When special dignitaries visit the Governor General's residence in Ottawa, a tree is planted to mark the occasion. Sometimes a tree is planted for other events too. For instance, on April 2, 1992, a Norway spruce was planted to mark National Wildlife Week.
The tradition began in 1906, when visiting Prince Arthur (later Governor General from 1911 to 1916) planted a red oak. Trees honouring presidents, queens, kings, and emperors also grow on the grounds. Markers show the planting date, species of tree, and name and title of the person who planted it.
Why not follow the Governor General’s lead and establish a site dedicated to ceremonial tree plantings? It could be on your office grounds, at a city park, or on the grounds of a senior's residence. The whole community can take part. It's a lovely way to help wildlife while commemorating special events and visits by dignitaries.
In general, native species are preferable, as they're accustomed to local soil and weather conditions. They live longer and need less tending. However, non-native trees or hybrids sometimes do better in cities, where smoggy air and salt-laden roads can kill off native species. A local nature club, nursery, botanist, or wildlife biologist can help you choose the best species for your area.
• Water newly planted trees regularly through the first season.
• Check them regularly for signs of disease or insect infestations.
• See "Plant Project Maintenance Tips" for further suggestions