Plant and Mulch Rebate Programs

Using native and drought-tolerant plants and permeable mulch in your home landscaping can save you time and money as your yard will require less watering and fertilizer.
Mulch Rebate

Click on a title below to learn more.

The 2019 Plant Rebate Program is now closed.

Please check back in Spring 2020 for program updates.

About Plants

What is a native plant and what are its benefits?

A native plant is one that occurs naturally in Central Alberta. Native plants are adapted to our local environmental conditions, meaning that they are better able to thrive in Red Deer’s soil types, as well as our cold winters and hot summers. They are also often pest and disease-resistant.

What is a drought-tolerant plant and what are its benefits?

A drought-tolerant plant is one that can withstand periods of dryness and high temperatures with minimal irrigation. Drought-tolerant plants may be native or non-native.

Why select native or drought-tolerant plants?

  • Lower maintenance – native plants are adapted to the local conditions and require fewer inputs like fertilizer and water in order to thrive.
  • Conserve water – native and drought-tolerant plants can withstand periods of dryness and high temperature, meaning less water is needed for irrigation. Applying mulch around the plants will further help to conserve water.
  • Support local wildlife biodiversity – native wildlife depends on native plants for providing food and habitat.
  • Prevents stormwater pollution – fewer inputs likes fertilizers and pesticides are used, prevent stormwater pollution.

How to select the right plants for my yard

  • Rebates are only provided for the purchase of plants that are identified on the City of Red Deer qualifying plants list. This list includes plants that adapt well to Red Deer’s local conditions and that are low maintenance.
  • When selecting plants and designing your yard consider the following:
  • Location: does the location get full sun, partial shade, or lots of shade?
  • Spacing: some plants grow high or spread out wide, plan the planting area for plant full maturity size.
  • Soil texture: Red Deer’s soil can range from black loam to heavy clay. Consider adding mulch, compost, or conditioners (like manure, sand and perlite) to improve drainage and growing conditions.
  • Soil pH and nutrient levels: some plants have specific pH and nutrient requirements. Select plants that can grow well in your soil’s current conditions. You may also work to adjust the pH and nutrient levels by using amendments like lime, compost, and slow-release organic fertilizers.
  • Climate: how hot and dry does your yard get during the growing season?

How to care for my plants

  • Applying mulch around your plants has multiple benefits, including conserving water, preventing weed growth, preventing soil erosion, and improving soil quality. Apply a layer of 2 to 4 inches of mulch, approximately 3 inches from the base of the plant. Apply for a mulch rebate today (see below).
  • Native and drought-tolerant plants require more water during their first year, to ensure that the root system is strongly established. Water 1-2 times per week spring and fall months, and 2-3 times per week during the summer months of July and August. Use rainwater to water your plants. Apply for a rain barrel rebate today.
The 2019 Mulch Rebate Program is now closed.

Please check back in Spring 2020 for program updates.

About Mulch

What is mulch?

Mulch is material that is put over exposed soil as a protective covering. Mulch can be applied over your garden beds and around plants, shrubs and trees.

Why only approved plants and permeable mulch?

Using permeable materials, such as bark nuggets and wood chips, for mulch in home landscape design helps to conserve water, prevent flooding, erosion and stormwater pollution, control weed growth, moderate soil temperature, and improve overall soil quality.

Likewise, using drought-tolerant and native plants in landscape design aids in water conservation, lower maintenance, supports biodiversity and prevents stormwater pollution.

Why use mulch?

  • Conserve water – mulch slows evaporation and helps soil retain moisture, which means watering less often.
  • Prevents flooding – by improving soil’s ability to retain moisture, mulch also helps prevent floods during heavy rainfall events.
  • Prevents erosion and stormwater pollution – mulch helps protect your topsoil from being washed away by rain and wind. This also helps prevent your topsoil from being washed into storm drains and polluting the river.
  • Control weed growth - mulch deprives weed seeds of light to help keep them from sprouting and gaining energy to push through the mulch
  • Moderate soil temperature – mulch insulates the soil - and therefore your plants - from extreme hot and cold
  • Improves soil quality – over time mulch materials such as cardboard, grass clippings, leaves and wood chips will break down and add to soil structure, thereby helping to reduce compaction, retain moisture and provide necessary nutrients to plants

How to use mulch

  • Though you can apply mulch anytime, a good time to apply new mulch in the spring when ground has thawed but isn’t waterlogged.
  • Weed beds thoroughly before applying mulch; putting mulch over existing weeds won’t necessarily smother them. If you know the space is filled with weed seeds or perennial roots, cover it with a layer of plain cardboard, newspaper or biodegradable fabric and top it with more visually appealing mulch.
  • Apply between two and four inches of mulch. You need that much to get the benefits, but more than four inches can deprive soil of oxygen, which is bad for your plants’ roots and for the beneficial microbes living in the soil.
  • Keep mulch at least three inches away from the base of any plant, shrub or tree. “Mulch volcanoes” around the bases can lead to problems with insect and rodent infestation, and excess build-up of material and moisture around the base of the plant which can lead to tree trunk and plant crown rot.
  • Turn decayed mulch into the soil with a tool like a garden weasel or a pitchfork before reapplying new mulch to avoid compaction and build soil.
  • Replenish mulch as needed to keep it between two and four inches deep.
  • Dampen the mulch if it is at risk of blowing away.
  • Ensure that mulch is not installed close to the street or alley way. Mulch may run off during heavy rainfall or wind events, entering and clogging storm drains and polluting the Red Deer River.
Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I purchase Plants and Mulch?

Both plants and mulch are available at most home and garden centres.

Mulch created from diverted evergreen branches is available for purchase at the Waste Management Facility located at 1709 – 40 Avenue.

How much water do mulch and native/drought-tolerant plants save?

It is estimated that approximately 7,600 L of water could be saved for every home that participates in either the mulch or plant rebates. This accounts for approximately 11 per cent of the average resident’s annual water use.

Why do before and after photos have to be taken?

Mulch that qualifies for a rebate must be used for the purpose of:

  • Conserving water in a landscaped area
  • Reducing erosion and stormwater pollution

Before and after photos demonstrate that the mulch was applied as landscaping or groundcover, rather than for cosmetic purposes.

Native/drought-tolerant plants that qualify for rebates must be used for the purpose of conserving water in a landscaped area. Before and after photos demonstrate that the plants were planted directly in the yard, rather than in pots or planters.

Why is there a qualifying plants list?

The qualifying plants list was developed to ensure that only non-invasive plants are purchased and planted. The list includes native and drought-tolerant plants that The City has determined grow well under local conditions and support the water conservation and water quality protection goals of the program.

Why can’t I receive a rebate for mulch or plants that were purchased prior to 2019?

There is a limited annual budget. Each year has its own budget and we want to ensure that as many residents have the opportunity to participate as possible.

How many rebates can I get?

Maximum one (1) Plant Rebate and one (1) Mulch Rebate per utility account is permitted.

Can residents who don’t have a utility account apply?

No. Only utility account holders may apply. The name of the applicant must match the name associated with the utility account.

Why can’t I receive a rebate if I don’t have a utility account?

The City provides the rebate as a credit on the utility account for the property. The City does not mail out cheques. In some cases, residents who do not pay their own utility account may wish to approach the utility account owner (property manager, landlord) to make an arrangement to obtain reimbursement for the rebates. The City does not have any authority over this action.

How many rebates are available?

Funding is available for approximately 100 rebates in 2019. Rebates are issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

How long will it take for my rebate to be processed?

A credit will be applied to your utility account within 8-12 weeks.

If I live in a condo association, do I still qualify for a rebate?

As long as you have a utility account, you qualify for both rebates. However, please speak with your condo association to ensure you are able to do your own landscaping.

Can I have the money instead of a credit on my account?

No. There is no cash back option.