Adopt A Tree Latest News

Friends of Trinity Bellwoods Park's Adopt A Tree program will start gearing up sometime in late April or early May when we'll be looking for new adopters or babysitters (for when adopters go on holiday).  The watering season doesn't generally start until sometime in June but depends, of course, on the weather.  Last summer we experienced a very harsh drought from early June to September -- we'll see what Mother Nature has in store for us for 2012.  We will also work with Parks to have a big pile of mulch brought in for our annual Spring Park Day (Sunday, June 10) so that we can refresh the mulch around the bottom of our trees, which helps enormously in preventing damage from those whipper-snapper grass cutters as well as slowing water evaporation. 

If you're interested in becoming involved please give a shout.  Use the contact form here and choose "Adopt A Tree" in the drop-down "To" box.

Forty-six new saplings were planted in the park this spring and summer -- plus we've noticed seven new Kentucky Coffee trees along Dundas Street in the past month for a total of 53 new trees in 2011.  A veritable treasure-trove of shade, oxygen and greenery for the future.  After a summer of drought -- a very tough inaugural year for the trees -- we seem to be in a nice wet fall (nice if you're a young tree).

The AAT program has wound down for the season and the water outlets were packed up and turned off Monday, October 17th.  A big pat on the back to the sixty volunteers who have adopted a tree or "cherry twins" (or more).  Thanks to them almost all of the new trees received at least a 5-gallon (20 litres) watering every week.


The 2011 season has been a big one for the AAT....

Read more ...

One of the oldest trees in our park, per our 2009 tree audit, is the Shagbark Hickory in the north end near Dundas Street West.  It's the tree in the sunken circular stone wall.  It is our understanding that when the Garrison Creek Ravine was filled in with dirt from the Bloor street subway dig in the 1950’s, the wall was installed to protect the old tree. The old shagbark hickory was perhaps the last remaining growth from the woodlands that lined the original Garrison Creek Ravine.

As of this week though, it's sporting an orange dot of death.  This means it's marked for removal.  The tree has been unwell and losing foliage and branches for a number of years but it is still sad to see it go. 


On a more optimistic note, among the 41 new saplings planted this spring (2011) is one young Shagbark Hickory.  It is just north-west of the old one, next to a new Bitternut Hickory.  We'll keep our fingers crossed that it can survive park life.  It's odds are greatly enhanced by the fact that it's in the care of one of our Adopt-A-Tree park neighbors.

SHAGBARK_EAccording to the Ministry of Natural Resource, the Shagbark Hickory grows only in southern Ontario along the St Lawrence River and into Quebec.  It can live for 200 years, grows to be 25 metres tall, and prefers rich, moist soil.  The tree’s bark separates into long plates as it gets older, which loosen from the trunk and give the tree a ‘shaggy’ look – that’s how it gets its name.  Nuts from the shagbark hickory are edible and are 3 to 4.5 centimetres long.  They are sweet tasting and are a favourite food of squirrels. 

From Wikipedia we learn: The word "hickory" is said to have come from the Alonquian Indians word "pawcohiccora". Shagbark hickory nuts were a significant food source for the Algonquians.... They are unsuitable to commercial or orchard production: Shagbark hickories can grow to enormous sizes but are unreliable bearers. The nuts can be used as a good substitute for their more southerly relative, the pecan and have nearly the same application in baking.  Shagbark hickory wood is used forsmoking meat and for making the bows of Native Americans of the northern area.  The wood of the shagbark hickory has been used in a number of ways. The lumber is heavy, hard, tough and has been employed for implements and tools that require strength. These include: axles, axe handles, ploughs, and skis.  The bark of the shagbark hickory is also used to flavor a bitter maple syrup-style syrup.

We're sorry to see it go but hope the new one will also live a long life and be a reminder of the original creek-side tree.

For more information about the Shagbark Hickory and their edible nuts see here.

The current drought conditions have come to the point where "Officials are asking people to break out their hoses and saturate trees on their own property and on city boulevards and local parks."

Read the Weather Network's article.

Some four dozen volunteers currently regularly water the newly planted saplings in our park.  But there are still two pair of Sakura cherry trees and 11 new saplings needing regular watering and needing adopters -- can you step up and help?  If so, contact adoptatree (at)

In fact all the trees in the park, young and old, are in need of water.  If you are a neighbor of the park please, as the above article suggests, consider watering the trees nearest you -- it would be such a shame to lose them.


As our city council reviews KPMG's report everything's on the table for possible cutting, paring or elimination -- including new tree plantings like the one that Trinity Bellwoods has enjoyed this spring.  Not that we need to be reminded of the value of constantly replenishing our wonderful tree canopy -- but if the current programs are cut or eliminated these could be the last new trees planted in our park for many years. 

Even more reason to water them well and often and ensure they survive, no?

The KPMG Core Services Review section on Parks and Environment says:

"Consider reducing the target canopy cover or extending the target timeframe to achieve, allowing a lower rate of new tree planting and maintenance of existing trees."

"Reducing the target for growth of the tree canopy would allow programs to be reduced."


But does note that

"Trees add to the quality of the urban environment." 


The recommended cuts will be going to the July 21 meeting of the Parks and Environment Committee, at which point the committee will recommend what, if any, they send along to the 2012 budget process.

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