Tree Canopy

We recently conducted a survey to gauge which issues are of most concern to local area residents.

We heard, loud and clear, that you care about our tree canopy and are concerned about preserving it. 64 per cent of you are concerned about the loss of trees in Cabbagetown. This very clear majority is understandable given the recent ice storm, which wreaked havoc on trees across Toronto.

We share your concern.

That’s why we’re working closely with a new non-profit organization, Cabbagetown Releaf to promote a larger, healthier urban forest through community planting, tree care, tree protection, education, and advocacy.

You can get involved by:

– Calling 311 if you see a tree that has been damaged or is in need of pruning.
– Protecting the critically important roots of your trees – Avoid digging, tilling or excavating near trees.
Planting a tree! It costs nothing and will add beauty to our neighbourhood and increase your property value!
Becoming a Cabbagetown ReLeaf Tree Steward – you’ll meet lots of likeminded people and help raise awareness of local urban forest issues.

The steps you take today – no matter how small – will benefit our tree canopy for years to come.

Cabbagetown and the Emerald Ash Borer
The province’s ash trees are succumbing to the emerald ash borer, a highly destructive insect. As a result, the City of Toronto estimates that most ash trees in Toronto will be killed by 2015-2017. Some streets will lose nearly their entire canopy. In Cabbagetown, we’re fortunate to have a diverse canopy, but individual residents will be negatively impacted.

Ash trees of all ages are susceptible and it takes about two to three years for the tree to die. It’s hard to identify but signs of infestation include a thinning canopy, the growth of suckers at the base, ‘D’ shaped exit holes, cracks in the bark, and feasting woodpeckers. For more information on the emerald ash borer, please click here.

What Can Be Done?
It’s possible to protect the tree with the application of a pesticide called TreeAzin ( To reduce the cost of treatment, residents could try to join with neighbours. (Treatment has to be repeated every second year, likely in perpetuity). Prevent the spread of the disease by not transporting firewood outside the region. If you think your city tree is infected, please call 311. For private trees, residents can get exemptions from the 15cm diameter bylaw for removal by an arborist.

Q: I’m interested in planting a new tree. How should I go about doing that?
A: The City of Toronto Urban Forestry Branch plants trees on City street allowances fronting residential properties free of charge.
For more information regarding a free tree on City property, please call the City at 311, or click here

Q: When will my tree be planted?
A: Trees are planted in the spring and fall. Scheduling is dependant on when your request is received by the City, and the availability of the selected species.

Q: And what about my backyard?
A: LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the urban forest.
LEAF offers a full service backyard tree planting program to all residents of the City of Toronto.
The approximate cost per tree is $140 to $200 and includes a site consultation in your yard with a certified arborist, a five to eight foot tall tree and full planting service.
Native shrubs are also available for approximately $25 each (includes delivery and mulch; planting is $20 extra per shrub).
For more information on LEAF, click here

Q: I’ve notice that a City tree is damaged/limb is down. What should I do?
A: The City of Toronto’s Urban Forestry Branch is responsible for maintaining approximately 600,000 City owned street trees and 4 million trees in parks, ravines and natural areas. Therefore, if you notice a tree or limb down in the neighbourhood, it’s a good idea to call the City at 311 and let them know.
Simply dial 311 – City Staff are available seven days a week / 24 hours a day, and will put in a service request with the Urban Forestry Branch. In the event of storm-related damage, these requests are typically handled within 72 hours.
You can also contact 311 if you notice a tree has been damaged or needs attention. These maintenance requests are typically dealt with in eight weeks.

Q: What are some things I can do to help ensure the health of my tree?
A: You can do the following:
1. Plant the right tree in the right place
2. Water regularly
3. Avoid tying, nailing or attaching anything to trees
4. Protect the trunk by ensuring lawn mowers and weed whackers are kept away.
5. Avoid the use of de-icing salt in the winter (or use as little as possible)
6. Protect the roots – Avoid digging, tilling or excavating near trees
7. Watch for early signs of stress (weak foliage, visible signs of pests or disease)
8. Avoid chemical pesticides and fertilizers
9. Do not prune without knowing proper techniques – even better, consult a certified arborist.
10. Add mulch regularly to help keep in moisture and add nutrients to the soil.
Source: LEAF. For more information, click here

Q: What are the current bylaws and policies with respect to trees in Toronto?
A: Urban Forestry policies are in place in order to ensure that the City of Toronto achieves its goal in the area of urban forestry management of a sustainable urban forest.
Urban Forestry bylaws regulate the injury and destruction of trees on both City and privately owned land. For more information, click here

Q: Didn’t find your answer on this website?
A: Check out the City of Toronto’s FAQ, which is available online here

And finally, did you know?…Trees provide many benefits – they:
1. Increase property values
2. Add living beauty to Toronto’s neighbourhoods
3. Reduce cooling and heating costs
4. Filter air pollution
5. Generate oxygen, absorb CO2, So2and other harmful pollutants
6. Cool streets and provide shade in the summer and protect us from winds in the winter
7. Reduce storm water run-off and cost of water treatment
8. Provide habitat for birds and other fauna
Source: The City of Toronto’s Urban Forestry Branch