Today we braved the snowy weather to officially recognize and thank the Ontario Trillium Foundation for the Seed Grant we received in 2017. It is through this grant that we have been able to pilot the subsidized Oakville Backyard Tree Planting Program (launched last fall), so we are extremely grateful for all the support that OTF has provided us.
The Oakville Backyard Tree Planting Program is being delivered through a partnership between Oakvillegreen and LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests), a Toronto-based non-profit that has been planting trees in backyards for over 20 years. Through the Full-Service program, homeowners receive a consultation in their yard with a certified arborist, a 5 to 8 foot tall native tree, delivery, planting service and tree care information for a subsidized price. There is also a Do-It-Yourself version for those that want to get their hands dirty. Plus, the program is also suitable for private property owned by multi-units and businesses! To learn more and sign up for the program, you can visit www.yourleaf.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are currently accepting applications for our spring season so sign up ASAP – the program is first-come, first-served!
For today’s event, we gathered at the home of Peggy and Scott, who were the first recipients of a backyard tree during the program’s first season last fall. We were joined by MPP Kevin Flynn, Mayor Rob Burton, councillors Tom Adams, Nick Hutchins and Dave Gittings, Cindy Toth, Director of Environmental Policy at the Town of Oakville, LEAF Field Operations Coordinator Brenna Anstett, as well as Oakvillegreen staff and board members.
Before presenting Oakvillegreen with the Ontario Trillium Foundation plaque, MPP Kevin Flynn expressed his excitement about the new program:
“Our beautiful tree canopy is a vital source of life and beauty for all of us living in Oakville […] On behalf of all the residents of Oakville, I thank OTF for funding this impactful project and I thank LEAF and Oakvillegreen Conservation Association for your fantastic work. All of us look forward to a greener future, confident that more residents will be working towards the protection, care and regeneration of our treasured urban forest.”
We also heard from Giuliana (Oakvillegreen executive director) and Karen (Oakvillegreen board president) about how this program will help Oakville reach its 40 percent urban canopy cover goal by encouraging tree planting on private property.
“Private property accounts for 60 percent of Oakville’s plantable green space, so this program is a really important step towards the town’s canopy cover goals,” Karen said.
Giuliana added, “Planting trees through this program will improve air quality, store carbon, support native pollinators and wildlife, and enhance human health!”
Mayor Rob Burton also expressed how happy he was that the town will now be supporting the program as well, and remarked on how the green movement has grown in Oakville over the last two decades.
Despite the chill, everyone was in high spirits as they pitched in to provide the new tree with a fresh ring of mulch for the spring season. Our guests then had a chance to mingle, enjoy some refreshments and ask questions about the program.
We’d like to say another big thank you to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for their support, and to everyone who came out in the snow today to celebrate with us!
Myth: Trees are a safety hazard during storms.
With the devastating ice storm of December 2013 still fresh in our minds, it’s understandable that many people are concerned about the dangers of trees during storms. The good news is that there are many ways to minimize the risks of tree-related injuries and damage, so that you can enjoy the benefits of having a tree without the worry.
Trees tend to become hazardous when they are unhealthy, or when they are not properly pruned and maintained. However, trees that are well looked after are much less likely to break or fall during stormy weather. Healthy trees can actually be an asset when it comes to storm management by mitigating climate change and intercepting stormwater.
The best time to start tree hazard prevention is actually before you plant it. Trees often cause damage when a branch (or entire tree) falls on an overhead wire or other structure. So, when it comes time to plant your tree, take the time to look around and identify wires, poles and other structures. Also, consider how large your tree is going to be down the road. Then, make sure you plant the tree well away from wires and buildings so that if a branch does break, it’s not going to cause a power outage or damage your property. The LEAF Backyard Tree Planting Program provides all participants with a consultation with a certified arborist who can help recommend ideal planting locations.
Calling on a certified arborist to prune your tree while it’s young can also increase its strength and resilience in storms. An arborist can use proper pruning practices to remove weak branch connections, improve your tree’s structure, and distribute the weight of the canopy so that there is less chance of branches breaking during high winds or ice storms. Properly pruning young trees can also minimize the need for further pruning down the road.
Furthermore, when trees are stressed, they can become especially vulnerable to pests that may reduce their structural strength. This increases the chance of branch or trunk breakage. You can help reduce tree stress by ensuring your tree has adequate water (particularly when it’s young) and mulching it in a donut shape around the base to provide nutrients and reduce weed competition. Keeping an eye on your tree for signs of stress or disease, and consulting a certified arborist regarding any concerns, can help you take steps to prevent further damage or eliminate any existing hazards, like dead branches. In some cases, a tree may really be too dangerous to keep around – an arborist can help you decide if it needs to be removed.
If treated well and monitored regularly, trees can bring you tons of benefits and actually work to reduce hazards. Trees intercept and absorb rainwater to prevent runoff during storms, which reduces flooding (a safety hazard itself!). By storing carbon dioxide, trees are also working to minimize the increase in extreme weather events caused by climate change. For these reasons, a well-looked after, healthy tree actually does more to prevent hazards than produce them!
So why not get your very own backyard tree from LEAF at www.yourleaf.org? Optional 5-year maintenance packages are available when you purchase your tree, plus LEAF staff are always happy to respond to any concerns you may have about your tree and recommend additional professional help if necessary to make sure your tree stays strong and healthy throughout its lifetime. Visit our Oakville Backyard Tree Planting Program page for more details.
Spring has finally sprung! It’s time to think about creating habitat for bees and butterflies in your yard! We have THREE great options to help you purchase and plant native trees, shrubs and pollinator plants.
1. Oakvillegreen’s Native Tree, Shrub and Pollinator Garden Kit Sale is Back:
Help pollinators and the urban forest in Oakville by purchasing via Our Store today!
We have over 20 species of native trees and shrubs, 2 kinds of native milkweed and our Pollinator Garden Kits for sale.
Our Pollinator Garden Kits (LARGE or SMALL) are an ecologist-approved collection of Halton-native plants and shrubs that will beautify your yard and support a variety of bees, butterflies and birds!
LARGE Pollinator Garden Kits contain 3 shrubs (2-3 gal pots), 25 perennials (5″ plugs and 1 gal pots) and cover approximately 40 sq. ft. $250
SMALL Pollinator Garden Kist contain 2 shrubs (2-3 gal pots), 15 perennials (5″ plugs and 1 gal pots) and cover approximately 25 sq. ft. $150
Order by April 30th, 2018. Pick up your order on May 12th from 9am – 12noon at 1100 Cornwall Rd.
2. LEAF Native Garden Kits and Native Shrub Bundles are Available for Delivery in Oakville:
This spring, because of our partnership with LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests), Oakville residents can order LEAF’s native garden kits and shrub bundles to be delivered to their door! LEAF offers a variety of different native garden kits, including a Butterfly Kit, a Songbird Kit, a Native Bee Kit and a Shade Thriving Kit. All kits include perennials and shrubs and come in small ($145) and large ($265) sizes. LEAF also offers 5 different native shrub bundles: Edible Bundles, Native Bee Bundles, Songbird Bundles, Small Yard Bundles and Privacy Bundles. The bundles include 4 shrubs and are $100 including delivery. Visit https://www.yourleaf.org/shrubs-garden-kits-and-pawpaws to order.
3. Oakville Backyard Tree Planting Program:
You can also have native trees (and shrubs) planted in your yard for a subsidized cost through the Oakville Backyard Tree Planting Program. The service includes a yard consultation with an arborist, a 5 to 8 foot native tree, delivery and planting service. The full service costs $150-$220, or you can sign up for the Do-It-Yourself program, which costs $100-$170.
Visit LEAF to sign up for the program.