Trees for healthy urban yards

White spruce tree branch

Trees are service providers. They offer cooling shade, clean our air and water, sequester carbon and provide birds, insects and other small animals with food and shelter. They are one of the best tools for restoring our ecosystems and reducing the effects of climate change.

Plant one of these top urban trees in your yard to help keep your neighbourhood healthy, resilient, and vibrant.

White spruce
Choose this native evergreen for year-round privacy and shelter for birds. Its green needles will brighten your yard, while its branches offer protection from wind. Nuthatches and finches flock to white spruce for the seeds found in its small, brown cones. This hardy conifer grows in most soils and can be planted alone or in a grouping.

Paper birch
Let paper birch help you reduce energy costs. The trembling green leaves of a mature tree will shade your property in summer. After turning brilliant gold in fall, the leaves drop to let the sun warm your home through winter. Its distinctive white peeling bark will also add visual interest to your yard throughout the seasons.

Tree swallows and black-capped chickadees build nests within its cavities. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers drill holes in the tree’s thin bark to extract its tasty sap.

Smooth serviceberry
Great for small yards, smooth serviceberry grows only three metres tall, but works as hard as any other tree. Abundant white blooms appear at the start of the season, attracting early pollinators. By summer, its berries ripen to a deep purple and are devoured by birds like robins and waxwings.

This versatile tree can be planted as a small tree or as a multi-stem shrub. It grows best in full sun to partial shade and adapts well to a variety of soils.

Discover the benefits your trees provide using the National Tree Benefits calculator. Maximize those benefits by planting another!

Photo CC BY-SA 2.0 Joshua Mayer

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