Tree Planting Strategy

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Background

Putting Down Roots for the Future is the City of Ottawa’s 20-year strategic Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP). Ottawa’s urban forest includes all trees and their habitat on both public and private property. The plan was passed by Council in June 2017 and provides a comprehensive long-term vision and strategic direction for Ottawa’s urban forest. The plan includes twenty-six recommendations and is broken down into five 4-year management periods. These management periods guide the City’s work towards achieving the vision, principles, and objectives for the urban forest. The first management period spanned from 2018-2022 and focused on themes of tree protection, data collection, and improving tree retention through policy implementation. Themes were addressed through work on the tree by-law review and the enactment of the new Tree Protection By-law, Tree Canopy Assessment, Ottawa’s Tree Inventory, and improvements to policy implementation through internal engagement.

Project Overview

The UFMP is currently in its second management period, spanning from 2023-2027. Themes for the second management period are tree planting, tree maintenance, and community outreach and engagement. The feature project of the second management period is the creation of a Tree Planting Strategy for Ottawa. This project will help move the City towards the new urban canopy cover target of 40% by shifting the approach to tree planting from reactive to proactive. The Tree Planting Strategy will include:

  • Evaluating existing planting programs

  • Developing new planting programs to deliver tree planting in priority areas and beyond

  • Creating a tool to prioritize tree planting in the areas of the city that need it the most

  • Assessing funding opportunities

  • Creating planting guidelines

  • Better integration for tree planting considerations into City initiatives across the corporation

The equitable distribution of tree canopy will be a guiding principle applied to all work under the Tree Planting Strategy. This approach will address neighbourhood-level gaps in the urban forest by considering canopy cover, socio-economic factors, and health data when selecting locations for new plantings.

The strategy will be rolled out incrementally, allowing for faster implementation of new and revised programs, and ultimately getting more trees planted in priority areas quickly. Staff will consult on and report back to Council on program changes as they are developed. Early actions will include a redesign of the commemorative tree planting program, a recommendation on moving to proactive right-of-way planting, and recommendations for how a private land planting program could work in Ottawa.

Public Engagement

Staff want to hear from you! Public engagement and outreach on the Tree Planting Strategy are key to fostering a tree-aware culture in Ottawa.

This year, the City will roll out a series of surveys on tree planting in Ottawa. The first survey seeks input on current tree planting programs and ideas for future programs. The first survey includes some more detailed questions on the Commemorative Tree Program. The survey is now live and will run until April 15th. Please fill out the survey below. We look forward to your feedback!

Please stay tuned for future surveys on the other tree planting programs.

Next Steps

Subscribe to receive project updates and stay informed.

More information will be added to this page throughout the strategy development process.

Additional Information

If you have any questions about this project, please contact urbantree@ottawa.ca

Background

Putting Down Roots for the Future is the City of Ottawa’s 20-year strategic Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP). Ottawa’s urban forest includes all trees and their habitat on both public and private property. The plan was passed by Council in June 2017 and provides a comprehensive long-term vision and strategic direction for Ottawa’s urban forest. The plan includes twenty-six recommendations and is broken down into five 4-year management periods. These management periods guide the City’s work towards achieving the vision, principles, and objectives for the urban forest. The first management period spanned from 2018-2022 and focused on themes of tree protection, data collection, and improving tree retention through policy implementation. Themes were addressed through work on the tree by-law review and the enactment of the new Tree Protection By-law, Tree Canopy Assessment, Ottawa’s Tree Inventory, and improvements to policy implementation through internal engagement.

Project Overview

The UFMP is currently in its second management period, spanning from 2023-2027. Themes for the second management period are tree planting, tree maintenance, and community outreach and engagement. The feature project of the second management period is the creation of a Tree Planting Strategy for Ottawa. This project will help move the City towards the new urban canopy cover target of 40% by shifting the approach to tree planting from reactive to proactive. The Tree Planting Strategy will include:

  • Evaluating existing planting programs

  • Developing new planting programs to deliver tree planting in priority areas and beyond

  • Creating a tool to prioritize tree planting in the areas of the city that need it the most

  • Assessing funding opportunities

  • Creating planting guidelines

  • Better integration for tree planting considerations into City initiatives across the corporation

The equitable distribution of tree canopy will be a guiding principle applied to all work under the Tree Planting Strategy. This approach will address neighbourhood-level gaps in the urban forest by considering canopy cover, socio-economic factors, and health data when selecting locations for new plantings.

The strategy will be rolled out incrementally, allowing for faster implementation of new and revised programs, and ultimately getting more trees planted in priority areas quickly. Staff will consult on and report back to Council on program changes as they are developed. Early actions will include a redesign of the commemorative tree planting program, a recommendation on moving to proactive right-of-way planting, and recommendations for how a private land planting program could work in Ottawa.

Public Engagement

Staff want to hear from you! Public engagement and outreach on the Tree Planting Strategy are key to fostering a tree-aware culture in Ottawa.

This year, the City will roll out a series of surveys on tree planting in Ottawa. The first survey seeks input on current tree planting programs and ideas for future programs. The first survey includes some more detailed questions on the Commemorative Tree Program. The survey is now live and will run until April 15th. Please fill out the survey below. We look forward to your feedback!

Please stay tuned for future surveys on the other tree planting programs.

Next Steps

Subscribe to receive project updates and stay informed.

More information will be added to this page throughout the strategy development process.

Additional Information

If you have any questions about this project, please contact urbantree@ottawa.ca

  • Current Tree Planting Programs

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    The City provides a variety of programs and projects for tree planting along residential streets, in parks, greenspaces and forested areas. Descriptions of the City's current tree planted programs are listed below. For more information on the programs, please click on the program heading or contact us at urbantree@ottawa.ca.

    Trees in Trust Program

    The Trees in Trust program works with homeowners to find suitable locations for street trees on the City-owned street frontage (right-of-way). The street frontage of a home is the space between the property line and the roadway or sidewalk. The City supplies and plants the tree at no charge to the homeowner. Trees planted through the Trees in Trust program are a minimum size of 2 to 3 meters in height (50 mm caliper). Homeowners must pledge to assist with the proper tree care (watering) for the first three years of after planting. There is a limit of one tree per single fronting household or two trees per corner lot and the proposed planting location must meet the Trees in Trust program criteria. To participate in the Trees in Trust Program, the homeowner must make a request by calling 3-1-1 or online at Ottawa.ca/311.

    Commemorative Tree Program

    The Commemorative Tree Program assists families or groups who wish to have a tree planted in a City park in remembrance or to commemorate a loved one who has passed away. With the purchase of a Commemorative Tree there is an opportunity to install a plaque at the base of the tree in memory of the individual who passed away. City staff will assist with the park selection and meet the family or group on site to choose a location and tree type. The cost of a Commemorative Tree is $400 (plus HST) and includes planting of a 2 to 3 meters in height (50 mm caliper), watering for a three-year period, the installation of the plaque, and receipt for a charitable donation. The plaque is arranged by the family or group through a monument company of their choice and is not included in the cost of the Commemorative Tree.

    Schoolyard Tree Planting Grant Program

    Tree planting projects on school property within the City of Ottawa are eligible to apply for the Schoolyard Tree Planting Grant Program. Applications will be accepted from Student or Parent Councils, environmental/garden clubs, or other groups/ individuals that can demonstrate a commitment to the tree planting project in partnership with the school. In addition to project coordination, applicants must demonstrate the ability to perform tree maintenance activities for the successful establishment of the trees. The maximum grant funding level per applicant in any one year is $10,000. Grants may be awarded in funds (up to $500 per tree) or in trees supplied and planted by the City. No matching funds are required. The deadline for application is June 1 for projects to be implemented the following spring.

    The Green Acres Rural Reforestation program is delivered in partnership with the Conservation Authorities with a goal to transforms empty, idle fields into thriving forested areas. The program begins with providing landowners with advice and assistance to create a planting plan for their property. The landowners must be rural property owners within City of Ottawa boundaries, have a minimum of 0.4 hectares (1 acre) of suitable land and must agree to cover the subsidized cost of the tree seedlings, site preparation, planting and tending and agree to reasonably protect the plantation. The funding is provided to a maximum of 50% on a cost shared basis.

    The City of Ottawa is committed to planting trees to enhance our existing city parks, facilities, and streets. Ongoing requests are received from community groups and residents for additional tree planting in these areas. City staff will work to evaluate locations and implement tree planting as City resources permit. Project development will include opportunities for input from the public and other city departments, utility clearance checks, appropriate species selection, and an implementation plan for the planting and maintenance of the trees.

    Community Volunteer Tree Planting Projects

    A community volunteer tree planting project plants small trees in City parks or greenspace with the assistance of community groups who volunteer their time at a planting event. These can be reforestation projects, where trees are being replaced in a forested area, or afforestation projects, where trees are being planted in a greenspace where there were none before. City staff will work with community groups to identify good planting locations, secure required approvals, order and supply the tree stock, provide tree planting guidance on the planting day, and coordinate other logistics for the event. The community group contributes volunteer time to plant a mix of native potted trees, typically 50cm to 100cm tall.

    Reforestation/Afforestation Projects

    City-owned forested areas may be damaged from storm events or the impact of pests/diseases. Planting operations are sometimes required to ensure successful regrowth in these forested areas. Operations may also include the removal and treatment of invasive plants and other competing species. This helps naturally growing and planted native trees to grow. These large-scale reforestation projects first began in response to the Emerald Ash Borer infestation and projects are now typically in response to extreme weather events (tornadoes, derecho, ice storms). Afforestation projects involve planting trees to create a new forest. These large-scale projects provide opportunities to increase forest cover.

Page last updated: 16 Apr 2024, 09:04 AM