property waste-free, and protects your soil and local drinking water supplies.

View original post 212 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment