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Planting Trees Remains a Top Priority for Local Residents

A tree planting partnership between Reep Green Solutions and the City of Cambridge and City of Kitchener enters its third year of impact.

Kitchener and Cambridge ON. The Backyard Tree Planting Program was first launched in the fall of 2019. Despite losing the entire spring season last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, demand for trees remains very high from local residents. Many participants who planted a tree in their yard reported that they would not have purchased any trees this year if it wasn’t for the subsidized Backyard Tree Planting Program in partnership with the City of Kitchener, the City of Cambridge and Reep Green Solutions. 2021 is anticipated to be another incredible year demonstrating the importance that homeowners place on trees in our communities.

As part of the Backyard Tree Planting program, homeowners receive an in-person consultation with an arborist, as well as delivery and full planting service. Reep Green Solutions’ arborist assesses the conditions in the yard and asks about the homeowners’ needs and preferences to help them decide on the right tree for the right place. Only trees that are native to Ontario are available for planting because they will have the greatest opportunity to thrive in the long term. “Native trees require less maintenance than exotic species and provide essential habitat for wildlife,” according to Reep Green Solutions’ arborist and Healthy Yard Guide, Chris Morrison.

The City of Kitchener and City of Cambridge subsidize the cost for backyard trees to encourage citizen stewardship of the urban forest on private property. The majority of trees in both Kitchener and Cambridge are on private land. According to Brian Geerts, Manager of Operations with the City of Cambridge, “Approximately 80% of the urban forest canopy is on private lands in the City of Cambridge, so citizens play an important part in planting and looking after our trees on their own properties.”

“Tree planting and care on private property can have a big impact on the future success of our city’s urban forest,” said Joshua Shea, Kitchener’s Manager of Forestry and Natural Area Management. “We’re pleased to see this program continue this year and are excited to help support our residents as they become active partners in stewarding trees.”

Homeowners play an important role in the program by watering and caring for trees in the first two years after they’re planted. Follow-ups from Reep Green Solutions provide homeowners with ways to keep the trees healthy, such as proper mulching techniques.

The Backyard Tree Planting program is supplied to a limited number of eligible participants on a first-come, first-served basis. Thanks to the partnership of the City of Cambridge and the City of Kitchener, homeowners pay a subsidized price of approximately $150 – $220 per tree, depending upon the tree(s) chosen, which includes a personalized consultation, delivery and full planting, along with a long-term care guide. From there, the environmental charity Reep Green Solutions does all the work to get your tree(s) in the ground.

If you can’t plant a tree on your property, Reep Green Solutions offers workshops about tree maintenance and care throughout the year. Interested in applying to plant a tree in your yard? Homeowners can visit reepgreen.ca/trees for more information or to apply for the program.

Reep Green Solutions is an environmental charity based in the Waterloo Region committed to helping people live sustainably. Reep offers home energy, waste reduction, water conservation and healthy yards services. You may also contact Donnique Williams, [email protected], 519-744-6583 ext. 222, for additional comments.

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