With precautionary protocols in place, tree-planting efforts have returned throughout the area courtesy of the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), which is helping landowners spruce up their properties … with a variety of species.
“GRCA is really excited about getting trees in the ground this spring,” said Meghan Clay, GRCA forestry specialist, in a news release. “Landowners are keen to get their trees; they want to see trees in the ground.”
After being put on pause for a year, plantings are actively taking place throughout the watershed, including in Guelph and Wellington County. They began April 9 and are expected to continue through the Victoria Day long weekend.
“We are seeing more and more demand for tree planting on private land,” said Clay. “Landowners with farms or property beside agricultural lands will plant trees to create windbreaks, reduce soil erosion, and improve water quality. Other rural landowners plant trees to create wildlife habitat, support recreation, and combat climate change. “Landowners recognize that planting trees today benefits future generations.”
The GRCA recently partnered with Forests Ontario and is helping that organization reach its goal of planting 50 million trees throughout the province. For its part, the GRCA plans to contribute 20,000 to the total.
“Unfortunately, tree seedlings are quite perishable and need to be planted soon after coming from the nursery – careful timing and fine-tuned logistics are required,” said Rob Keen, registered professional forester and CEO of Forests Ontario, in the release.
Tree-planting was deemed an essential service by the provincial government last March, but the GRCA’s 2020 season was called off as a precaution.
Since then, new protocols have been put in place to limit face-to-face interactions and increase physical distancing, as well as the use of personal protective equipment and staggered start times.
More than one million trees have been planted by Wellington County landowners through the use of Forests Ontario’s financial and technical assistance since 2008, contributing to the 31 million throughout the province.For more information, or to apply for assistance next year, visit www.forestsontario.ca/en/program/50-million-tree-program.