Ottawa Roots for Life

Municipal initiatives and Ecology Ottawa are working together to plant their way to a greener city within three years. The local ‘community champion program’ plans to add a minimum of 150,000 trees to Ottawa’s green spaces annually, with a goal of planting 1 million new trees by 2017.

There are plenty of reasons you should be excited about the proposal. Trees that block the sunlight in warmer months can cool your house and keep air-conditioning costs down, and a few good looking, mature trees can increase your land value and help your house sell if you put it on the market. Trees absorb toxic carbon dioxide, they emit fresh oxygen, they can help you deal with stress and even improve blood pressure.

Local trees’ biggest threat is the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle, which has taken a destructive toll on Ottawa’s green space. The beetle first appeared in Ottawa in 2008, and these little bugs have led to the removal of more than 15,000 local trees since. To offset this destruction, plenty of municipally funded ‘tree-planting’ programs are available for Ottawa residents, here are a few initiatives for your consideration:

Trees in Trust: Trees in Trust is a local community initiative for planting and maintaining trees on streets near your home or business. The City of Ottawa provides trees on a ‘first come-first serve basis.’ Requests are reviewed bi-annually, in the Spring and Fall seasons.

Commemorative Tree Planting Program: The Commemorative Tree Planting Program was established in 1989 and involves planting trees in memory of loved ones who have passed away. Ottawa Forestry services work together with family members to choose a local park for the new trees. Forestry Services offers options for the installation of plaques next to the tree.

Parks and Streetscape Tree Planting: Parks and Streetscape Tree Planting aids the enrichment of city parks, facilities and streets. The City of Ottawa works with members of the community to identify opportunities for instatement of new trees throughout Ottawa and surrounding areas.

Schoolyard Tree Planting Grant: The Schoolyard Tree planting Grant focuses on development initiatives in Ottawa schoolyards. The Schoolyard Tree Planting Grant Program aligns to Strategic Initiative 19 – “Increase Forest Cover, under the 2015-2018 Sustainable Environmental Services Strategic Priority. These tree-planting projects will preserve and enhance forest cover and ensure the sustainability of the urban and rural forest.”

The City of Ottawa’s Forestry Services Branch offers annual grants for each aforementioned program. The maximum grant per application is ten thousand ($10,000). The City of Ottawa supplies funding in financial grants, as well as providing trees for planting.

Tree planting must be completed within 18 months of any grant approval, and it is the responsibility of the individual or group approved for any grant application, to water and care for the tree on an ongoing basis. The City of Ottawa also reserves the right to perform follow-up inspections.

Three key questions to consider before submitting your application:

  1. Is the space and location’s soil quality suitable for a new tree?
  2. Does the location’s taxpayer consent to the planting of new trees?
  3. What conflicts with existing city regulations and maintenance, if any, exist?

The City of Ottawa accepts applications January.1-June 1 each year. Approved Grants will then be awarded for the spring season of the following year. You can find out more at