Alberta city asks residents to harvest the fruit trees they asked for

Lethbridge is asking its citizens to pick the fruit from the trees the city planted, based on requests from some of those same citizens.

'Sidewalks become messy and it becomes actually dangerous,' says Lethbridge parks manager

Lethbridge is asking residents to pick fruit from trees that were planted based on requests from residents. (Submitted by City of Lethbridge)

Lethbridge, Alta., is asking its citizens to pick the fruit from the trees the city planted, based on requests from some of those same citizens.

"This was kind of a pressure brought on us by citizens to provide pickable fruit trees in the trees we plant in our parks, so we went ahead with it," Kevin Jensen told The Homestretch on Wednesday.

He's the manager of parks operations and says some of those trees that were planted four years ago need some love.

"We have some fruit trees like crabapples planted along boulevards in front of people's houses, and the sidewalks become messy and it becomes actually dangerous," Jensen said.

Not crazy about granny's crabapple jelly

Overall, though, he says the pilot project — called Edible Orchard — has been a success. About 400 trees were planted.

"We are not the Okanagan Valley, so all of that stuff has to be hardy. Most of the stuff we have is more suitable for canning and preserves than eating. There's apple trees, several varieties and a good size.

"We also have crabapple trees, which my grandmother used to make into jellies and jams, but I was never really that crazy about it," he said, with a laugh.

"We have some Nanking cherry-style bushes, we have some Saskatoon berries. Just your regular kind of berry bushes that grow around here."

Another upside? They are not managed with pesticides.

"We don't use pesticides, we have a regular pruning program every couple of years, basically, so there are not weak and diseased branches on them," Jensen said.

The city says some of the trees along boulevards can make a mess if they're not harvested. It can even be dangerous. (Submitted by City of Lethbridge)

'Look real pretty for a few weeks'

And they're nice to look at, at least for a period of time, he says.

"Fruit trees flower quite vigorously so they look real pretty for a few weeks in the spring. Then if they are in a buffer strip or a park, the fruit falling to the ground doesn't really bother anybody. It's just on the boulevards where it could be a problem."

With files from The Homestretch


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