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Free Tree Giveaway

  • Saturday, June 1, 2019
  • 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 five different varieties.


Tree Species Available

  • Red Pine - A coniferous tree growing to 20-30m tall when mature. Called "red" pine for its reddish-pink bark. This tree needs a lot of sunlight and room to grow, the roots grow deep into the ground and are fairly widespread.
  • Freeman's Maple - A hybrid of the silver maple (fast grower) and red maple (beautiful fall colour and habit). This is a fast growing tree and will grow to about 15-25m tall when mature. This tree is pollution tolerant and can tolerate very wet conditions. It needs full sun to grow.
  • Yellow Birch - A medium sized tree growing up to 25m tall when mature. A fairly slow grower but can live about 150 years. This tree prefers moist soil and is not very drought tolerant and will require watering. It is moderately shade tolerant.
  • Blue Beech - Also known as American Hornbeam or Musclewood tree for its smooth-gray trunk. A slow growing tree with very hard wood growing up to 8m tall when mature. This is a smaller deciduous tree with angular branches and slender twigs. It prefers moist soils and can tolerate seasonal flooding. Blue Beech can also tolerate full shade or full sun with ample moisture.
  • Alternate-Leaf Dogwood - Also known as Pagoda Dogwood. Large clusters of white flowers appear in the spring, followed by dark blue berries in the summer. Will grow up to 10m tall when mature and prefers well-drained, deep soils. This tree does not tolerate drought situations well so it must be watered. It prefers partial shade.

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 past year's Free Tree Giveaways are eligible for a tree at the even on June 1.

 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