tree with red leaves

City Departments



Focus on Trees Contest entry form, contest rules and guidelines
Fill in the entry form (on the last page) and send us your art/photo with a sentence or two by February 20, 2015. Art/photos will be displayed in City Hall. Winners will be honoured at a City Council meeting. Winning image on the cover of the Urban Forest Plan, and 7 trees planted with plaques for the winners.

The October meeting kicked off the process by looking at a vision for the urban forest while the January 14th meeting will present a draft Urban Forest Plan for comments. Comments and suggestions are due January 30, 2015. It is anticipated that the Urban Forest Plan, and Emerald Ash Borer Strategy, will go to Council in March/April 2015 for consideration.

We're looking for your feedback on the 31 recommendations proposed in the draft Urban Forest Plan ("support", "neutral", "do not support") as well as any other comments and suggestions you have for the Plan and Cambridge's urban forest and trees. Please take a moment to complete this survey to provide us with your input.

Please submit your survey by January 30th, 2015:
  • Through email:
  • In person: drop it off at the January 14th public meeting or up to January 30th at the Community Services Counter at Cambridge City Hall
  • By mail: Urban Forest Plan, 50 Dickson Street, PO Box 669, Cambridge , ON, N1R 5W8

Public Meeting / Consultation Session
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Bowman Room, main floor, Cambridge City Hall, 50 Dickson Street (parking in the back of City Hall off Thorne and Cambridge Streets)
5:30 to 7 p.m. - optional informal Open House/Drop-In (chat one-on-one with consultants and City staff about the draft Urban Forest Plan)
7 to 8:30 p.m. - Public Meeting (presentations, Q & A, facilitated discussion by Urban Forest Innovations and Beacon Environmental)
Urban Forest Plan - Second Draft

October 23, 2014 Public Meeting
At the meeting we reviewed the state of Cambridge's trees and urban forest through the Canopy Assessment and some of the work associated with the Emerald Ash Borer inventory and strategy. The Canopy Assessment and December 2013 report to Council on the Emerald Ash Borer Strategy can be found in the documents below.

Emerald Ash Borer Strategy

The inventory of all Cambridge street trees (about 50,000) is complete and we anticipate bringing an Emerald Ash Borer Strategy for dealing with thousands of Ash trees to Council in early January, 2015.

Ash street tree removals are ongoing and represent the highest priority ranking for our Forestry Call Centre and response. We ask for your patience as we ramp up our resources to deal with this difficult situation.

Municipal tree services include:

  • tree removal/trimming
  • planting (spring and fall), fertilizing
  • disease diagnosis
  • pest diagnosis
  • after hours emergency service (ie. tree damaged during a wind storm)

Cutting or trimming of City owned trees is a violation of City By-law #71-06, which regulates tree preservation and propagation. The homeowner is responsible to determine ownership of a tree(s) on or adjacent to their property prior to undertaking any maintenance/trimming. The municipality has no jurisdiction on the removal or trimming of trees located on private property.

The City of Cambridge plants a wide selection of tree species. The Tree Planting Variety list contains varieties best suited to grow in urban conditions. Residents are welcome to request a particular variety, but City staff will make the final choice based on tree form, site space, overhead utilities, and the soil types in an area (details included on the variety list). The City relies on residents to help with the care of new, young trees. A detailed tree care bulletin will be delivered to your door the day the tree is planted. Water it deeply once a week in dry weather. Please use caution when using grass trimmers near the tree. The City appreciates residents' help caring for the new trees, however, please do not trim or prune the trees.

If you require our services, or need information about municipal trees, please phone the Forestry Call Centre at 519.740.4681, ext. 4017 or email If you are calling after hours regarding emergency tree services please call 519.621.0740.

Tree Dedication Programme

The Community Services Department is pleased to be able to offer a Commemorative Tree Planting Programme. This programme may be used as a form of remembrance of a loved one, celebration of a birth, honoring a retiree, or any other event which you feel should be commemorated by living tribute. Trees will be planted in approved areas within City Parks and Cemeteries.

Please feel free to contact the Forestry Division at 519.740.4681 ext. 4017, if you have any questions concerning this program, and its associated costs.


  1. The manager of Horticulture & Forestry Services reserves the right to:
    1. Approve any preferred species of tree.
    2. Approve the site for planting and suggest alternative sites.
    3. Purchase the tree and deem the tree healthy upon its arrival.

  2. Once planted the tree becomes the sole responsibility of the Forestry Department, who will endeavour to keep the tree properly maintained.

  3. Total costs are payable to the City of Cambridge Community Services Department before the planting date.

If a memorial plaque is requested it must be ordered 6 weeks prior to planting time. It can, however, be installed at a later date. Payment must accompany order. All costs may be subject to change.

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)
Ash tree

The City will complete a street tree inventory in Autumn 2014.
A parks/City properties inventory will take place in 2015.
An Emerald Ash Borer Strategy is anticipated to be presented to Council in early 2015. The EAB Strategy will involve the removal of 3000+ Ash trees. Replanting will take place following the removal.

The Emerald Ash Borer has been detected in two woodlands on either side of the Highway 401 at Homer Watson Boulevard in the Cities of Cambridge and Kitchener. It is thought that this forest pest arrives at this location along the Highway several years ago and since that time has become well established in the woodlands.

EAB has killed a large number of Ash trees in southwestern Ontario and poses a major economic and environmental threat to urban and forested areas across Canada and the U.S.

EAB does not pose a risk to human health.

The Cities of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and the Townships of North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich, along the Grand River Conservation Authority along with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are working in cooperation to implement measures to help slow the spread of the pest as well as keep residents informed about what this means to Waterloo Region.

For inquiries regarding EAB in the City of Cambridge, you may contact the Forestry Call Centre at 740-4681 x 4017 or email

What Trees Grow Best Where You Live - Ontario's Tree Atlas
This document provides some suggestions on native trees you may wish to consider planting and others that you may wish to avoid as they are invasive, exotic species.

Urban Forest Management in Cambridge

Trees in Cambridge provides a summary of the Urban Forest planning initiatives in 2014 and how you can become involved.

Urban Canopy Assessment Report
In December 2013 Council received the Urban Canopy Assessment Report (a copy of the report is below) which showed that the city has an overall canopy of 27% tree coverage, various neighbourhoods range in tree coverage from 5-47%, and that a further 25% increase in tree coverage is possible through planting. The report also demonstrated the millions of dollars worth of ecosystem services that trees in the city provide us including energy conservation, stormwater management, and air pollution removal. The Mapbook in the Report below shows current canopy coverage, potential plantable areas, and ecosystem services for 38 neighbourhoods, and every lot, in the city. This document provides information to carry into the next step, the Urban Forest Plan.

City Tree Inventory and Emerald Ash Borer Management Strategy
In December 2013 Council approved an inventory of City street and park trees (a copy of the report is below). This information will be used in the short term to develop an Emerald Ash Borer Management Strategy for the current largest threat to our urban forest. The inventory will also be used to improve City Forestry operations and management, and will contribute to the Urban Forest Plan.

Urban Forest Plan
The City of Cambridge is developing an Urban Forest Plan to manage, improve, and increase our benefits and quality of life from healthy trees around us. Over the course of 2014, residents, groups, and students are asked to contribute ideas to the plan, review the recommendations, create art for the cover, and plant trees through the Cambridge Stewardship project. Public information centres, art contests, public meetings, and other ways of providing input into the Urban Forest Plan are underway.
What can you do?

  • Check out the Urban Forest Canopy Assessment report
  • Play with the Urban Forest Canopy Mapbook and look at your local tree canopy in your neighbourhood, at your school, on your property, on your nearest park.
  • Attend the Forest Festival (October 7th, 8th, and 9th, 2014) with your class
  • Keep checking this page for updates, public meetings, reports, invitations
  • Send your ideas for the Urban Forest Plan and review the document, get on the mailing list.
  • Plant a tree on your property and/or join us in a Cambridge Stewardship tree planting event
  • Enter the Forest Plan cover art drawing contest with your family or class - win a tree and get your picture on the cover!
  • Book a speaker to present the Urban Forest Canopy to your group

Trees are for Health

Besides the stormwater, air quality enhancement, and carbon storage benefits of trees, the shade provided by mature trees helps protect our health. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Canada. Shade can reduce ultraviolet exposure by as much as 75% and has been shown to be an effective strategy to reduce skin cancer. With increasing skin cancer rates and summer high temperatures combined with paved surfaces, the shade provided by trees (or other shade structures) is more important than ever.

The City of Cambridge Official Plan contains policies for the provision of shade in both private and public spaces. In public spaces the City has committed, under Chapter 7.1, The Open Space System, to provide shade wherever feasible in parks, and in partnership with the Grand River Conservation Authority, Region of Waterloo, and School Boards, community organizations and private landowners, to provide increased shade in other areas of the city. For new developments, the City Official Plan (Chapter 5.14 Urban Design Guidelines; and chapter 5.15 Urban Design Studies) may require developers to undertake shade/sunlight audits and provide increased shade through Landscape Plans, Site Plan Agreements, or the Tree Management process.

The Region of Waterloo Public Health Department, and community partners such as School Boards and Cities, have been actively working on projects to increase shade to read more about what is going on, check out this report Promotion of Shade to Prevent Skin Cancer and Enhance Our Urban Environment (August 14, 2012; PH-12-031/P-12-087).

Finally, as we develop and implement our City of Cambridge Urban Forest Plan, we will take a look at what others have done. Not too long ago, the City of Toronto pioneered new actions around providing more shade in an urban area in order to decrease skin cancer rates (especially among the young) and reduce the island effect. Toronto Shade Policy Committee produced this 14-minute video to mark just over 10 years of collaboration, policy development, design guidelines, community involvement, and projects for more shade -

Related Documents

2015 Urban Forest Plan Consultant Presentation presentation as provided by the consultants for the City of Cambridge Urban Forest Plan. 2015-01-16 PDF 1004Kb
2014 Urban Forest Plan - Second Draft   2015-01-13 PDF 2707Kb
Cambridge Urban Forest Plan Survey 2015   2015-01-09 PDF 624Kb
Trees in Cambridge A summary of the canopy assessment, tree inventory, and urban forest plan process for Cambridge. 2014-03-13 PDF 1073Kb
Urban Canopy Assessment Report - Part 2 Mapbook 2014-01-20 PDF 22551Kb
Urban Canopy Assessment Report - Part 1 Urban Canopy Assessment Report 2014-01-17 PDF 3614Kb
Emerald Ash Borer Management Strategy Report to Council 2014-01-17 PDF 3409Kb
Tree Management Guidelines and Policies For development and planning applications. 2013-07-24 PDF 372Kb