New backyard tree planting program

In partnership with the City of Cambridge and LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests), Reep Green Solutions has launched a new subsidized tree planting program for homeowners in Cambridge.

Homeowners pay the subsidized price of approximately $150 – $220/per tree depending upon the tree(s) chosen. That price includes the cost of the tree, a personalized consultation, delivery and a full planting, along with a long-term care guide.

Learn more and sign up for the program at www.reepgreen.ca/trees.

The City of Cambridge is responsible for maintaining trees on public property (City-owned trees). Property owners are responsible for maintaining the trees on their private property. These are privately owned trees.

Municipal tree services include:

  • Tree removal
  • Tree trimming
  • Tree planting (spring and fall)
  • Fertilizing
  • Disease diagnosis
  • Pest diagnosis
  • After hours emergency service, such as tree damage during a wind storm

Contact the Forestry Call Centre for information about municipal trees or municipal tree services. If you are calling after hours for emergency tree services, please call (519) 621-0740.

Tree maintenance

Our Forestry department manages the maintenance of City-owned trees, including trimming, removal and fertilizing.

 Why do we have tree by-laws?
The City Tree By-law applies to City-owned trees. This includes trees along the side of roadways, in our parks and in woodlots.
 Am I allowed to remove or trim any trees?
Cutting or trimming of City-owned trees is a violation of City Tree By-law. Homeowners must confirm ownership of a tree on or near their property before doing any work on it, such as trimming.
 Can I maintain a City-owned tree in front of my home?

We appreciate your help with watering newly planted trees, as well as any tree during long periods of drought. For all other maintenance issues of City-owned trees, contact the Forestry Call Centre.

If you are calling after hours for emergency tree services, please call (519) 740-4681 ext. 4017.

 When does the City remove trees?
We remove trees when they are a safety hazard or dying. We prioritize removal schedules by severity of the issue. The City removes trees all-year-round. 
 Why does it take so long to get a tree near my property trimmed?

Every spring our Forestry Call Centre receives thousands of work requests. It can take our staff months to complete the large number of requests we get.

An ice storm or a windstorm can prevent us from getting to your tree right away, as safety hazards and dangerous trees take priority and move to the top of our work list.

 Who cleans up after trees are trimmed or removed?
Both City employees and contractors are responsible for thoroughly cleaning up after themselves. Please note that larger wood may be left on your property until appropriate equipment is available to remove it.
 Does the City own the tree in front of my house?
If the tree is between the sidewalk and the curb, it's a City-owned tree. If there isn't a sidewalk or the tree is located on your front yard, contact the Forestry Call Centre to have a tree technician come out to measure property lines and determine if the tree is privately owned or City-owned.
 Do I have to trim a newly planted tree?
No, you shouldn't prune trees for the first year or two after planting it. City contractors do everything required for the tree at the time of planting.
 What types of trees can be found in the City of Cambridge?
The City of Cambridge keeps a City Tree Inventory. View a map of the City Tree Inventory, listed under the Civic and Recreation section of our map database. You can zoom in on a property and use the "i" button in the menu on the right side of the screen to click on a tree and view its Attribute Details, which tells you the type of tree and its size.
 How do you measure the size of a tree?
When we refer to the size of a tree, we usually use the girth of the tree's trunk. We measure the girth of a tree trunk by a standard arboricultural method called "diameter at breast height" or "dbh".
 Whom can I contact for help?

Got questions about trees in or around your neighbourhood? Call the Forestry Call Centre for help.

Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Have a tree-related emergency after regular business hours? Call (519) 740-4681 ext. 4017 for help.

Tree planting

The City of Cambridge plants new trees in spring and fall to improve and support our Urban Forestry planning.

 What kind of trees does the City plant?
The City of Cambridge plants a wide selection of tree species. The Tree Planting Variety list contains varieties best suited to grow in our area. Residents are welcome to request a particular type of tree for planting, but City staff makes the final choice based on tree form, site space, overhead utilities and the soil types in an area.
 Do I have to take care of new trees on or near my property?

The City relies on residents to help with the care of new, young trees. We deliver a tree care pamphlet to your door on the day we plant the tree.

Water it thoroughly once a week in dry weather. Please use caution when using grass trimmers near the tree. The City appreciates your help with caring for the new trees, however, please do not trim or prune the trees.
 Can I still have a new tree planted, if there isn't a lot of space?
Sometimes there just isn't enough space to plant a new tree, even if there was a big tree there before. Decades ago, trees were often planted in very narrow boulevards but when the trees got large they would damage the sidewalk, curb or road. We try to avoid these problems now by not planting a tree unless there is enough space for it to grow to its mature size.
 What types of trees grow well in my area?
Interested in planting a tree on your property? View our list of What Trees Grow Best for suggestions of native trees you may wish to plant. The list also includes invasive and exotic species you should avoid planting.
 When will my tree be planted?
We plant trees in the spring and fall. This is the best time of year to transplant trees. Some species of trees can only be planted in spring and others only in fall. If you are in a new subdivision, the street trees will be planted once all roadside landscaping is complete, including sod.
 What will my new tree look like?

In general, we plant trees that are two to three metres tall, with a trunk about four to five centimetres thick. We stake the new tree with two wooden stakes and biodegradable twine to brace it for the first year.

View our Tree Planting Variety list for information about the different types of trees we provide.

 Where will a new tree be planted?

The location of a new tree depends on a few things, including:

  • Mature tree size
  • Soil volume
  • Buildings and hydro lines in the area

If the new tree is replacing a small tree, it will likely go in the same location as the previous tree. If the new tree is replacing a very large tree, the new tree can't go in the exact same spot, because roots from the former tree impede growth for the new tree.

 What is the Tree Dedication Program?

Cambridge's Tree Dedication Program is a way to remember a loved one, celebrate a birth, honour a retiree or commemorate any other event. The program plants trees in approved areas within City parks and cemeteries.

Contact the Forestry Call Centre for more information about the program and associated costs.
 How to I take part in the Tree Dedication Program?

When you apply to dedicate a tree through our program, the Manager of Horticulture and Forestry Services will:

  1. Approve your preferred species of tree, if suitable for the area
  2. Approve the site for planting and suggest alternative sites, if required
  3. Purchase the tree and determine if it's healthy upon its arrival
  4. Have the Forestry department properly maintain the tree once it's planted.  Trees are warrantied for a two (2) year period and plaques for ten (10) years.

All costs for participating in the program must be made payable to the City of Cambridge Community Services department before the planting date.

If you request a memorial plaque for your tree dedication, it must be ordered six weeks before the planting date. We can also install it at a later date, if needed. Costs for a memorial plaque vary and you must include your payment with your order.

Diseases and pests

Currently, the most significant issue impacting trees in the City of Cambridge is the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).

What is an Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)?
The EAB is a species of beetle, which attacks and kills ash trees. Originally found in Asia, the EAB has killed millions of trees in North America.
Where are EAB infestations found in Cambridge?
This pest was originally detected in two woodlands on either side of Highway 401 at Homer Watson Boulevard within the cities of Cambridge and Kitchener. It is thought that this forest pest arrived at this location along the highway several years ago and since that time has become well established throughout Cambridge.
 How will Cambridge solve the EAB issue?

Out of about 55,000 street trees in the City of Cambridge, more than 4,000 are infested with EAB. Certified arborists inspect our ash trees and assign a rating based on several factors, including:

  • Infestation level
  • Structural condition

Using this rating system, we schedule tree removals in a priority sequence, beginning with the highest priority trees.

Learn more about the City's Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Management Action Plan.
When will infected trees be removed?
The City of Cambridge Forestry department will begin removing infested ash trees in late March. We ask for your patience as we ramp up our resources to deal with the infestation.
Who can I contact for more information?
Contact the Forestry Call Centre for more information about EABs and our plan to solve this issue.