It took Winnipeggers just six days to claim the 922 young trees offered through Trees Winnipeg's ReLeaf program in the spring.

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This article was published 15/9/2021 (254 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It took Winnipeggers just six days to claim the 922 young trees offered through Trees Winnipeg's ReLeaf program in the spring.

With such demand — bolstered by supply chain issues and a COVID-19 pandemic-driven emphasis on gardening — the non-profit charity has boosted its subsidized fall offering to more than 1,500 trees.

"We expect it to sell out. There's just so much demand," program director Martine Balcaen said Tuesday.

ReLeaf has been active, twice yearly, since 2016. Its planting bundles, which include subsidized trees and items to assist in tree care, are $65 each.

Those with Winnipeg addresses will automatically be counted as contributing to the city's Million Tree Challenge.

In 2020, between 700 and 800 trees were planted through the ReLeaf program, Balcaen said.

"In neighbourhoods like Wolseley... people really value trees, (and) we're seeing a lot of pick-up there," she said, adding households across the city have gotten on board.

In September 2019, Mayor Brian Bowman announced the goal of one million trees planted on private and public land by the time Winnipeg accommodates one million residents. The target year is 2040.

"Time will tell (if the goal is realistic)," Balcaen said. "We have more money than we have resources to plant trees."

More than 9,150 trees were planted during the Million Tree Challenge last year.

"We're going to have to go a lot faster," Coun. John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry) said of reaching the goal.

However, it's doable, according to Orlikow, who helps lead the project.

"You've got to keep your target to be a big target," he said. "I do believe it is possible; we have to keep working towards that goal."

In its efforts to assist, Trees Winnipeg is offering 17 different tree types, and 11 different packages, to choose from.

Balcaen said her inbox is flooded with people asking which tree they should buy.

"The best one is the one that's not on your block right now," she said. "If there's a bunch of elms, don't plant another elm."

Diversifying the tree canopy promotes sustainability: if one species faces disease, another species may still grow healthily nearby, Balcaen said.

ReLeaf program pick-up will be Oct. 2.

Winnipeggers who purchase and plant trees outside of ReLeaf can add their contribution to the Million Trees Challenge at Trees Winnipeg’s website.

gabrielle.piche@freepress.mb.ca

Gabrielle Piché

Gabrielle Piché
Reporter

Gabby is a big fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.