Installing a Vegetative Buffer at Singh Valley Farm

Singh Valley Farm, in Abbotsford, BC, grows several acres of blueberries. Kulwant Singh purchased the farm five years ago after working on various farms in the area, including his sisters. Through the BC Blueberry Council, Kulwant connected with Major Dhillon –his Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) Planning Advisor.

With Major’s assistance, and experience in the highbush blueberry industry, Singh Valley Farm completed their Environmental Farm Plan in 2019. While completing the EFP, Major provided Kulwant with a wealth of information, including details on projects he could undertake that would be beneficial for both his farm and the environment. One of these suggestions was to install a shelterbelt around the farm to reduce pesticide drift onto the road and neighbouring properties.

In late 2022, Singh Valley Farm had a Vegetative Buffer Plan completed to determine the scope and location of the work. While determining what types of shrubs to plant for catching pesticide drift, Kulwant advocated for English Laurel. This evergreen shrub has dense branches and broad leaves. It is fast growing, easy to prune to shape, and is happy from full shade to full sun. These features make it a very good candidate, additionally, English Laurel has the added benefit of sequestering carbon in its stems and branches as it grows.

In February 2023, once the ground had thawed, planting began. In total 468 English Laurel plants were installed along 1,404 feet of property line.

“Its height goes up to six to eight feet and berries stay below the six feet, because we prune every year. Usually, sprayer nozzles are equal to the berry, and when the wind blows drift won’t pass that Laurel trees because they are thick. In the next few years, they will stop the drift.”
Kulwant Singh Sandhu, Singh Valley Farm

The English Laurel has another superpower – attracting pollinators. These tall thick shrubs burst with columns of small cream flowers in summer, which give way to cherry-like berries in the fall. The flowers attract pollinators with their sweet scent, and the berries that the trees produce are eaten by birds once they are ripe.

“Naturally like a pollination is a major thing in berries so it will be helping in the pollination because the plant attracts the bees and definitely if bees come here, they will sit on the [blueberry] flowers too.”
Kulwant Singh Sandhu, Singh Valley Farm

Although completing the planting in the winter was challenging due to the rain and frozen ground, Kulwant is looking into other BMPs and programs that can support his work on the farm. He is particularly interested in activities that will support pollinators, as he has experience working with bees and wants to again in the future.

“Farmers need to choose something right for them. In my farm they’re [The Beneficial Management Practices Program] providing a variety of plants, which ones I needed.”
Kulwant Singh Sandhu, Singh Valley Farm

Funding for the Environmental Farm Plan and Beneficial Management Practices programs has been provided by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial agreement. Additional funding has been provided by CleanBC and British Columbia’s Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy (CPAS). The program is delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.

If you are interested in learning more about the Environmental Farm Plan and Beneficial Management Practices Programs, please visit: To stay up to date on new programs or announcements, please subscribe to IAF’s Growing Today newsletter.

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