Improving Life for Toronto's Street Trees
Life as a Street Tree Can Be Tough
Healthy trees offer countless environmental and health benefits while also bringing beauty and nature into our neighbourhoods.
Toronto has approximately 600,000 street trees which grow in the harshest of urban conditions. They face a multitude of stresses such as limited soil and water, sidewalk salt and bicycle locks, which challenge their long-term health and survival. Stressed out trees can’t provide us with the same environmental benefits as healthy trees.
Beyond environmental benefits, healthy street trees also:
- make the streetscape green and beautiful
- offer pedestrians shade on hot summer days
- attract more shoppers and more frequent shopping visits
- foster a sense of community
Simple acts of stewardship go a long way to help our street trees thrive. Additional care and protection from the local community can significantly increase tree survival, especially for trees that are newly planted.
The Adopt-a-Street-Tree program is a collaborative effort between LEAF, the City of Toronto, BIAs, community groups and other partners. It encourages and guides community tree stewardship, helping the city’s most vulnerable trees grow to their leafiest potential so that Torontonians can enjoy the numerous benefits that a lush urban canopy provides.
Learn More About Street Trees
On our blog:
- A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourwood: LEAF’s Adopt-A-Street-Tree Inventory Work
- Five Ideas for a Successful Tree Planting Strategy
- Fighting Traffic with Trees
- Street Tree Ecology Matters
Around the web:
- City of Toronto Tree Planting Strategy
- Toronto and Region Conservation - Sustainable Neighbourhood Retrofit Plan (SNAP)
In 2018, LEAF and the City of Toronto are collaborated with residents in Liberty Village to help start an adopt-a-tree project. Many young trees in the neighbourhood are struggling and would greatly benefit from the care of the community.
Help care for Liberty Village Trees!
If you'd like to help care for a tree in Liberty Village, contact libertyaatree[at]gmail.com.
Learn more and connect with the Liberty Village Adopt-a-Tree project Here.
To view a map of the trees in Liberty Village and find out which are in need of care, click Here.
In 2017 and 2018, LEAF and the City of Toronto collaborated with Green 13, the Junction BIA the Junction Residents' Association and the Toronto Field Naturalists to establish an Adopt-a-Street-Tree project. With nearly 140 trees lining the Junction’s streets, the community is working to ensure the health and vibrancy of their street canopy.
Help care for Junction Trees!
Adopt a tree:
To view a map of the Junction's street trees and find out which trees are in need of care, click HERE.
If you'd like to help care for a Junction tree, contact junctiontrees[at]gmail.com.
Join the watering team:
There are many "orphan" trees that have not yet been adopted. Join a team of local volunteers to help ensure these trees also get the TLC they need to thrive! Watering equipment and watering routes are available. If you'd like to join the watering team, contact junctiontrees[at]gmail.com.
Thank you to all the partners and volunteers who have contributed to the project so far!
In 2016 and 2017 LEAF and the City of Toronto collaborated with the the Bloordale BIA and the Bloordale Community Improvement Association to establish an Adopt-a-Street-Tree project with funding from Live Green Toronto (a program of the City of Toronto) and from the Canadian Tree Fund. With 50 newly planted trees between Dufferin and Lansdowne, the Bloordale community is working to ensure each tree thrives.
This project is building on the efforts of local resident and Tree Tender graduate, Dan Milford-Warren, who initiated street tree stewardship in Bloordale when the trees were first planted in 2014.
Adopt a Bloordale tree
To view a map of Bloordale's street trees and find out which trees are in need of care, click HERE.
If you'd like help care for a Bloordale tree, contact erin[at]yourleaf.org.
A very big thank-you to all the partners and volunteers who have contributed to the project so far!
In 2015 and 2016, with the support of the TD Green Streets Grant awarded by TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and Tree Canada, Live Green Toronto, a program of the City of Toronto, and the Canadian Tree Fund, LEAF had the opportunity to work closely with the City of Toronto and the Danforth community to develop an Adopt-a-Street-Tree Pilot Program for 142 new street trees planted between Woodbine and Victoria Park. Partners included included Danforth East Community Association, Danforth Mosaic BIA, Danforth Village BIA and Danforth Village Residents Association.
The objective of this pilot program was to foster a collaborative approach to protection and care of the city’s vulnerable street trees and to develop community tree care guidelines that can be replicated across Toronto. The success of this pilot led to future projects in Bloordale and the Junction.
Help care for Danforth trees!
To view a map of the Danforth street trees and find out which trees are in need of care, click HERE.
To find out how you can adopt a street tree, get involved or to get more information, contact erin[at]yourleaf.org.
Thank-you to all the partners and volunteers who have contributed to the project so far!
Helen Godfrey, a LEAF Volunteer and Tree Tender Graduate, recognized the value of healthy street trees but saw that the trees in her neighbourhood along Bayview Ave were struggling. She worked with LEAF to reach out to local businesses and create a tree care plan. Over 20 local businesses committed to watering nearby trees, giving them at least three buckets per week from spring to fall.
As part of the project, educational signage was safely attached to trees. The signs offer interesting tips about the urban forest and include QR codes which take smart phone users directly to the LEAF website to learn more!
This program was inspired by two other initiatives: Friends of Trinity Bellwoods Park Adopt-a-Tree Program and Roncesvalles Renewed
Bayview Buckets Project Details:
Where: Bayview Ave. (west side) between Hillsdale and Davisville.
When: Initiated in 2011. Watering each year from spring to fall.
Project Lead: Helen Godfrey, LEAF Volunteer and Tree Tender Graduate
Project Supporters and Partners: City of Toronto Forestry and Ward 22 Councillor Josh Matlow.
Get Involved with Adopt-a-Street-Tree
Get Help from LEAF’s Young Urban Forest Leaders Program
The Young Urban Forest Leaders (YUFL) Program is a five-month training program that provides young people (18-29) with hands-on experience in the field of urban forestry and community engagement. YUFL participants receive training and mentorship from LEAF staff and work in partnership with community groups to help establish new Adopt-a-Street-Tree initiatives.
Benefits for Community Groups:
- Groups selected to participate in the program will receive:
- Assistance from LEAF and a team of Young Urban Forest Leaders over a five-month period to:
- Create an inventory, assessment and map of park trees
- Develop a stewardship plan, which includes guidelines on tree care and key details for running an Adopt-a-Park-Tree Program that is specific to your park
- Organize and host public events. Events include:
- Outreach activities
- Educational workshops
- Tree care events
- Tree tours
- Tree planting workshops
- Supplies needed to launch an Adopt-a-Park-Tree initiative up to a maximum of $500 per group (includes items like hoses, printing of promotional materials, refreshments for a public event, etc.)
- Assessment of the surrounding community to identify opportunities to increase tree canopy, promoting native tree planting on private property at no/minimal cost to residents during the YUFL program period
To be considered for this program, Groups must:
- Be an existing well-organized group that is prepared to follow through on an Adopt-a-Street-Tree Program
- Be associated with a City of Toronto street that has had new trees planted within the last few years (or that will have new trees planted within the next one to two years)
- Have a designated representative that will commit to liaising with LEAF and the Young Urban Forest Leaders team
- Be committed to co-hosting a public event between August and September to raise awareness about the project
- Be willing to help publicly promote the Adopt-a-Street-Tree Program, the planting of native trees and shrubs in the community and the events organized by the YUFL throughout the season (social media, newsletter, booth at community events, etc.)
- Commit to ongoing coordination of the Adopt-a-Street-Tree program once the youth have completed the Young Urban Forest Leaders program
Start Your Own Program with the Adopt-a-Stree Tree Manual
LEAF and the City of Toronto have developed an Adopt-a-Street-Tree manual to help guide and support communities with an interest in caring for their local street trees.
Programs can vary in size and formality. Each group will find its own level of organization and methods of implementation. The Adopt-a-Street-Tree Manual was developed to help community groups across the city get started. The manual is free and can be viewed online!
Inside the Manual
Inside this PDF you'll find all the information you need to get started with your own Adopt-A-Street-Tree Program, including information on:
- Who to Contact
- Creating a Team
- Tools, Equipment and Water
- Sharing Your Project and Recruiting Tree Adopters
- Tracking Adopted Tees
- Basics of Tree Care
- Common Challenges and more!
We are always looking for volunteers to help with our Adopt-a-Street-Tree projects! To get involved or to get more information, contact erin[at]yourleaf.org.
Adopt a tree and help it flourish:
A number of Adopt-A-Street-Tree Programs have already been established in Toronto. See our Adopt-a-Street-Tree Initiatives.
To find out how you can adopt a street tree, email erin[at]yourleaf.org.