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The Toronto Tree Thread

I was going through the new documents that Waterfront Toronto posted for the Portlands and came across these two slides about planting and thought this was an educational opportunity.

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Any particularly good selections? Any that are particularly bad, questionable or raise the eyebrow in some ways?
 

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I was going through the new documents that Waterfront Toronto posted for the Portlands and came across these two slides about planting and thought this was an educational opportunity.

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View attachment 159242

Any particularly good selections? Any that are particularly bad, questionable or raise the eyebrow in some ways?

Ginko is a not useful from an ecological perspective.

That's why landscape architect's love it. LOL

Nothing eats it, nothing calls its home. Birds, insects, pretty much everything eschews it.

Does make it moderately durable in theory (not subject to as much risk from pests), haven't noticed it being overly invasive, but not a great performer either.

Not a fan of English Oak, which is non-native here, (European), never seen it be invasive, but will double check w/others. Rarely seen it used and successful.

Red Maple very rarely succeeds in urban environments. Compaction and pollution intolerant.

Of those top 8, Red Oak gets a gold star for being native, and being reasonably successful.

White Oak is native/near-native (very northern limit of range).

Swamp variety is a consistently good performer. (Swamp White Oak).

Honey Locust is near-native, but very durable. Haven't noted that particular varietal of it. But variations on it are a favourite for parking lots. It puts up with a lot.

*****

Tamarack, great species, used in some places it shouldn't be, just because it won't survive. Its a swamp-edge species that likes its feet wet. Ontario's only conifer that turns yellow in the fall and loses its needles.

Gorgeous in October.

Just don't plant it in dry areas or slope tops.

Highbush cranberry I desperately want to tell you I like. Why? Its native, and great for wildlife.

Only problem, in my experience, 90% of nurseries have the European variety and don't even know it. Planting the wrong one has far less habitat benefit and its highly invasive.

To be fair, you really have to know your stuff to tell them apart. (I find it quite challenging and I know what to look for)

https://extension.umaine.edu/cranberries/highbush-cranberry/

How does one tell the difference between the true, Americanum highbush cranberry form (Viburnum opulus var. americanum) and the poor-tasting and invasive European form, when there is no fruit to taste-test or compare? Answer (provided by Charles Armstrong and Donald Mairs): It isn’t easy! One must examine the petiolar glands, which are the little flat structures where the petiole joins the leaf blade. Do not confuse these with the mini-tendrils that are further back where the petiole joins the stem. With the truly native americanum form, the petiolar glands are variously described as convex (bulging outward), club-shaped, or columnar. This is contrasted with the European (opulus) form, whose petiolar glands are concave (either flat on top or slightly dented in appearance).

Rugosa Rose is native to Asia and considered invasive. Though off-hand, I can't recall seeing it on a list of problem species for Toronto, I will investigate further.

Spirea very much depends on what species we're talking about, some are native, some are non-native invasive; huge family.
 
To increase the size of the tree canopy, I would love to see the city plant trees in the barren parks. So many of them are waste lands fried by scorching sunlight in the summer, and hardly anyone ever plays soccer, baseball, whatever.
 
Come again? Examples of such parks? Oh, the neighborhood parks around public schools for examples. And even big parks like Centennial could use many more trees.
 
*Cross-Posting this from the Queen's Quay thread*

And......there finally replacing all the dead trees; 154 of them.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/20...long-queens-quay-waterfront-toronto-says.html

The Good News:

Trees are being replaced.

They at least have the good sense to change up and increase the variety of species being used.

Princeton Elm, Valley Forge Elm, Skyline Honey Locust, Marmo Maple, Autumn Fantasy Maple, and Jeffersred Maple.

The Bad News:

First they are doing this in fall. Which for these species should be fine, but spring is always better, particularly if salt conditions are clearly part of the problem.

Second, they are not changing the actual planting conditions such that the risk of salt damage will decline materially, they are merely hoping that this selection of species will be more salt tolerant (it should be......)

Third, they are using a lot of cultivar clones which still subjects them to undue risk of similar disease.

Note in the article the quote from LEAF which hints at the issues around salt, and around severely trimmed root balls which I highlighted recently in discussing the new Habour Street trees.
 
*Cross-Posting this from the Queen's Quay thread*

And......there finally replacing all the dead trees; 154 of them.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/20...long-queens-quay-waterfront-toronto-says.html

The Good News:

...

How comfortable are you with letters to the editor? If you sent this to The Star in response to their recent article, ideally the odds of them publishing it would be high, and if published would probably be more noticed and heeded than a private letter to the Waterfront Toronto powers that be.
 
The WT notice mentions road salt as one of the contributing factors to the high rate of tree death. Given the fact that road salt levels aren’t going to change, and aren’t even under WT’s jurisdiction, why wouldn’t we expect many of the new trees to die as well?
 
The WT notice mentions road salt as one of the contributing factors to the high rate of tree death. Given the fact that road salt levels aren’t going to change, and aren’t even under WT’s jurisdiction, why wouldn’t we expect many of the new trees to die as well?

We do expect many to die.

The result shouldn't be as bad as last time as the new species list is broadly more salt/winter tolerant than the previous choices.

Ideally, they would have made changes to pits where the trees are to reduce salt exposure as well as introduce a better snow/ice management plan which reduced the use of salt; however the species selection is something.

I'd be hoping for 3/4 survival......(given the conditions, anything better would require good luck) But worse is certainly possible.
 
If at least one in four newly planted trees will die shortly after planting because we’re incapable of constructing proper tree pits to protect them against salt poisoning, maybe it’s time to give up.
 
If at least one in four newly planted trees will die shortly after planting because we’re incapable of constructing proper tree pits to protect them against salt poisoning, maybe it’s time to give up.
Well if there is a 75% survival rate and we plant 154 trees, then it would just take 4 rounds of replacing trees to finally get it right.

Round 1 - 115/154 trees planted survive.
Round 2 - 29/39 trees planted survive
Round 3 - 7.5/10 trees survive (one tree just sort of hanging in there)
Round 4 - Maybe we finally wise up and build salt protection barriers?
 
Well if there is a 75% survival rate and we plant 154 trees, then it would just take 4 rounds of replacing trees to finally get it right.

Round 1 - 115/154 trees planted survive.
Round 2 - 29/39 trees planted survive
Round 3 - 7.5/10 trees survive (one tree just sort of hanging in there)
Round 4 - Maybe we finally wise up and build salt protection barriers?
Round 4 sounds about right. You’re also assuming that any tree that survives its first 3 or 4 years will live to its natural life expectancy, which might be a bit of a stretch
 
If at least one in four newly planted trees will die shortly after planting because we’re incapable of constructing proper tree pits to protect them against salt poisoning, maybe it’s time to give up.

I wouldn't give up, but we certainly can and should expect better.

But its worth saying, that in urban areas the 'gold standard' for naturalization plantings in parks areas is 70% survival after 3 years (which is partly why planting sites are often so dense, its to offset losses).

That said, I know better can be achieved ;)

But with street tree plantings getting 75% wouldn't actually be terrible. Its not great, and they should have hit that the last time but for an incredibly poor species choice................

I think the best you could hope for after 3 years in an urban setting is 90% and that's if you do just about everything perfect.

I'm still disappointed w/where Waterfrontoronto and PFR (Parks, Forestry and Recreation) are at; but its a material improvement.

I will tell you that I know for sure PFR has staff that know better.

But there is a need to raise 'base' standards.

We're moving towards 'good' across the board...........we need to move towards 'very good/excellent' w/greater consistency.
 
Here's a real dose of optimism alive and growing. Slightly off-topic, but germane to all the tree lovers here (I knew this could be done, had no idea it was this far along!)
Iceland Is Growing New Forests for the First Time in 1,000 Years | Short Film Showcase
 

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