Menu

FAQs

General questions

I think there is something wrong with my tree. Can you help?

Diagnosing tree problems from afar is difficult, but with our staff of professional foresters, we can try to help. To do this we need:

  • A photo of your tree and the affected areas (bark, leaves, etc.)
  • A description of where it is situated (near the road, beside a house, etc.). We need to know about any physical or environmental factors that could negatively affect the tree, such as the nearest use of road salt
  • What municipality and province you are in
  • How long the problem has been present and what measures have been taken to correct it

Having these will make it easier for us to potentially diagnose what might be wrong with it, or to point you to the proper resources.

I believe my tree has been affected by the Emerald Ash Borer. What should I do?

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive species of beetle that is highly destructive to ash trees. Native to Asia, it was first found in North America in 2002 in Michigan and southwestern Ontario. It is believed that EAB was first brought to North America in ash wood used in shipping pallets. Since its introduction to North America, EAB has been spread mostly by humans unknowingly moving infested wood, in the form of logs or firewood, into un-infested areas. For more information about EAB, visit our Emerald Ash Borer page

The most obvious sign of Emerald Ash Borer is a sudden decline in the health of your ash tree, as well as the presence of distinct D-shaped exit holes. The prognosis is best determined by an on-site analysis by a registered professional forester or a certified arborist.

Visit our Tree Killers page for more information and images on invasive plants, insects, and diseases.

When is the best time to plant a tree?

The best time to plant a tree depends on where the tree is being planted, the species of tree, the soil type, and the type of growing stock of the tree in general. You can learn more by reading A Guide to Community Tree Planting.

In general, the optimal seasons for tree planting are in the spring (April-June) and fall (September-October). However, in some locations (such as Victoria, BC) the seasons can be greatly extended, while in others (such as Whitehorse, Yukon) the seasons can be greatly reduced. Some types of growing stock, such as large trees moved by a tree spade, can by transplanted throughout the summer with proper watering. Containerized trees can be planted later in the spring and early summer. Some species of trees that exhibit long periods of root growth (such as birch and oak) should not be transplanted in the fall. Avoid planting seedlings in the clay soils in the fall, because the seedlings may be prone to frost heaving in the winter. Planting these same seedlings in the spring allows the tree to spread its roots, minimizing frost heaving.

How can I determine if a tree on my property is an endangered species? If it is, can I still cut it down?

Endangered trees are protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) as well as the complementary provincial legislation. In general, endangered species cannot be destroyed. To determine if you have an endangered tree, contact a registered professional forester or certified arborist. The Species at Risk Public Registry site may also be helpful in identifying endangered trees.

I want to plant some trees that are native to where I live, but I don’t know which trees are native and which are not. Where can I find a list of trees that are native to my area?

You can find a list of trees that grow in Canada, including native species, on our Trees in Canada web page.

Why should I plant native trees?

Planting native tree species helps the ecosystem to remain or to re-establish its original state. Since native species are currently growing or once grew in a particular area, they should not have any issues with re-establishment or growth and are more likely to thrive than exotic species. Additionally, native species provide a natural habitat for native wildlife.

Does Tree Canada hire people to plant trees (i.e. student tree planters)?

Yes—over 90% of the trees that Tree Canada plants are planted by professional tree planters. The other 10% are planted by company and family volunteers. Tree Canada hires planting companies to plant its rural tree seedlings through a tender process. Its urban trees are planted through municipalities and sometimes volunteers. If you are interested in tree planting, check out websites like Tree Planter or Hardcore Tree Planters.

Does Tree Canada fund projects on private property?

In some cases, yes. For example, our Operation ReLeaf programs often involve residential planting to restore trees that have been lost due to natural disasters. In general, though, our programs are directed towards public (municipal, utilities) and First Nations lands.

I want to plant a tree to commemorate my relative who has passed away. Can you help?

Yes. Tribute Trees can be purchased in someone’s memory from our online store and include a certificate with the recipient’s name and a personal message.

I am interested in buying some merchandise that you were selling previously, but it no longer appears on the Tree Canada website. Can I still buy that merchandise?

Please send us an email or call us at 613-567-5545 ex. 226 with any questions about our merchandise.

I am interested in volunteering for Tree Canada. How can I get involved? Are there any volunteer opportunities in my area?

Volunteers are very important to our work. We try to ensure our volunteers are accommodated and involved in fulfilling work according to their interests and needs. You can learn about volunteering for us and fill out our volunteer form on our Volunteer page. We will keep your form on file and contact you when volunteer opportunities arise in your area.

Where does Tree Canada’s funding come from?

Tree Canada is grateful to have many corporate sponsors and supporters. You can find a list of our sponsors here. We also receive donations from individuals to help us implement our programs. If you are interested in donating to Tree Canada, you can do so online, by phone, or by mail.

Will I get a receipt when I donate to Tree Canada?

Yes. Tree Canada is a registered charitable organization and we provide receipts for all monetary donations we receive. You can verify our charitable status on the Canada Revenue Agency’s listing of charities here.

Questions on Tree Planting & Maintenance

What kind of tree should I plant?

First, evaluate the conditions of the soil, sunlight, and water in your yard. Most trees need certain conditions to grow and be healthy. You can consult our list of native trees here to find out more!

Where should I plant a tree?

When you’re looking for the best spot in your yard for that new tree, keep in mind a few basic points. Avoid placing trees underneath overhead wires. Make sure you leave space around the tree so that grown-up roots won’t interfere with fences, house foundations, or other trees. In the same vein, make sure that young trees are well-spaced so they don’t crowd each other as they mature. You may want to plant a tree near areas where you anticipate wanting shade in the summertime – where kids are playing, or where you like to sit outside. Finally, make sure trees are at least 2 metres away from hard surfaces like patio stones or driveways.

How can I make sure that the soil is good for tree-planting?

If your soil is sandy or full of clay, make sure to mix in plenty of compost before planting. As well, if you’re on a new property or near areas that have seen recent construction, you will need to dig into your top soil. Construction in new subdivisions removes much of the topsoil, and not much of it is replaced. Make sure to dig compost in to the area surrounding the tree, as when the tree gets bigger its roots will need to spread out!

How do I actually plant the tree?

Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Dig a hole two times as wide and the same depth as the tree’s root ball (or the pot you purchased the tree in)
  2. Use a shovel to loosen the soil on the sides of the hole.
  3. Take the tree, making sure not to rip its roots, and position it in the hole with the base of the trunk four to six centimetres above ground. Don’t bury the base of the trunk.
  4. Fill the hole and gently tamp the soil to remove air pockets. Make sure that the trunk is level with the soil’s surface, and mound soil up to the “root union” or where the trunk meets the rootball.
  5. Water the soil and when it settles, add a three-cm layer of compost to the surface.
  6. Mulch with woodchips about eight to 10 cm thick. The woodchips shouldn’t touch the trunk of the tree.
  7. Water immediately with at least three bucketfuls of water.
  8. Make sure the tree is watered every two days for at least three weeks, and following that check the soil moisture frequently. It should always feel slightly moist underneath the mulch.
How often should I water a newly planted tree?

Make sure to water your tree often. About three buckets full of water every couple of days will ensure that the soil doesn’t dry out in between watering. The soil should feel damp.

Should I tie a stake to my young tree?

There’s no need to tie a stake, if the tree has been well planted. In fact, if the tree is allowed to sway it will help to develop stronger tissues. If the tree is more than 2 metres in height and young, you may need to stake it.

Tree Maintenance FAQs

How often should I water my tree after a few weeks?

For the first few years of your tree’s growth, check the soil regularly and make sure it is always slightly damp. If it isn’t raining often, water the tree with three bucketfuls of water twice a week, or with the hose on a slow trickle for 15 to 20 minutes twice a week. Make sure you’re not overwatering. If water is pooling around the tree or the soil is extremely wet after watering then water less frequently.

How can I tell if my tree is unhealthy?

Signs of disease will be visible to the naked eye. If leaves are discoloured, browning, or curled unusually; if the tree is experiencing defoliation; if the branch tips are wilting, then your tree might be diseased. Water and nutrients are the first step to remedying this, but if problems persist then consult a tree expert. If only certain branches are diseased, you can prune out the infected branches and make sure to remove them from your yard.

Should I re-apply mulch after it has decomposed?

Yes! Try to maintain two to three inches of mulch around the base of the tree, without touching the trunk. This will especially help the tree to survive during winter.

When is it safe to prune the tree?

For the first three years after planting, you should avoid pruning a tree unless it’s dead or diseased. After about four years, if any branches are rubbing against each other you can remove the rubbing branches. It can also promote a more balanced growth. Make sure the tools you use are sharp and clean, and don’t use wound paint to heal the wound – trees can heal on their own.

I’m seeing a lot of insects on my tree. What should I do?

Many insects are beneficial, so identify the insect before you try to remove it. Many insects play a vital role to your yard’s ecosystem. If the insect is a pest and harming your tree, there are many options for controlling it. See our website’s section about threats to trees, or consult a local tree expert.

How many trees should I plant to offset my yearly emissions?

According to the Conference Board of Canada, the average Canadian emits 20.3 tonnes of CO2 each year. According to Tree Canada's publication What Trees Can Do To Reduce Atmospheric CO2, the average rural Canadian tree approximately absorbs .58 tonnes of CO2 over an 80-year period, which means that you would need to plant 35 trees to completely offset one person's emissions per year.