Benefits of the LEAF Backyard Tree Planting Program

The LEAF Backyard Tree Planting Program has been helping private property owners plant native trees for more than two decades. Designed so that native trees survive and thrive, the program boasts a number of unique features that benefit both trees and property owners.


The Backyard Tree Planting Program (BYTP) is not just one of the largest and longest-running programs here at LEAF; it’s also one of the most successful. For over 20 years, property owners have been planting native trees and shrubs through the BYTP and, with a high tree survival rate, the proof is in the pudding. This isn’t the only advantage, though. Participants also benefit from four fundamental components of the program:
  1. Certified arborist consultations;
  2. Subsidized price;
  3. Planting/delivery; and
  4. Education, support and follow-up.


At the heart of the BYTP is the consultation process. Participants receive a consultation with an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist to help ensure the right tree is planted in the right place. As qualified professionals, LEAF arborists assess each yard’s soil and sunlight conditions, as well as available space above and below ground. Understanding the opportunities and limitations within the property, enables the arborist to recommend tree species that match each property’s unique makeup, as well as the property owners, own wants and needs.

The program is supported by funding partners, so participants can get the whole service (that is to say, the consultation, trees, delivery and/or planting) at a more affordable price. The planting service is very popular since it further removes barriers that some property owners may face.

Because the goal of the program is the long-term survival of trees, each planting location must meet minimum spacing requirements. This ensures that trees have adequate soil volume and overhead space to grow to maturity. Large, healthy trees provide maximum environmental benefits, such as air purification and cooling. In addition, species planted are native, meaning they have evolved naturally here. Not only are native species well-suited to our climatic conditions, they will likely require less maintenance than exotic tree species and have the added benefit of providing habitat for songbirds and pollinators.


Part of what makes the BYTP unique is the inclusion of education throughout the service. Preventative tree care is prioritized and participants are educated on proper care and maintenance for their new trees. Ongoing support is also provided to property owners if any questions or concerns arise around their LEAF tree. Finally, participants may be contacted to participate in a free and convenient follow-up health assessment of their trees. After the visit, property owners receive a brief report that includes recommendations for any additional tree care.


Interested in planting a new tree through LEAF? Apply now to book your personalized consultation with a certified arborist. In addition to trees, native shrubs are also available. AND, multi-units and business properties also qualify for the program!




Jess Wilkin is the Residential Planting Programs Operations Coordinator. She holds a Master of Forest Conservation from the University of Toronto.


LEAF offers a subsidized Backyard Tree Planting Program for private property. The program is supported by The Town of Newmarket, The Regional Municipality of York, City of Toronto, Toronto Hydro, Town of Ajax, and Ontario Power Generation. For details on how you can participate, visit