tree with red leaves

Focus on Trees Contest Winners

Thank you to everyone who submitted artwork for the Focus on Trees contest. The winners will be featured in our Urban Forest Plan.

Congratulations to all our winners:

  • Galt Collegiate Institute ESL Art Class (teacher: Leigh-Anne Lowes) cover of City of Cambridge Urban Forest Plan (The Roots to Our Future)
  • Jennifer Depencier
  • Deborah Xi, Centennial Public School (teacher: Sandra Fuller)
  • Blair Road Public School grade 4 class (teacher: Donna Pilkington)
  • Sarah Dyer
  • Zohra Kharodia, Galt Collegiate Insitute (teacher: Carol Rankie)
  • Community Living LINKS group (Kerri Galvao)

City Departments


The Urban Forest Plan (2015-2034) and the Emerald Ash Borer Action Plan were approved by Council on June 16, 2015.

Thanks to all those that participated in the consultation/open house sessions, presentations, and who contributed art and photos to the Focus on Trees in Cambridge/Urban Forest Plan cover contest. Thank you to Cambridge and North Dumfries Community Foundation and Ages Foundation for sponsoring the Focus on Trees contest and celebrating the winners with trees to be planted in their honour.

Urban Canopy Assessment Report
In December 2013 Council received the Urban Canopy Assessment Report which showed the 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. The document provides information to carry into the next step, the Urban Forest Plan.

Emerald Ash Borer Strategy

The inventory of all Cambridge street trees (about 55,000) is complete and over 4,000 of our street trees are infested with Emerald Ash Borer.

Ash Removal Program - 2015

The Emerald Ash Borer was originally detected in two woodlands on either side of Hwy 401 at Homer Watson Blvd. in the cities of Cambridge and Kitchener. It is thought that this forest pest arrived at this location along the hwy. several years ago and since that time has become well established throughout Cambridge.

In late March the City of Cambridge Forestry division will begin removing Ash trees infested by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Ash street tree removals will 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.

During the recently completed street tree inventory, over 5,000 Ash trees were identified and inspected throughout Cambridge. During inspection by certified arborists these trees were assigned a rating based on several factors including infestation level and structural condition. Using this rating system, removals will be scheduled and addressed in priority sequence beginning with the highest priority trees.

For inquiries regarding the Ash removal program or EAB in the City of Cambridge, you may contact the Forestry Call Centre at (519) 740-4681 ext. 4017 or email

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 Program

This program 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.

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.

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 -
The Waterloo Region Shade Work Group produced a Shade Tree List for use by residents, developers, and municipalities interested in maximizing shade in our neighbourhoods.

Urban Forest Canopy and Potential Plantable Area Mapping
The Canopy Assessment mapping can be found online and you can start from the “Neighbourhood view”, zoom in on your property, and see the current tree canopy coverage and potential plantable area that was developed through the Canopy Assessment project (2013).

City Street Tree Inventory Mapping
This link will take you to the City Tree Inventory. You can zoom in on a property, use the “I” Info/Identify button on the left to click on a tree. A box will pop up – at the top, where it says “Attribute Details for” use the pull-down menu to click on “Tree Inventory” – this will give you the kind (species) of tree and it’s size (girth of the trunk as measured by a standard arboricultural method called “diameter at breast height” or “dbh”)

Related Documents

EAB Action Plan Action plan for the Emerald Ash Borer 2015-12-07 PDF 368Kb
Shade Tree List   2015-12-07 PDF 3504Kb
city of cambridge urban forest plan report report submitted by the City of Cambridge outlining the urban forest plan for the Cambridge 2015-12-07 PDF 5896Kb
Cambridge Urban Forest Canopy Assessment - maps part 1 maps that accompany the urban forest canopy assessment for Cambridge - part 1 2015-05-27 PDF 9124Kb
Cambridge Urban Forest Canopy Assessment - maps part 2 maps that accompany the urban forest canopy assessment for Cambridge - part 2 2015-05-27 PDF 11529Kb
Cambridge Urban Forestry Canopy Assessment report and map book re: Cambridge's urban forest canopy 2015-05-26 PDF 4754Kb
Tree Management Guidelines and Policies - aoda For development and planning applications. 2015-03-12 PDF 364Kb