As the last bit of frost disappears, Trees For Guelph reappears with an upcoming tree planting event.
On Friday, which is Earth Day, participants will gather at Kortright Hills Natural Area to plant native trees, shrubs and wildflowers. The event will take place at 9 a.m. and will run until 5 p.m., or when there are no longer any trees to plant.
Martin Litchfield, vice-president of Trees For Guelph, said pails, shovels, mulch and water will be provided on site for volunteers.
“We will actually provide specific instructions on how to plant the tree and the depth and how much mulch to put on, how much water to put on, and on the hardwoods, we provide a tree guard to prevent the mice and rabbits from chewing on the bark,” said Litchfield.
For their first event this year, Litchfield warns people who are planning to come out on April 22 to dress warmly.
“The Earth Day one (tree planting event), we’re always cautious about that because the 22nd, 23rd time frame in April, in this geographical area, it could be nice or it could be snowy, and we have planted in the snow before.”
Trees For Guelph sources native trees, shrubs and wildflowers for its events. Litchfield explains they gather a diversity of plants, softwood and hardwood, that are ecologically appropriate for this area.
“These are all trees that have been sourced from the ecological seed zone that we’re in (in Guelph), we’re in seed zone 32,” said Litchfield, “We make sure that even when we buy from the private nurseries, that the trees and shrubs and the wildflowers are all native trees.”
Part of the success of this program is the way that trees are planted and cared for by volunteers, said Litchfield. Returning to some of the same spots after a few years, he mentions previously planted trees are thriving.
“We find we’re getting about 90 per cent survival out there, because there’s so much care and attention to how we put trees in the ground and take such good care of them.”
Litchfield said Trees For Guelph is seeing increasing interest in tree planting initiatives from residents, schools and corporations within the community.
“During COVID, we still had quite a good response to tree planting, but not as vigorous as years past, but now I think there is a pent-up demand,” said Litchfield. “We’re getting a number of companies who are getting their employees to come out, on company time, to plant.”
“It’s going very, very well.”
Between the four planting events this spring and the school planting programs, Litchfield said Trees For Guelph expects to plant over 5,000 trees this season, along with shrubs and wildflowers.
After Earth Day, Trees For Guelph will also host three community tree planting sessions on May 7, May 14 and May 28. In the fall, there are also three tree planting events planned, and information on those events will be available on treesforguelph.ca.