Robert Christopher - Urban Forest Champion

Robert Christopher first planted a Freeman maple with LEAF in spring 2012. He was inspired again to add another fine-looking Freeman maple to his Toronto property in fall 2013. He added more beauty and biodiversity to his yard in spring and fall 2018 with three pagoda dogwoods and an Eastern white cedar. Because he takes excellent care of his trees and shrubs, you can see from the photos, things are thriving in his yard. Our Program Manager, Kim De Lallo, interviews Robert about his recurring support for LEAF.


How did you first become interested in the urban forest?

My property has always had trees in the backyard and front yard adding value and beauty to the property.

How did you find out about LEAF and how have you been involved?

In 2012 I cut down a dying Austrian pine in my backyard. I required a permit from the City of Toronto for this work and as a condition for the permit replanting was required. The City advised me of the LEAF organization and the backyard planting program.

Please share an interesting story or memorable moment from your experience with LEAF.

Apart from the cost effective program planting of trees, LEAF has always been available for follow-up consultations and inspections after planting. 

What does the urban forest mean to you and what message would you like to share with others to encourage them to become involved?

Having a tree canopy is important for any city; however, it is important to realize what the tree will look like 30 or 40 years down the road. Don't plant the tree too close the house, understand what type of leaf and seedling will fall and require cleanup, or in the case of evergreens nothing will grow immediately beneath the trees and they can drip sap so trying to maintain a lawn in the immediate vicinity of the evergreen will be very difficult.


Kim De Lallo is the Program Manager 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 Town of Ajax, Ontario Power Generation and Toronto Hydro. For details on how you can participate, visit