A Guide to LEAF’s Do-It-Yourself Tree Planting Experience

Are you looking for a way to connect to your neighbourhood and nature this spring? Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tree planting is a fun and rewarding way to get your hands dirty while also helping grow the urban forest!

Planting your own tree can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! With a little help from our educated ISA-certified arborists, you’ll learn all about native species that fit your yard conditions and how to properly plant and care for a new tree. Before you know it, you’ll be planting a tree that will add many benefits to your yard and community for decades to come!

Why plant a tree yourself?

While planting your own tree requires planning and preparation, our DIY program can be rewarding for those who learn better by doing and who value hard work and tangible results. It is also a great opportunity for families with children to get outside and explore nature. There isn’t a better feeling for you and your family than stepping back to see your new tree in its home!



Planting a tree in your yard will also provide many benefits to both you and your neighbourhood. These benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • increasing property values and enhancing the aesthetic appeal of a neighbourhood
  • creating shade which reduces the need for air conditioning
  • creating natural barriers that provide privacy and protect your home from noise and harsh weather
  • intercepting rainwater, which helps reduce soil erosion
  • improving air quality
  • providing food and habitat for wildlife
  • helping you develop a deeper understanding of trees and the natural environment

Six Easy Steps:

Now that you’ve learned about the many benefits trees provide, you are ready to start the planting process! LEAF can help with these six easy steps:

  1. Watch our Educational Videos: Explore our online video workshop series to help you determine your soil type, sunlight conditions and space available for planting. Then review our native species list to pick out some of your favourite trees!



  1. Submit Your Application: Once you’ve reviewed our educational resources and program information, you are ready to submit your application online!
  2. Virtual Consultation: Through the DIY program, you will meet virtually with one of our arborists who will help tailor your planting plan based on your goals, desired tree characteristics, unique yard layout, space, soil type and sunlight conditions. They will then recommend the best native species to fit those conditions! The consultation is also a great time to ask questions regarding the planting process and proper tree care. We conduct virtual consultations year-round and are flexible on timing, so even if you have a busy schedule, we will find a time that works best for you! Please note that virtual consultations require access to a computer and internet.



  1. Purchase Your New Tree: At the end of your consultation, you will order your tree! The cost ranges from $110 to $180, depending on the species. This price includes the virtual consultation, a five to eight foot tall native deciduous tree or a two to four foot tall native evergreen tree, delivery, mulch and a Planting and Care Guide. Depending on the month of your consultation, you will be set up for either our spring or fall delivery season. Our spring season runs from April through to the end of June, while our fall season runs from September through to the end of November.



  1. Get Your Hands Dirty: LEAF will deliver your healthy, high-quality specimen tree to your door. All you need to do is plant it when it arrives! Be sure to review our Planting and Care Guide, gather all your tools and clear the planting area prior to delivery. Planting a tree is a physical activity that requires digging with shovels and some lifting. In most cases, planting a tree takes about 20 to 30 minutes, but be sure to move at your own pace and follow all the steps provided to ensure that your tree has the best chance to survive and thrive!
  2. Take Care of Your Tree: Once your tree is in the ground, you’ll be required to properly care for it! Be sure to follow our guidelines on watering and mulching to keep your tree healthy and happy. Enjoy free post-planting care advice from our team of experts through seasonal email tips and answers to tree care/health questions.

If you are ready to get your hands dirty this spring and the DIY program sounds like the right fit for you, visit our Homeowners page to learn more and apply today!  If you prefer to have our friendly team take care of the planting for you, the Full-Service program may be the right fit for you!


Jon is the Residential Planting Programs Field Coordinator at LEAF

LEAF offers a subsidized Backyard Tree Planting Program for private property. The program is supported by the City of Toronto, the Regional Municipality of York, the City of Markham, the Town of Newmarket, the Regional Municipality of Durham, the Town of Ajax, the Township of Brock, the Municipality of Clarington, the City of Oshawa, the City of Pickering, the Township of Scugog, the Town of Whitby, Ontario Power Generation and Ontario Trillium Foundation.