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This legacy stands tall

It has been a hard time for trees in Guelph recently, what with the ice storm late last year and the ongoing assault of the emerald ash borer on ash trees. The south end has been hardest hit so far by this non-native beetle, so it’s great to see Trees for Guelph targeting the south end’s Clairfields neighbourhood for a tree-planting project starting this spring. It’s a neighbourhood that has already seen ash trees removed because of the beetle infestation.
As reported in our last edition, the not-for-profit organization plans to use a $6,500 provincial grant to plant lots of trees in the open spaces of the Clairfields neighbourhood’s drainage system. It plans to engage about 500 local students to get the project done.
Since it was founded in 1990, Trees for Guelph says it has facilitated the planting of over 120,000 trees in Guelph. The majority of its planters are students. Last year, about 4,000 elementary and high school students did some planting, as did about 200 volunteer planters from businesses and neighbourhoods. It planted 5,326 trees and shrubs during 2013 at 19 sites in Guelph’s parks, green spaces and school grounds, as well as on three institutional and industrial sites. In addition to its planting of hardy, native species of trees, Trees for Guelph has been increasing its targeting of invasive buckthorn, replacing it with “appropriate native plant communities,” it says.
Sowing native wildflower seeds and tree stewardship activities are also gaining importance in its work. The educational tree planting it specializes in is paying more attention to revisiting the sites of tree plantings, to look after the young trees and boost their survival rate. Its volunteers are becoming more connected to their plantings as they become involved with supplemental watering and other stewardship activities, Trees for Guelph says.
It’s a group that deserves a lot of credit for the tremendous job it’s doing. Let’s hope it and its trees keep thriving.

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