As we return to Chipps’ Tree Care’s online sightseeing trip through the River Valley System, our next destination is Riverdale. And no, we aren’t talking about the small town that sets the scene of Netflix’s teen crime show based on the Archie comics. Our next stop in our virtual tour will take us to the north shores of the river, between 92 and 94 Street NW.
It’s nestled at the base of the historic Riverdale community found just east of the downtown core. It was first developed in the late 1700s when fur traders were setting up their home base near Fort Edmonton. By the late 1800s, it was a booming industrial area with many of the city’s biggest coal mines, lumber mills, and brick yards set up within its borders.
Very few of the original houses remain, but the area retains its historic character with winding, picturesque streets lined with towering trees. It’s an area of Edmonton that’s known for its strong community ties, and the park is an important meeting place for many of its members. The Riverdale House and Community Hall are two facilities within its borders that host special events, meetings, and seminars. They’re also used as the location of yoga and dance classes.
Though relatively small compared to the other parks we’ve explored in our series, Riverdale has a loop of paved trails that takes you along well-manicured grasses and wild flowers. Taking this pathway will bring you along the riverbank, where there’s an opportunity to fish during the warmer weather. You can also continue west along the banks to Louise McKinney Park.
The majority of the tress in Riverdale is clustered around the green, in particular around the Community Hall. You’ll find a mixture of coniferous and deciduous species, including the Amur Chokecherry. These ornamental trees are especially beautiful at this time of year as its white flowers blossom. Be sure to take a closer look and note the colour of its bark. The Chokecherry is known for its amber or copper-orange trunk, a striking colour that offsets the bright petals.
These trees also produce berries that can be used in juice and preserves, though they may be too bitter to eat fresh. Please take note, its seeds and leaves are not edible as it contains cyanide. Don’t worry — by cooking it down and removing pits, you’ll avoid any dangers these berries may hold. In fact, chokecherry berries have a long tradition as a medicinal remedy for colds and sore throats.
Most of Alberta is struggling with Black Knot Disease in many of its Chokecherries, including Edmonton. The destructive fungal infection disfigures branches with black, lumpy growths that can infect Chokecherries and other trees in the Prunus genus. That includes Maydays, apricot, and plum trees.
If left unattended, Black Knot Disease will take over until it severely stunts the tree’s growth, so it’s important to address possible infections as soon as possible. While the City of Edmonton employs a crew of dedicated arborists to keep an eye on their Chokecherries, you have us to perform an assessment of the trees on your property.
If you suspect your Chokecherry may be infected, call us right away. We’ll send out a consultant to confirm the disease is present and establish a quick solution that fits with your schedule and budget. We’ll also make sure the other trees on your property are healthy and ready to face the season, so pick up the phone at the first sign of trouble!