Linking the Past to the Future – Trees for Rural Roads

Have you ever thought about how our beautiful roadside trees came to be? In the 1870s, the Ontario Government, through local municipalities, provided an incentive of twenty-five cents a tree to farmers if they planted roadsides with trees from their woodlots. The majority of trees planted were native maples. This gave rise to an important element in the rural landscape -lines of stately maples alongside roads and separating farmer’s fields. The legacy of maple trees is embedded in many people’s memories and is part of the rural aesthetic. These century old trees are now succumbing to old age, exposure to wind, insects and disease. They are not being replaced and that part of the rural/cultural landscape is now disappearing.

In effort to restore trees along roadsides, the Municipalities of Clarington and Port Hope, with the assistance of the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA), are offering the “Trees for Rural Roads” program again this year. Trees are being offered free of charge to Clarington and Port Hope residents to be planted along municipal roads on private land. Not only are the native sugar and red maples being offered, so are white pine, white spruce, white birch, and red and white oak.

If you are interested in participating in a roadside tree planting program, please contact GRCA Interim Stewardship Technician, Kelly Gibson at or by calling 905.885.8173.