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Rain Barrel Sale and Free Tree Giveaway

  • Saturday, June 2
  • 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (or until supplies run out)
  • Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre (240 St. Paul St. W.)

Residents can help themselves to a free tree to plant on their own property. Forestry experts from the City will be available to answers questions.

More than 500 trees will be available on a first come, first served basis. Trees will be distributed in three-gallon pots and are about three-feet tall. They should easily fit inside a standard car.

Residents can chose from four different varieties.

American Sweetgum

American Sweetgum

  • Grows best in moist, well-drained soils.
  • Needs full sun.
  • 20-30m tall.
  • Root system needs a lot of room – don’t plant too close to any structures.
  • Star shaped leaves that turn burn bright red/purple in the fall.
  • Important source of food for squirrels, chipmunks, and birds like to eat the seeds from this tree.

Did you know? Indigenous peoples consumed the sap of the American Sweetgum as a chewing gum and used it in treatment of various disorders.

Bitternut Hickory

  • Native to southern Ontario
  • Grows best in moist, rich soil, but can adapt to most soil types.
  • Hickories will tolerate some shade while young but need full sun at maturity.
  • 15-20m tall
  • Will need to be watered during a hot summer – needs a deep watering due to a long tap root.
  • Produces round, bitter, inedible fruit that are 2-3cm long after 10 years (apparently squirrels don’t even like them).

Did you know? Wood from the bitternut hickory is strong and shock resistant so is used to make handles for tools and for sports equipment like lacrosse sticks.

Eastern Redbud

Eastern Redbud

  • Native to southern Ontario.
  • Can adapt to a wide range of soil and site conditions but does best in a well-drained location.
  • 6-8m tall.
  • Spread: 8-9m.
  • Prefers full sun to partial shade.
  • Flowers appear on tree before leaves in early spring with bright magenta coloured buds.
  • Flowers attract bees and other pollinators.
  • Has heart shaped leaves which turn a bright yellow in fall.

Did you know? The flowers and buds are edible with a sweet acidic taste that can be used in salads or pickled.

 Tulip Tree

  • Tulip TreeFast growing tree with wide spreading roots.
  • Up to 35m tall.
  • Needs full sun.
  • Tree will need regular watering during summer months.
  • Prefers a sandy loam soil.
  • Seeds of a tulip tree are a source of food for birds and other wildlife.
  • Leaves are a light green and turn yellow in the fall.

Rain Barrel Sale

Rain barrels will be on sale on a first come, first served basis. Proof of St. Catharines residency is required, and each household is limited to two rain barrels.

How do I receive my free tree?

Proof of St. Catharines' residency is required (such as a driver's license), and each household is limited to one tree.

To receive a free tree, residents must agree to plant and maintain the tree on private property in the City of St. Catharines, ideally in their own yards.

Free trees are for private property and should not be planted on boulevards, along streets or in City parks.

Residents who received a free tree at last year's Free Tree Giveaways are eligible for a tree at the even on June 2.

 Tree planting and care

  1. Before planting a tree consider its full height and width when choosing its location. It will need space to grow.
  2. Dig a hole that is two to three times as wide as the rootball.
  3. Roughen the sides and bottom of the hole to allow the roots to spread in the soil.
  4. Backfill the hole using existing soil. Break up the soil when filling in the hole.
  5. Lightly step around the base of the tree to get rid of any air pockets in the soil.
  6. Water you new tree. Give it a good soaking right away and then once a week after planting. Water two to three times a week in drought conditions.
  7. Mulch the tree with layer of mulch two to four inches thick. Do not "volcano" the mulch - keep it away from touching the trunk of the tree.

More resources

Tree Canada, the Province of Ontario's Tree Atlas and Ontario Trees and Shrubs provides more information about planting and caring for your tree.

Removal of Ash Trees from Private Property

It is recommended that you contact a private certified arborist to inspect a tree on private property that is showing signs of Emerald Ash Borer. The arborist will be able to confirm the presence of the Emerald Ash Borer and recommend treatment options.

The city encourages citizens to treat their Ash trees and limit the movement of firewood wherever possible to help contain the spread of Emerald Ash Borer. 

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