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Free Tree Giveaway

  • Saturday, Oct. 21
  • 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:

  • Bur Oak
  • Red Oak
  • Eastern White Pine
  • Serviceberry

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 in June are eligible for a tree at the Oct. 21 Free Tree Giveaway.

What kinds of trees is the City giving away for free?

Residents can chose from four different varieties:

Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

Burr Oak leaf

  • Large leaves between 15-25cm long

  • Can grow to More than 30m tall

  • Most common oak found in Ontario

  • Tolerates a variety of soil conditions and types (moist-dry/sand-clay)

  • Drought resistant as roots grow deep into the ground

  • Deep root system, avoid planting near any underground utilities

Fun fact: The Bur Oak often survives forest fires because
of its very thick bark

Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

Mature Red Oak

  • Leaves are between 10-20cm long with sharp pointed lobes
  • Can grow on average 20-30m tall
  • Smooth grey bark when tree is young. Deep ridges appear as tree ages
  • Can tolerate a variety of soil conditions (Note: Not as drought tolerant as the burr oak)
  • Leaves turn an amazing bright red in the fall
  • This tree needs room to grow, it won't grow well if it doesn't have space
  • Needs full sun

Fun Fact: Sometimes dead leaves stay on oak trees, even in the winter.

Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)

Mature Eastern Whit Pine

  • Fine, soft needles 6-12cm long that grow in bunches of five
  • Needs full sun but can tolerate some shade when young
  • Grows quickly if tree is planted in full sun
  • Ideal for blocking an unsightly view or for creating shade for your house.
  • Grows in any soil type but grows best in a sandy loam

Fun Fact: This tree is the provincial tree of Ontario.

Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.)


  • Smaller variety of tree that grows to around 12m in height
  • Flowers in early spring with tasty edible berries ripe in early to mid-summer
  • Adaptable to all soils - except water logged soils (clay)
  • Beautiful fall foliage
  • Can prune to be a single stemmed tree or naturalized into a multi-stemmed tree
  • Small oval leaves and smooth grey bark
  • Full sun but will tolerate some shade

Fun Fact: Can prune to be a single stemmed tree or naturalized into a multi-stemmed tree.

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. 

Copyright © 2014 The Corporation of the City of St. Catharines