Planting a tree in your yard is one of the easiest ways to build climate change resilience in your community. Trees clean air and water, and support birds and insects. They also add beauty and colour to your property, provide cooling shade in summer and act as a windbreak in winter.
There’s space in most yards to plant a tree. You don’t need a big space and it doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s time to dispel some common myths about planting trees in urban spaces and provide tips for planting one on your property.
Plant the right tree in the right place
If it’s a small yard, planting a tree is a great way to enhance your property without compromising space. This may sound counter-intuitive but as your new tree grows, you’ll soon be able to walk beneath its branches to enjoy the relaxing space and cooling shade it provides. A northern red oak is a great choice for any yard and supports over 500 insects that attract and feed birds.
Know your roots
Trees can grow majestically tall, so it’s easy to think their roots must extend powerfully and deeply into the soil. But most tree roots are thin and fibrous. They grow horizontally within the top 50 centimetres of soil, spreading up to two to three times the length of the tree canopy. These thin roots are searching for water and nutrients. They’re not attracted to the dry ground around your home’s foundation and are most likely to grow alongside your foundation rather than into it. That said, if there are cracks in your foundation from water damage, roots may grow into these cracks. Ensure the tree’s foundation is properly waterproofed to protect surrounding structures.
Plant a tree in your price range
Planting a tree doesn’t have to be expensive. Typically, the cost of a tree increases with its size. Choose a young, two- to five-gallon sized locally native tree like northern red oak, Freeman’s maple or smooth serviceberry and enjoy watching it grow. Smaller trees are less likely to suffer from “transplant shock” or the stress of being planted into a new environment. Properly caring for your newly planted tree is the best way to help it take root and thrive.
- Watch: How to plant a new tree or shrub
- Watch: How to water your new tree
- Watch: How to mulch for healthy trees
Get a free tree
Homeowners in eligible neighbourhoods in the watershed can request a free tree or shrub that CVC’s home planting team will deliver and help plant. Find out if you live in one of our current delivery neighbourhoods .
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By CVC’s Calantha Elsby, Specialist, Environmental Outreach