The City of Toronto plants and maintains trees on City land, to help grow Toronto’s urban forest and to reach the City’s goal of increasing the tree canopy to 40 per cent by 2050.

The City of Toronto owns a portion of land between roadways and private property, known as the city road allowance. The City plants and maintains trees on this land.

A property owner can submit a tree planting request for the City-owned road allowance in front of their home or business.

Request a City Tree Planting or call 311

The City’s staff will visit the site to confirm the right tree species and determine the ideal planting location. Tree planting takes place in spring or fall.

Species available for planting on the City’s road allowance are listed in the Street Tree Brochure.

Benefits of Trees

Trees improve air quality, minimize noise and dust, and reduce storm water runoff. Trees also benefit individual property owners by increasing property values and decreasing heating and cooling costs.

Recommended Tree Planting

The City can recommend that a tree be planted on the City-owned road allowance adjacent to your property. A Notice of Planned Tree Planting will be left in your mailbox or door to let you know when the tree is expected to be planted.

If you have questions or concerns, or if you wish to cancel a recommended tree planting, call 311 within three weeks from the planned planting date.

Notice of Planned Tree Planting

If your area has been selected for tree planting, you will receive a notice that will include:

  • Why this planting has been planned
  • Proposed planting location
  • Proposed tree species and proposed alternate
  • Proposed planting year
  • Notice delivery date

During a Planned Tree Planting

On the day of the planting, ensure there is a 1.5-metre by 1.5-metre clearance around the proposed planting site. Remove items like decorative features, flower pots, plants or other objects.

The City of Toronto is not responsible for damages to any private property located on the City-owned road allowance.

After a Planned Tree Planting

Street trees face difficult growing conditions. Help care for this tree by watering it for the first two to three years while the tree becomes established.

A notice with additional tree care information will be provided at the time of planting.

Replacement Tree Planting

Replacement plantings will be offset from the stump for installation and tree health purposes. The planned location may be moved onsite at the time of planting due to roots, utilities or other underground obstacles.

Tree Species Selection

The species and planting location have been selected through an onsite evaluation of growing factors like:

  • available space
  • soil conditions and sunlight
  • underground utilities, overhead wires and other utilities
  • paved surfaces and other structures

It is important to care for newly planted trees for the first two to three years while they become established.


  • Mulch should be placed in a donut shape around the trunk of the tree to help retain moisture and reduce weeds.
  • Do not add soil or pile mulch against the trunk of the tree as it damages the tree.
  • Be careful when cutting the lawn around the base of the tree as young bark can be easily injured.
  • Do not plant flowers around the base of the tree as it damages the roots.
  • Tying rope, string or other objects around trunks and branches can injure newly planted trees.
  • City staff will prune, fertilize and stake trees planted on the City-owned road allowance adjacent to your property if required.


  • Water the tree frequently so that the area around the base and the edge of the mulch pile remains moist.
  • If a green watering bag has been installed at the base of the tree, fill it with water twice a week. Note that small trees, such as those planted as replacements for removed trees, do not receive water bags. This is because the weight of the filled water bag is too heavy for the tree to support.
  • Water from rain barrels, splash pools and dehumidifiers are great sources of recycled water for the tree.

In addition to requesting that the City plant a tree on the road allowance in front of your home, there are a number of other ways to get involved. Check out the Urban Forestry Grants and Incentives to see how you can make a difference.

There are many benefits when planting native plants. They have low cost, low maintenance and they can help sustain local ecosystems. Since ecosystems are dependent on environmental conditions such as moisture and light, the species below represents a plant community. Choosing plants from the same community will help them to thrive:

Dry Soil

Full Sun

  • black oak (Quercus velutina)
  • white pine (Pinus strobus)
  • smooth rose (Rosa blanda)
  • American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens)
  • harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)
  • big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)
  • wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
  • hoary vervain (Verbena stricta)
  • wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)

Full Sun to Partial Shade

  • black oak (Quercus velutina)
  • white pine (Pinus strobus)
  • choke cherry (Prunus virginiana)
  • snowberry (Symphoricarpos alba)
  • smooth aster (Aster laevis)
  • common wood sedge (Carex blanda)
  • foxglove beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis)
  • cylindric blazing star (Liatris cylindracea)
  • hairy bush-clover (Lespedeza hirta)

Partial Shade to Shade

  • sugar maple (Acer saccharum)
  • maple-leaf viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium)
  • round-leaved dogwood (Cornus rugosa)
  • big-leaved aster (Aster macrophyllus)
  • bottlebrush grass (Elymus hystrix)
  • woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca)
  • woodland sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus)
  • zig-zag goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulus)

Average Soil

Full Sun

  • trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides)
  • black cherry (Prunus serotina)
  • grey dogwood (Cornus racemosa)
  • virgin’s bower ((Clematis virginiana)
  • new england aster (Aster novaeangliae)
  • evening primrose (Oenathera biennis)
  • showy tick trefoil (Desmodiumcanadense)
  • pale-leaved sunflower (Helianthusstrumosus)
  • spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium)

Full Sun to Partial Shade

  • ironwood (Ostrya viginiana)
  • red oak (Quercus rubra)
  • Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus vitacea)
  • smooth Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis)
  • wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
  • common wood sedge (Carex blanda)
  • Michigan lily (Lilium michiganense)
  • wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)
  • starry false solomon’s seal (Maianthemum stellatum)

Partial Shade to Shade

  • sugar maple (Acer saccharum)
  • witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
  • alternate-leaf dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)
  • Soloman’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum)
  • zig-zag goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulus)
  • mayapple  (Podophyllum peltatum)
  • red baneberry (Actaea rubra)
  • virgin’s bower (Clematis virginiana)

Moist Soil

Full Sun

  • white cedar (Thuja occidentalis)
  • silver maple (Acer saccharinum)
  • buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
  • red-osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)
  • thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana)
  • Canada wild rye (Elymus canadensis)
  • dense blazing-star (Liatris spicata)
  • blue vervain (Verbena hastata)
  • green-headed coneflower (Rudbeckia lacinata)

Full Sun to Partial Shade

  • yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis)
  • American basswood (Tilia Americana)
  • common elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
  • nannyberry (Vibrunum lentago)
  • wood rush (Luzula multiflora)
  • thin-leaved sunflower (Helianthus decapetalus)
  • great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)
  • turtlehead (Chelon glabra)
  • Bebb’s sedge (Carex bebbii)

Partial Shade to Shade

  • hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
  • black maple (Acer nigrum)
  • spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
  • black currant (Ribes americanum)
  • white baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)
  • red baneberry (Actaea rubra)
  • Canada anemone (Anemone canadensis)
  • wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis)
  • wild ginger (Asarum canadense)

Learn about opportunities for tree planting and stewardship in Toronto.

The tree equity score analyzer (TESA) tool, developed by the non-profit organization American Forests, produces scores ranging from zero to 100 to represent the levels of tree equity at the community level.

  • A lower tree equity score indicates a greater priority for closing the tree canopy gap in that neighbourhood.
  • A higher tree equity score, one closer to 100, is a neighbourhood that enjoys good tree equity.

The analysis uses land cover classification data with demographic and socio-economic data to identify opportunities for canopy expansion at the neighbourhood scale. The tree equity score determines whether a neighbourhood has the right number of trees so that everyone can experience the benefits that trees provide.

Studies have shown that low tree cover overlaps with socioeconomic and environmental needs. The tree equity analyzer approach uses a number of priority or equity factors together with land cover and population density data to generate a tree equity score.

The City of Toronto is implementing this new approach to address inequitable distribution of the urban forest at the community level while working toward the City’s target of 40 per cent canopy cover. Toronto is the first municipality in Canada to utilize a tree equity approach to prioritize canopy growth at the neighbourhood scale. The City of Toronto is currently working with American Forests to create a Tree Equity Score Analyzer tool; the first of its kind outside of the United States. Local community organizations can use this citizen engagement tool to provide the necessary data to help inform tree planting and stewardship activities in their neighbourhoods.