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The Leslieville-Riverdale Tree Project

Our local tree canopy needs your help and so does our air!
The Leslieville-Riverdale Tree Project supports neighbours to green our streets. Free front yard trees are available from the City. Navigate the red tape and get more green in our neighbourhood!



I’ve heard tree roots damage plumbing or foundations - Myth
Most of us have heard this at some point. Sewers and outside pipes are expensive to fix, and there are almost always tree roots found in the old, damaged pipes. But the trees DON’T cause the damage. Tree roots find the water leaking from pipes that are already damaged – usually because the pipes are very old or improperly installed. By the time you notice that the pipes need attention, the tree has already found the leak so you find its roots in the broken pipes. But please don’t blame the tree!

See what Toronto Urban Forestry says about tree roots and pipes (pdf)

I worry a tree will cause too much mess or extra work
For the first two years, water your tree twice per week. Adding mulch once per year is helpful but not necessary. See other tips here. Not interested in raking leaves? Pick a small-leafed variety so the leaves blow away in the fall – check out the list of recommended shade trees here. The City will shape the new tree at 2 years, then prune it on a 7 year cycle. At any point if the tree is sick or has been damaged – especially if it is a hazard and could injure people or property - call 311 to alert the City that action is needed.

I have allergies. Will a front yard tree cause extra problems for me?
Some trees contribute more to seasonal allergies than others. The City doesn’t plant high-allergen varieties.

I want a fruit tree
The City doesn’t plant fruit trees in front yards since fruiting trees require more maintenance and can cause unwanted mess from dropping fruit.

I don’t own my property – can I get a tree anyway?
Trees are a great investment for an investment property! Here are a few things for landlords to love. Trees:

  • increase property values
  • provide shade in summer, to reduce cooling / air conditioning needs on hot days. Shade trees can save on hydro bills
  • provide a wind break in winter to reduce heating needs on cold days
  • improve mental health and well-being of residents - happy residents probably make better tenants

If your landlord approves, you can complete, sign and submit the simple application form yourself. Otherwise, you will need the landlord’s signature. Here’s the form you need (doc)

I’ve submitted my application. When will I get my new tree?
Expect to wait 3-10 months for your tree to appear. Keep in mind trees are only be planted in the spring and fall – this is for the health of the trees.

Once you submit your application, Urban Forestry sends an inspector to confirm suitability of the planting location – you do not need to be home, and they will not let you know when they are coming.

Urban Forestry will order your tree from a supplier, then request clearances from utility companies to dig in your yard. A planting crew will come to your neighbourhood to plant several trees at once – usually they plant a particular species at a time, so your neighbour might get a new tree a few weeks before you do. Don’t worry! Your tree will arrive.

I have questions – how can I speak with an Urban Forestry representative?

To report a sick, damaged, or dead tree, call 311.

For other questions related to Urban Forestry, tree by-laws, etc., check out this.

It is almost impossible to arrange a consultation with Urban Forestry. If you are not sure what tree to choose, you can complete the application and let an Urban Forestry inspector select the most appropriate tree for your site.

For backyard trees, contact LEAF to arrange an on-site consultation. This fantastic service is part of the value LEAF brings to our neighbourhoods.