Trees transform and beautify neighbourhoods. They make empty space into green space. They reduce wind and create privacy. They increase property values. They support mental health.
To have the full urban forest we deserve, we need to plant trees all the time. New neighbourhoods need planting and waiting; old neighbourhoods need to plant enough to maintain what they have.
A healthy urban forest also requires a range of trees of different ages and species. A lack of diversity invites pests like the spanworm.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to put off tree planting. The full benefits take decades to arrive, and even when they do, the neighbours benefit almost as much as the landowner. So the City needs to take a role in ensuring that we’re planting enough trees.
I applaud the new one-tree rule for new developments. I think we can go further. The City should expand its annual tree-planting program and develop a communications strategy and small incentives to encourage homeowners and landowners to plant more and more diverse trees. Plus, low-impact design (LID) standards along roadways allows municipal trees to mature to their full size and age, while mitigating root damage to underground infrastructure.