Durham Residents Encouraged to Plant Trees to Combat Climate Change

Whitby, Ontario – Property owners are invited to put down roots, thanks to a partnership between a local not-for-profit organization and participating Durham municipalities, who will provide support to restore and improve properties by planting native trees and shrubs.

Starting today, residential, multi-unit, or commercial property owners—located in the City of Oshawa, City of Pickering, Town of Whitby and Township of Scugog— can apply to the subsidized Backyard Tree Planting Program offered by LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests). It is expanding on the success of the program offered in the Town of Ajax since 2015.

LEAF is committed to protecting and improving our urban forests through planting, education and training. They help property owners choose and plant the right trees, while offering resources to ensure proper long-term care of their trees.

Through the full service program, property owners receive a consultation with a certified arborist, a 1.5 to 2.4-metre tall tree and full planting service, for $150 to $220 per tree. This low price is possible because the program is subsidized by the Region and participating municipalities. Arborist consultations will take place over the summer, with modified procedures, to comply with physical distancing. Planting will occur in the fall.

To apply to the Backyard Tree Planting Program, visit the LEAF website or call 1-888-453-6504 for more information.



“When we invest in a tree, we invest in our quality of life: cleaner air, cooler spaces, and the environmental benefits of combating climate change. Healthier and greener communities contribute to our overall health—we look forward to reaping the benefits of LEAF’s important programs.”
– John Henry, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer

“We commend our local government partners who are taking action today to incentivize tree planting. The simple act of planting a tree most certainly provides benefits to the property owner - beauty, shade and privacy, for example. But when added together, the benefits of all trees planted can be profound for the wider community – improved air quality, natural summer cooling, reduced storm water costs and improved habitat. A small investment now will result in huge returns for our future.”
Janet McKay, Executive Director of LEAF

“A healthy urban tree canopy provides numerous benefits to our communities and our natural environment. The Town of Ajax is a proud partner of LEAF and continue to be supportive of their programming. We are excited to see the Backyard Tree Planting Program initiative expand into other areas of the Region, and I encourage property owners across Durham Region to participate.”
– Mayor Shaun Collier, Town of Ajax

“Trees are an essential part of our green infrastructure – helping to improve the air we breathe, providing much needed shade and privacy, and reducing noise pollution and storm water runoff. We are excited for this collaboration with LEAF, the Region and our municipal partners, which will see even more residents and businesses in Oshawa helping grow our tree canopy while enjoying these benefits right at home in their own backyards.”
– Mayor Dan Carter, City of Oshawa

“We’re committed to finding inspiring ways for the City and its residents to take meaningful action on furthering our shared sustainability journey. We’re proud to collaborate with our partners on this wonderful initiative that will offer residents affordable access to tree planting and ultimately protect and enhance our urban forests.”
– Deputy Mayor Kevin Ashe, City of Pickering

“Everything about trees is good. They look great, they capture carbon, they provide shade and they help cool down us down on these hot days. I encourage all residents to support this new program and help grow our tree canopy.”
– Mayor Don Mitchell, Town of Whitby

“Through the Township of Scugog Strategic Plan we are committed to protect and enhance our natural environment including implementing community partnerships, green solutions and increasing our tree canopy through planting programs. We are pleased to partner with the LEAF Program to offer subsidized tree planting opportunities to our residents, community organizations and businesses.”
– Mayor Bobbie Drew, Township of Scugog


Quick Facts

  • Since declaring a climate emergency on January 29, 2020, Durham Region continues to develop community action plans in partnership with local area municipalities and other key stakeholders including LEAF.
  • Through the declaration—brought forward through the Durham Region Roundtable on Climate Change—Durham Region joins the Government of Canada and more than 400 Canadian municipalities to have declared climate emergencies. Most of these organizations are implementing programs to help reduce their contribution to global carbon emissions.
  • The benefits of planting native trees and shrubs include:
    • Providing essential habitat for wildlife.
    • Reducing stormwater runoff by capturing and storing rainfall.
    • Reducing greenhouse gases and clean our air all year round.
    • Reducing energy costs by providing shade, privacy, and shelter.
    • Restoring outdoor green spaces to live, work and visit.
    • Increasing property value.
  • Participation in the Backyard Tree Planting Program includes:
    • A 30-minute consultation with a LEAF arborist.
    • Full planting service OR a do-it-yourself option.
    • Tree care resources.
    • Follow-up tree care advice online or by phone.
  • LEAF plants native species that are well-suited to local climatic conditions and provide essential habitat for wildlife. 
  • Native shrubs are also available.


Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:
Heather Hogan-Cherniak – Communications Coordinator
365-688-5900 or heather.hogan-cherniak@durham.ca