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The Toronto Tree Thread

Northern Light

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I have never once seen the city fill up these water bags! They went on a blitz installing them but never filled them up unlike other jurisdictions. Got to wonder how much they costed the city before they were removed.
The bags are put on by whoever installs the tree, generally, which may be the City, but is often a private contractor (the City contracts out a lot of tree planting).

I believe the watering is in the tender conditions, but I can't be sure.

I know with contract tree planting the tenders have a 2-year warranty on the trees which the City can enforce is the tree is dead in under 2 years from planting.

But it would not surprise me if watering wasn't followed up on and replacement trees looked at as a cost of doing business.

Filling water bags for thousands of trees is really an expensive enterprise.

Treegator backs typically require filling once per week in warm weather.

That's one full water truck for 400-800 trees.

Its a very expensive prospect.

I don't recall Parks having any full sized ones in their equipment pool; but I could be wrong. Though I'm quite the City has 1 or 2 buried somewhere.
 

WislaHD

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I think Kentucky Coffee Tree has a much better track record for survival.

Though there is some risk it may be invasive (I've seen it reproducing in ravines); now its near-native....is that the same problem as Norway Maple? No.
The range according to wikipedia, thought it would be of interest.

1595686417481.png

"Gymnocladus dioicus is considered well-suited to urban environments, as it is tolerant of poor soils, has extreme drought tolerance, and is not vulnerable to serious insect infestations or disease problems. It is cultivated by specialty tree plant nurseries as an ornamental tree for planting in gardens and parks. The peculiarly late-emerging and early-dropping leaves, coupled with the fact that the large leaves mean few twigs in the winter profile, make it a tree that is ideal for urban shading where winter sunlight is to be maximized (such as in proximity to solar hot-air systems)."

As a non-expert on the subject, for me the marker for something being native would be if whether it is able to form "plant communities and biological interactions with local flora, fauna, fungi, and other organisms", like other native species. My understanding is that the Norway Maple for instance, forms a kind of ecological desert in our canopy, as other local biology ignores/avoid them.
 

Northern Light

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The range according to wikipedia, thought it would be of interest.

View attachment 259444

"Gymnocladus dioicus is considered well-suited to urban environments, as it is tolerant of poor soils, has extreme drought tolerance, and is not vulnerable to serious insect infestations or disease problems. It is cultivated by specialty tree plant nurseries as an ornamental tree for planting in gardens and parks. The peculiarly late-emerging and early-dropping leaves, coupled with the fact that the large leaves mean few twigs in the winter profile, make it a tree that is ideal for urban shading where winter sunlight is to be maximized (such as in proximity to solar hot-air systems)."

As a non-expert on the subject, for me the marker for something being native would be if whether it is able to form "plant communities and biological interactions with local flora, fauna, fungi, and other organisms", like other native species. My understanding is that the Norway Maple for instance, forms a kind of ecological desert in our canopy, as other local biology ignores/avoid them.
Kentucky Coffee Tree is definitely not native to Toronto, but does appear w/o human intervention in the Windsor area.

I would prefer to see more focus on natives; but I understand the appeal here for the reasons stated above, it performs quite well as a street tree.
 

WislaHD

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Trees are still migrating north from the last glacial period. It is foreseeable that this tree would find itself more commonly in southern Ontario in the coming centuries anyway.
 

Northern Light

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Trees are still migrating north from the last glacial period. It is foreseeable that this tree would find itself more commonly in southern Ontario in the coming centuries anyway.
This is true; and climate change is also causing migration of species.

But we're not entirely sure how species will interact until they do, so there's an element of experimentation.

Including what pests/diseases trees from further south may bring.

One must always be mindful that sometimes (often) solutions bring new problems.

I should add, I don't expect any disasters here.

We've had KCT up here for a while now, without serious concern.

That said, there are under utilized native species.

I also worry that in a search for urban-tolerant species, we're letting transportation/The City off the hook on why the urban environment is so harsh to trees.

More investment in wider medians, deeper, longer trenches, complimentary plantings, irrigation etc. and you can plant a more fulsome range of species as street trees.

The City, in fairness, is working on this with many new developments, and Waterfrontoronto is also showing ambition in this regard.

But I'd like to see more willingness to be disruptive with existing streets rather than assuming the status quo must be accommodated.
 

yrt+viva=1system

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The bags are put on by whoever installs the tree, generally, which may be the City, but is often a private contractor (the City contracts out a lot of tree planting).

I believe the watering is in the tender conditions, but I can't be sure.

I know with contract tree planting the tenders have a 2-year warranty on the trees which the City can enforce is the tree is dead in under 2 years from planting.

But it would not surprise me if watering wasn't followed up on and replacement trees looked at as a cost of doing business.

Filling water bags for thousands of trees is really an expensive enterprise.

Treegator backs typically require filling once per week in warm weather.

That's one full water truck for 400-800 trees.

Its a very expensive prospect.

I don't recall Parks having any full sized ones in their equipment pool; but I could be wrong. Though I'm quite the City has 1 or 2 buried somewhere.
I remember seeing them install on the trees along Spadina Ave, but they were never filled up and then eventually removed. This can't be under that 2-year warranty.

There are days that I get the feeling that the Forestry Department doesn't really know what they are doing at all overall.( eg. tree species that should be selected, where resources are being allocated etc.).
 

lenaitch

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OK tree people (!?). I was out cutting down a tree today and some brush around the base had to be cleared for the saw. When I was cleaning up, I noticed one of the saplings. I first thought the spikey little seeds were chestnut but the leaves are wrong based on my meagre searching. I have seen the odd mature what I thought were chestnuts on the property before and figured some critter carried it in since I can find no trees in the immediate area.

Serendipitously, the sapling had a Monarch butterfly chrysalis - the first one I have ever seen in the wild (we raise Monarchs). Alas, by the looks of the colour it might not be viable. Nearest milkweed plant approx. 30m walk through the bush. Go figure.
IMG_1567.JPG
.

For scale, the seeds are about the size of a smartie, The sapling was about the size of my pinkie.

Southern Georgian Bay.

Thoughts?
IMG_1568.JPG
 

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Northern Light

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OK tree people (!?). I was out cutting down a tree today and some brush around the base had to be cleared for the saw. When I was cleaning up, I noticed one of the saplings. I first thought the spikey little seeds were chestnut but the leaves are wrong based on my meagre searching. I have seen the odd mature what I thought were chestnuts on the property before and figured some critter carried it in since I can find no trees in the immediate area.

Serendipitously, the sapling had a Monarch butterfly chrysalis - the first one I have ever seen in the wild (we raise Monarchs). Alas, by the looks of the colour it might not be viable. Nearest milkweed plant approx. 30m walk through the bush. Go figure. View attachment 260741.

For scale, the seeds are about the size of a smartie, The sapling was about the size of my pinkie.

Southern Georgian Bay.

Thoughts?View attachment 260743
Not a tree; a shrub.

Gooseberry.

More than likely, Prickly Gooseberry:

Ribes cynosbati


Native
 

Ottawan

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I have a personal tree dilemna for which I could use advice.

My home is located near Jane Street between Bloor and Annette. In the backyard, there is a Manitoba Maple that lost a large bough in a severe thunderstorm earlier this month. We have had a few arborists come and take a look at it, and for various reasons, they all say this tree is a lost cause. Two of them mentioned they could file an exemption report to the City which would not even require it to be replaced.

Regardless, I want to replace it with something better. The list of candidate trees recommended by the arborist we will be using is the following:

Autumn Blaze Maple
Common Hackberry
Shademaster Honey Locust
Glenleven Linden
Homestead Elm

Because of constraints, the largest tree they can install is 60mm caliper, which is what they have quoted.

For purely aesthetic reasons, I am not a fan of Honey Locust. Otherwise, I am open to any of these, and am looking for advice on what we should select. I am not that familiar with these trees.

I am hoping to have something that will grow to a nice canopy without much delay, but will also remain healthy over the longterm. The yard is fairly sunny, although there would be some occasional shade daily from tall oak trees a few homes over. One constraint noted by the arborists is that there are some overhead cables near where it will be planted (Rogers & Bell, not Hydro), so whatever is put in will need to be alright with some pruning, especially until the crown reaches above the wires, which I estimate are no more than 20 feet above ground.

Any thoughts from @Northern Light (or others) on the best tree selection would be greatly appreciated!
 
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Northern Light

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I have a personal tree dilemna for which I could use advice.

My home is located near Jane Street between Bloor and Annette. In the backyard, there is a Manitoba Maple that lost a large bough in a severe thunderstorm earlier this month. We have had a few arborists come and take a look at it, and for various reasons, they all say this tree is a lost cause. Two of them mentioned they could file an exemption report to the City which would not even require it to be replaced.

Regardless, I want to replace it with something better. The list of candidate trees recommended by the arborist we will be using is the following:

Autumn Blaze Maple
Common Hackberry
Shademaster Honey Locust
Glenleven Linden
Homestead Elm

Because of constraints, the largest tree they can install is 60mm caliper, which is what they have quoted.

For purely aesthetic reasons, I am not a fan of Honey Locust. Otherwise, I am open to any of these, and am looking for advice on what we should select. I am not that familiar with these trees.

I am hoping to have something that will grow to a nice canopy without much delay, but will also remain healthy over the longterm. The yard is fairly sunny, although there would be some occasional shade daily from tall oak trees a few homes over. One constraint noted by the arborists is that there are some overhead cables near where it will be planted (Rogers & Bell, not Hydro), so whatever is put in will need to be alright with some pruning, especially until the crown reaches above the wires, which I estimate are no more than 20 feet above ground.

Any thoughts from @Northern Light (or others) on the best tree selection would be greatly appreciated!
Excepting the Hackberry, all of the above are cultivars.

Autumn Blaze Maple is an Acer Freeman. So a cross between a Silver Maple and a Red Maple.

I'd prefer you went with a straight native, but that's me. Its your place.

Upside with this tree, bright red fall foliage, fairly hardy, will reach a good size, downside would be that its a clone (if this tree ever faces a pest they're all goners because they are all identical twins as it were.) also its fairly shallow rooted, so you're likely to get a bumpy lawn in the immediate area of the tree, over time.

Hackberry is densely foliated, and medium sized, also pretty hardy. Fall foliage is bright yellow to yellow-green.

The big upside, its excellent for local wildlife: (as per LEAF) It is host to at least five different species of butterfly, including the Tawny Emperor, the Snout Butterfly, the Morning Cloak, the Question Mark, and of course, the rare Hackberry Emperor. Its fruits are attractive to many birds (especially in the winter), including cedar waxwings, woodpeckers, mockingbirds, and robins. The leaves also provide food for many caterpillars.

Downside might be that its not a giant at maturity (But that could be good to, depending on your needs) They also produce some fruit you may need to clean up if the wildlife don't get them.

The Linden is a hard no for me, first because its a cross with a European species, Little Leaf Linden, which is often invasive in Toronto's forests; but secondarily because I find the shape unnatural and goofy looking. Its very pyramid'ish.

Not particularly big on Homestead Elm either, if its the cross I'm familiar with, its 1/2 Siberian Elm. (fairly resistant to Dutch Elm disease though).

*****

Of the above, from my perspective (not yours), I would go w/Hackberry. Maximum ecological value, full-native, not a clone.

I haven't seen your site, but based on your description, mostly sunny, decent drainage, and the list of species you were suggested....

Do you mind nuts?

Red Oak would be lovely, pretty reliable, fond of sandy'ish soils, but will do fine in rich soils.

Bur Oak will put up with almost anything.

Both are easy to find from Toronto area nurseries.

If you went with either of those or any other nut-bearing species, best to have it planted in the spring. Nut bearers and conifers get more stressed when you plant them in the fall.

If you wanted something Linden'ish; the native is Basswood (Tilia americana); can be a bit of a slow grower, but will be a giant one day. (if you go this route, insist on the proper thing, there are so many cultivars)

I could offer more suggestions but would want to know your soil a bit better (sandy, vs rich loam (black/fertile) or more clay'ish.
 

Ottawan

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Excepting the Hackberry, all of the above are cultivars.

Autumn Blaze Maple is an Acer Freeman. So a cross between a Silver Maple and a Red Maple.

I'd prefer you went with a straight native, but that's me. Its your place.

Upside with this tree, bright red fall foliage, fairly hardy, will reach a good size, downside would be that its a clone (if this tree ever faces a pest they're all goners because they are all identical twins as it were.) also its fairly shallow rooted, so you're likely to get a bumpy lawn in the immediate area of the tree, over time.

Hackberry is densely foliated, and medium sized, also pretty hardy. Fall foliage is bright yellow to yellow-green.

The big upside, its excellent for local wildlife: (as per LEAF) It is host to at least five different species of butterfly, including the Tawny Emperor, the Snout Butterfly, the Morning Cloak, the Question Mark, and of course, the rare Hackberry Emperor. Its fruits are attractive to many birds (especially in the winter), including cedar waxwings, woodpeckers, mockingbirds, and robins. The leaves also provide food for many caterpillars.

Downside might be that its not a giant at maturity (But that could be good to, depending on your needs) They also produce some fruit you may need to clean up if the wildlife don't get them.

The Linden is a hard no for me, first because its a cross with a European species, Little Leaf Linden, which is often invasive in Toronto's forests; but secondarily because I find the shape unnatural and goofy looking. Its very pyramid'ish.

Not particularly big on Homestead Elm either, if its the cross I'm familiar with, its 1/2 Siberian Elm. (fairly resistant to Dutch Elm disease though).

*****

Of the above, from my perspective (not yours), I would go w/Hackberry. Maximum ecological value, full-native, not a clone.

I haven't seen your site, but based on your description, mostly sunny, decent drainage, and the list of species you were suggested....

Do you mind nuts?

Red Oak would be lovely, pretty reliable, fond of sandy'ish soils, but will do fine in rich soils.

Bur Oak will put up with almost anything.

Both are easy to find from Toronto area nurseries.

If you went with either of those or any other nut-bearing species, best to have it planted in the spring. Nut bearers and conifers get more stressed when you plant them in the fall.

If you wanted something Linden'ish; the native is Basswood (Tilia americana); can be a bit of a slow grower, but will be a giant one day. (if you go this route, insist on the proper thing, there are so many cultivars)

I could offer more suggestions but would want to know your soil a bit better (sandy, vs rich loam (black/fertile) or more clay'ish.
Thanks!

I love mature oak trees, but I am not keen on waiting decades for the tree to begin to look mature. Maybe that's a misconception on my part, but I thought they were very slow growers.

Based on your post, I am leaning towards the Hackberry, but am concerned about the height. One of the things we appreciate about the Manitoba Maple that is being replaced is seeing it from our bedroom, which faces the rear yard. It is easily 3 - 4 stories in height; not as tall as the surrounding oaks, but a good size.

I planted an apple tree in a different part of the yard last year, and a second one this year (both have graftings of different varietals, and the older one is bearing fruit this year!). Anyway, when I dug those, the soil looked to be a good quality for only the first foot or so, and then I would describe it as maybe a sand/clay mix, leaning towards sandy, if that makes sense.

Not keen on introducing too many more nuts, as the squirrels are already driving my dog nuts (pardon the pun). Other wildlife (with the exception of raccoons and skunks), and particularly butterflies and birds, I am definitely in favour of assisting/attracting.
 

Northern Light

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Thanks!

I love mature oak trees, but I am not keen on waiting decades for the tree to begin to look mature. Maybe that's a misconception on my part, but I thought they were very slow growers.

Based on your post, I am leaning towards the Hackberry, but am concerned about the height. One of the things we appreciate about the Manitoba Maple that is being replaced is seeing it from our bedroom, which faces the rear yard. It is easily 3 - 4 stories in height; not as tall as the surrounding oaks, but a good size.

I planted an apple tree in a different part of the yard last year, and a second one this year (both have graftings of different varietals, and the older one is bearing fruit this year!). Anyway, when I dug those, the soil looked to be a good quality for only the first foot or so, and then I would describe it as maybe a sand/clay mix, leaning towards sandy, if that makes sense.

Not keen on introducing too many more nuts, as the squirrels are already driving my dog nuts (pardon the pun). Other wildlife (with the exception of raccoons and skunks), and particularly butterflies and birds, I am definitely in favour of assisting/attracting.
Oaks range in growth from 1-3ft in a typical year, that puts them on the slower side of growth. (if you want something above roofline (lets say 25ft minimum), a 6ft oak at planting might be 7-19 years to get there.

Acer freemans by comparison have about the same max, but have around a 2ft minimum giving you a 7-10 year range.

Hackberrys are also slow growers, typically 1-2ft per year (sometimes more); max tree height ranges from 30ft to 50ft depending on the individual and how much it likes the spot you found for it.

Sugar Maple would like slightly richer soils than average and a smidge moister; but can give you a 70ft tree; though again, its a bit slow, 1-2ft per year for most specimens.

Skipping the nut bearers (of which Ontario has many), and conifers, there are some other choices out there. The knock on any native elm is that Dutch Elm disease is a material risk as the tree ages (too bad, great species, fast grower too)

Also nixing Poplars, I'm assuming, because while they are fast growers, they tend to only last 25-40 years in the City. (but can reach full height in under 20, very fast growers)

Black Cherry might be an interesting choice. Prunus serotina

They are towards the faster end of growth rate, 2-3ft per year; and reach 60-70ft at maturity; and tolerate a wide range of soils.

Below is a picture of a mature specimen.

1596820243676.png

Image from: https://notsohollowfarm.ca/product/prunus-serotina-black-cherry/

Tree becomes a lovely orange in the fall folding towards red in some specimens.

Downside, the tree fruit is a bit messy.
 
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