Here’s how Hamilton residents can get a free tree

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Published March 19, 2021 at 1:10 pm

Here’s how Hamilton residents can get a free tree

The Hamilton Naturalists’ Club and Environment Hamilton are offering free trees to local residents wanting to add some natural beauty and shade to their property.

The Trees Please program, which is accepting applications until April 9, is an annual initiative that aims to add to the city’s urban canopy.

According to a City of Hamilton report on its Urban Forest Strategy, in 2020 Hamilton’s tree canopy was 21.2 per cent. The city’s goal to achieve 30 per cent.

Approximately 58 per cent of Hamilton’s more than five million trees are located on private property, the report said, which means residents play a big role in maintaining and adding to the urban canopy.

“Trees around our homes provide myriad benefits to the city, our neighbourhoods, and to our health and well-being,” the program application says.

“Trees filter pollutants from our air, mitigate the urban heat island effects and keep us cool in the summer, reduce pressure on our storm-water management systems, make urban residents healthier, provide habitat for other species and enhance biodiversity in our city.”

This year, Trees Please is giving away seven different species of native trees, all ranging in size and requiring a variety of soil conditions to thrive.

New this year is the Eastern Hemlock which, when it reaches maturity in a few hundred years, is a massive and breathtaking evergreen that can reach heights of 20 metres or more.

Distribution of the free trees is limited to one per household and while supplies last so those interested in taking advantage of the program should apply soon.

Before one can receive a free tree, however, residents are responsible for finding a suitable spot for planting the tree and performing a no-cost locate (where professionals locate buried infrastructure like sewer or electrical lines).

If an application is approved, residents will be able to pick up their new tree on Earth Day 2021 (April 22).

Last year, the Trees Please initiative saw 600 hundred trees planted at homes throughout Hamilton.

For more information on the program and to apply for a free tree, visit Environment Hamilton’s website.

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