Trees, please: Royal Botanical Gardens begins annual collection


Published December 16, 2022 at 2:41 pm

To real-tree or fake-tree at holiday time is an age-old consideration — and there is a way in the Hamilton area to ensure the former contributes to conservation.

Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) has opened registration for its annual tree collections. The nature sanctuary, which is headquartered in Burlington, needs a maximum of 2,000 trees that will be strategically placed in critical zones to support stream-restoration projects around aquatic ecosystems. For instance, since the project began, RBG has placed 175,000 trees into the banks of the Chedoke and Grindstone Creeks, where their branches begin to collect and retain suspended sediment which helps form a riverbank.

On its website, RBG describes donation as a means to, “Let your tree continue to work for nature even after it’s done its traditional duty.” The donations are not limited to a solo household’s Christmas tree.

“Not only do we have the solo tree drop-offs, we have witnessed individuals organize neighbourhood pickups and deliver dozens of trees, and businesses deliver by the truckload,” RBG states. “The generosity is magnificent, and the evidence is in the wetlands.”

Other benefits from public delivering trees to RBG include:

  • Fortifying and stabilizing riverbanks in the 980-hectare nature sanctuary. This helps channel the flow of water during high-water events, such as heavy rains or a thaw when there is significant snow accumulation.
  • Creating essential habitats for birds, mammals, insects, reptiles, and amphibians.
  • Contributing to a strong soil bed where native plants can take root and begin to sprout in areas such as Cootes Paradise and the Dundas Marsh.

The drop-off for trees will take place between Dec. 28 and Jan. 9 (between three and 15 days after Christmas). The unstaffed drop-off point will be close to the border of Hamilton and Burlington. Registrants will be e-mailed the instructions and location details.

Trees need to have all decorations and ties removed, and RBG is asking that residents do not drop off trees without registering.

Free registration is available at Further information about RBG’s conservation projects is available at

(Cover photo by Royal Botanical Gardens.)

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