Thanks to an increased focus on home gardens due to the pandemic, more Winnipeggers are interested in large landscaping projects, which includes planting trees.
That prompted Trees Winnipeg to launch its inaugural fall ReLeaf tree sale, taking place between Sept. 11, with pickup on Sept. 26.
Trees Winnipeg program director Lisa Jones said that between people working from home, and last fall’s snowfall that damaged a lot of trees, there was a lot of interest this past spring for the tree sale.
"We decided to make it a biannual event. People are really interested in how the urban tree canopy shades their yards, and how a beautiful tree makes a difference in the landscape," Jones said, adding that ReLeaf is the largest and longest-running consumer program for tree seedlings in Winnipeg.
Winnipeg has a problem with its American elm and ash tree monoculture, she said. "Both these tree types are vulnerable to pests. We know that the ash trees, in particular, will all die off in the next decade or two from the emerald ash borer."
The ReLeaf program focuses on tree varieties that are hardy enough for the local climate, add to the urban treescape, and don’t have insect pests that contribute to their demise.
"We can prevent tree loss by planting diverse trees. This fall, the program is offering Pagoda dogwood, Amur cherry Ming, hackberry and basswood saplings," Jones said. "We have 190 in total, and we’re accepting orders until they’re all spoken for."
Jones said the variety will suit different landscaping needs, including:
• The Pagoda dogwood is a compact tree, reaching six metres in height and spreading out to eight metres. It has white flowers in the spring, and emerald leaves that turn burgundy in the fall. It’s suitable for smaller yards.
• The Amur cherry "Ming" will reach eight metres in height and spread to five metres. It has white flowers in the spring and reddish-bronze coloured bark that makes it a standout in the winter garden. This variety will produce chokecherry fruit.
• The hackberry is an easy-care shade tree that reaches 12 to 18 metres in height, with a similar spread. This makes it a similar size to the American elm. It retains golden berries that attract birds, especially in the winter.
• The basswood is a pyramidal tree that reaches 18 to 24 metres in height with a spread of nine to 18 metres. It produces flowers that attract bees and hummingbirds.
Pickup will be contactless and abide by safety and physical-distancing protocols. Included in purchase is a ReLeaf tree planting and care workshop. All customers receive a bag of mulch, rabbit guards, tree care resources and are encouraged to watch a Trees Winnipeg video on tree planting techniques.
Trees Winnipeg (formerly known as the Coalition to Save the Elms) is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to protecting, preserving and educating the public on the urban forests and urban environments in Winnipeg and surrounding communities.
ReLeaf trees are available to residential and commercial property owners in and around Winnipeg.
The trees are $55 each and will be available for pick up at Soul Sanctuary (2050 Chevrier Blvd.), on Sept. 26.
Customers have until Sept. 11 to place their online orders at treeswinnipeg.org/releaf-tree-planting-program/
The Sou'wester community journalist
Susie Strachan is the community journalist for The Sou'wester. Susie got her first paying job as a journalist in the late '80s on the Free Press Weeklies, then followed that with 20 years as a reporter, photographer and specialty editor at the Winnipeg Free Press. She then spent 10 years working for WAVE magazine with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, before returning to her roots as the reporter/photographer for The Sou’wester. A little bit about Susie: She learns a lot from the people she interviews; She believes that community weeklies provide an invaluable record of community events, places and people; Thanks to all the interviews she's done, she's never met a hobby she won’t try, at least once. She's been thrown out of an airplane while strapped to an instructor, learned to skijor and do it moderately well, and tangled with all sorts of fibre arts. Do not get her started on tie-dyed fingers, lopsided clay pots, the explosion in the basement while brewing ginger beer and other epic failures. Call her at 204-697-7150 or email her at: email@example.com