By Kathryn Stocks
You may have noticed a lot of new trees have been planted in Centennial over the past few years, especially along Centennial Road and Charlottetown Blvd. I asked Councillor Jim Hart about this and he said the reason for these plantings is that the city has increased funding for tree planting with a goal to eventually grow the urban tree canopy to 40 percent coverage from the current 30 per cent. Toronto plants more than 100,000 trees and shrubs annually and TRCA also plants trees on TRCA lands within the city.
Here are the questions I asked Jim about the new plantings and his answers:
Q: How have the new trees fared after this dry summer?
A: The trees have fared well due to the fact most are native species and the water bags and decent amount of rainfall.
Q: I hear one was hit by a car on Charlottetown Blvd. Will it be replaced?
A: Urban Forestry generally replants trees in the cooler fall and spring planting seasons so this particular tree should be replaced this fall or next spring depending on forestry’s schedule.
Q: Who waters them and how often? Do those large green bags around them really work?
A:Trees are watered initially at planting and depending on the weather they are watered several times until the roots establish. The green bags do work as they catch dew and rain water that is then slowly released keeping the soil around the tree roots hydrated..
Q: If people have a tree on their boulevard, is it their responsibility to water it?
A: Residents are asked to assist with watering when new trees are planted or during dry spells.
Q: Why are so many trees being planted at this time?
A: For the health and environmental benefits of an increased canopy.
Q: Do many of them die? How soon are they replaced after they die?
A: The average mortality rate is approximately 3 percent, however this can vary dramatically depending on weather, location and soil conditions. Replanting usually occurs within one year.
Q: Is it your responsibility to decide where trees will be planted?
A: Usually we leave locations of plantings to our expert forestry staff. My office does sometimes receives requests from residents and we send these requests to our forestry staff for evaluation.
Q: Who decides which species of tree will be planted? Is the city planting mainly native trees?
A: Forestry staff determines species and the focus is on planting native species and species that tolerate our climate better. It is also a policy to plant a diverse range of species to limit the spread of disease. Forestry staff will assess individual locations to determine the best species to plant. See this link: www.toronto.ca/data/parks/pdf/trees/street-tree-brochure.pdf
Jim also pointed out that a tree planting at Wanita Park is scheduled for the fall. If we don’t hear the date by the time this paper goes to print, we’ll put the information on our website. Or you can watch out for it on this link: https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/water-environment/trees/tree-planting/