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Trees for Rural Roads Program

Trees ready for distribution as part of the Trees for Rural Roads Program

Contact(s)

In our ongoing effort to enhance and replace trees along rural roads, the Municipality of Clarington, in partnership with Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority, Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority, funding partners, and with environmental stewardship funds from Clarington, is offering the Trees for Rural Roads program again in 2017. In 2016, more than 800 trees were distributed and planted along municipal roads on private land in Clarington.

Background

The earliest large-scale, systematic planting efforts date back 150 years to when the Ontario Legislature passed an act in 1871 encouraging the planting of trees on highways. Municipalities were to pay landowners up to $0.25 per tree for trees planted along the roads. The province was to cost-share with the municipalities, but a quarter century later, only ten percent of the money had been spent, and the act was repealed. Although this would suggest the program failed, trees from this era (or soon after) line many of our roads today.

The majority of trees farmers transplanted from their woodlots were maples. This gave rise to an important element in the rural landscape-lines of stately maples alongside roads. The legacy of tree-lined roads is embedded in many people's memories and part of the rural aesthetic.

These century-old (and older) trees are succumbing to old age, exposure to wind, insects, and disease. The program was developed in 2012 to help replace and plant trees along our rural roadways.

Benefits

The Trees for Rural Roads program benefits the local environment, community and economy. It provides increased tree canopy cover and wildlife habitat, as well as climate change mitigation, local history preservation and community engagement.

Location of roadside planting

Trees must be planted just inside the property line on private property, adjacent to the road right of way. Offset must be provided from power lines and other overhead or underground obstructions.

White Spruce with four years growth, planted in 2012 as part of Trees for Rural Roads

Photo above: White Spruce with four years growth, planted in 2012 as part of Trees for Rural Roads

Program guidelines

The Trees for Rural Roads program is available to all rural residents. The trees provided for free by the program, are to be planted along roadways by the private property owners on their land (being their contribution). If property owners desire more trees for laneway planting and other locations, the Conservation Authorities may be able to assist with other programs they operate (see below).

The Trees for Rural Roads program is not designed to plant along laneways, within private yards or for hedgerow replacement. Trees will not be provided to plant along Provincial roadways, private roads, unopened/unmaintained roads or urban areas (Courtice, Bowmanville, Newcastle, and Orono).

Types of trees

The program distributes bare-root and potted deciduous stock 1 to 1.5 metres in height and small potted coniferous trees (half-metre height). This size is easier to transport and plant, and the growth will catch up to caliper stock over time. Native trees include sugar, red, and silver maples; red and white oak; white pine; white spruce; and white birch. Tree guards for the deciduous trees and mulch mats for all trees are provided for free.

Bundles of bare root trees at 2015 Trees for Rural Roads Pick-up

Photo above: Bundles of bare-root trees at 2015 Trees for Rural Roads Pick-up

How many trees can I get?
The program allows the number of trees needed to plant one row along the roadway. The spacing requirement is one deciduous tree for every 40 feet of road frontage, and one evergreen tree for every 20 feet of road frontage. This will allow for a full tree canopy to develop. A maximum of 30 trees per year are allowed. Replacement trees as a result of mortality are also allowed. You will receive planting instructions in advance of the tree pick-up date.
When do I get my trees?

You will receive notice once your application is accepted. Trees will be available for pick-up at the Orono Works Yard at 3585 Taunton Road, Orono at the end of April. We will notify you of the exact date and time, and we will provide planting instructions. Please note that the bare-root whips come in a bag and other stock come in pots.

Potted, deciduous trees were oak at the 2016 Trees for Rural Roads Pick-up

Photo above: Potted, deciduous trees were oak at the 2016 Trees for Rural Roads Pick-up

Other programs

Apply

Apply for the 2017 Trees for Rural Roads Program by filling out the online application and emailing the completed file to the applicable Conservation Authority (listed on the application).

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Deadline

The deadline to apply is March 31, 2017.

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