Help increase the tree canopy in Centretown

Joe Agueci

A Trees in Trust tree in Centretown after its first three years. (Joe Agueci/The BUZZ)
A Trees in Trust tree in Centretown after its first three years. (Joe Agueci/The BUZZ)

Ottawa needs more trees. And Trees613/Arbres613 is working to get more.

The urban heat island effect, the increase in extreme summer temperatures caused by pavement, buildings, and other features of the urban landscape, particularly affects Somerset Ward. But research shows that a tree canopy of 40 percent or more helps to offset this effect. Large, mature trees also reduce energy use (i.e., increased air conditioning) and promote and improve public health and well-being.

Currently, Somerset Ward’s total tree canopy is approximately 22 percent – worse than the city average of about 25 percent. Tree canopy is defined as the layer of tree leaves, branches and stems that cover the ground when viewed from above. The recommended coverage for a city like Ottawa is 40 percent or higher.

So what can you do about this?

The City of Ottawa has a target of increasing the city’s tree canopy to 40 percent. One city program to do this is “Trees in Trust,” which provides street trees by request on a first come, first served basis at no cost to you.

If your city-owned street frontage lacks a tree, you can contact the city to determine if you qualify. Just search for “Trees in Trust” on or call 3-1-1.

If you need help with this process or are not eligible to receive a tree from Trees in Trust, contact us. We can help support the application process and we also have a number of free trees available for those who do not qualify which can be planted on non-city property.

If you are a tenant, you will need to have your landlord apply. Trees613 has a letter that you can use to reach out to and explain to your landlord the Trees in Trust process.

What else can you do to increase the tree canopy? Perhaps you walk by a building or an empty lot with few or no trees.

If the lot is city-owned, the city might plant trees there. We can help sort out the ownership and what can be done. The same goes for buildings. Sometimes the owner is unaware that there is a program that would help them beautify their property, increase its property value, and make the neighbourhood a better place for all. Send us the location and we’ll look into it.

Trees613 is a small group of local residents motivated to increase the tree canopy in our area for the benefit of all residents. We are actively talking to residents, building owners, and organizations to identify and place trees in our neighbourhood. We have approached various landlords (including the city, Ontario, and federal governments) to work with them to use land adjacent to their properties to increase the tree canopy.

If you would like to know more about our group or would like to join us please email us. If you are aware of an area that could be improved by planting trees, let us know. Reach us at

It’s not too early to start thinking about tree planting. Spring is just around the corner.

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