Evaluating resources

How can you evaluate information you find on the Internet? If you have a solid understanding of how plants and soil function, it's relatively simple to dismiss the really unusual advice but sometimes it's not so easy to tell what is reliable. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Consider location: Advice that comes from geographic areas with different soils and climates may not work well on the Prairies.
  • Consider the source: Has the information been researched and tested? Is the information from informed subject experts? If searching the Internet, add the terms “.edu” or “.gov” to your search term to find research-based sources. Be wary of sources that offer lifestyle suggestions as sometimes they give advice that may not be the most efficient or effective.
  • Consider the audience: Is the information intended for commercial growers or for home gardeners? The needs of commercial growers differ from home gardeners.
  • Consider local research: Contact your nearest university, horticultural association, or local experts for information and advice.

Below you'll find some of our favorite resources. If you have some you'd like to share with us, let us know at gardening@usask.ca.

Resources useful for everyone

For most applications, you'll need to know the square footage of your space. You can either measure it and calculate it, which we recommend for smaller spaces such as flower beds, or you can use a GIS mapping application, zoom in on a satellite image of your space and let the software do it for you. Either way, if you're going for an accurate lawn area, make sure you subtract the area the home and outbuildings occupy for an accurate assessment.


Lawn Fertilizer Calculator

Mulch Calculator

Number of Plants Calculator Metric and Imperial

Sample Garden Math Problems

Soil Amendment Calculator Metric or Imperial

Useful Equivalents in Floriculture

Canadian Forest Service Publications for catalogue of tree diseases and disorders

City of Saskatoon Tree Pests and Diseases

International Society of Arboriculture Tree Owner Information for detailed tree care information. The best are pulled below:

Iowa State Interactive Tree Identification Key note not all trees are hardy here but it should get you close

North Dakota State University Key to Diagnosing Tree Problems Using Injury Symptoms similar hardiness zones to Canadian Prairies

Northern Ontario Plant Database for a list of Northern Ontario Tree Descriptions

The Western Nursery Grower's Group Prairie Tested Trees for a list of tested, Prairie hardy tree cultivars

USDA: The Tree Owner's Manual - comprehensive information