The City coordinates a tree planting program that focuses on adding street trees and trees in parks, especially in and around children's play areas. Staff also work to establish planting partnerships with local businesses and community partners.

New - Backyard Tree Planting Program

Beautify your property and help grow our urban forest! The City of Pickering partnered with LEAF and the Region of Durham to bring residents a subsidized Backyard Tree Planting program. Experts will help you select the right trees and planting locations, while also providing the option of full-service tree planting to help ensure long-term survival. Native shrubs are also available! Homeowners, multi-units and businesses with adequate planting space may apply. Quantities are limited. Learn more at

Outdoor Learning

Visit Pickering's outdoor classrooms to learn more about the trees you see throughout your neighbourhood, or to help you decide which tree species would be most suitable for your yard!

Maple Ridge Park

Staff and students from Maple Ridge Public School planted native trees and shrubs along the creek, and created the artwork and poems that are featured on the interpretive signage. Visit Maple Ridge Park.

Amberlea Park

38 different native coniferous and deciduous trees were planted as a circuit around Amberlea Park, each labelled with their common and botanical names. View our interactive park map. Visit Amberlea Park.

Bicentennial Arboretum

The Bicentennial Arboretum was constructed in 2011, in commemoration of the City's 200th anniversary and features 28 different native coniferous and deciduous trees as well as shrubs. Locate the arboretum in Google Maps.

Commemorative Tree Program

Residents and friends of the City of Pickering have the opportunity to commemorate individuals through the donation of a public tree in one of the City's parks or open spaces.  View our Commemorative Programs page for details.

Emerald Ash Borer

What is Emerald Ash Borer?

The emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invasive pest that attacks and kills ash trees in North America. It was first identified in Pickering in 2008 and has since spread city-wide. Infestation and ash mortality is expected to expand to the city's approximately 3,500 ash trees.

Ash Tree Management Program

worker grinding tree limbsThe City's ash tree management program focuses on municipal boulevards and parks and consists of two parts 1) Treating ash trees where EAB has been detected early enough, and 2) Removing and replacing ash trees with other suitable species.

Large ash trees on private property are also at risk - see below Trees on Private Property.


If EAB is detected early enough, or if the ash tree appears healthy, the tree may be treated with TreeAzin (a naturally occurring bio insecticide), which has shown to be effective in controlling EAB and keeping ash trees alive and healthy. To date over 1,000 trees have been treated. If a tree is heavily infested (more than a third of the crown has died off), the City recommends removal for safety reasons and to prevent the continued EAB spread.

Tree Removal/Replacement

The City prioritized the removal of ash trees and replaced them with various suitable species throughout 2015. To date, over 1,000 trees have been removed and replaced.

Newly Planted TreeWorking Together to Maintain Pickering's Newly Planted Trees

We're calling on homeowners to help ensure the long lasting health of our trees! During planting, we water them enough to provide a healthy start, but ask that residents continue to water the trees on their boulevard, especially during hot, dry weather, to help them thrive in our urban environment.

Trees on Private Property

To mitigate the infestation, all Pickering homeowners who have ash trees are advised to look for signs of infestation such as "D" shaped exit holes on the tree trunk; signs of woodpecker damage; and/or thinning near the top or 'crown' of the tree.

Residents with a heavily infected ash tree should contact a certified arborist for proper removal. Trees that are taken down can be burned in home woodstoves and fireplaces, but cannot be taken as firewood to a cottage or campground outside of a federally regulated area. This wood should be used in a timely matter or chipped to prevent increased infestation. Those found illegally transporting firewood or ash wood materials may be subject to a federal fine or prosecution.

Tree Repurposing

The City recycles the ash wood in various ways at the Pickering Museum Village: 

  • for firewood for cooking demonstrations on the open hearth and in the woodstoves
  • to build cutting boards that are sold in the gift shop
  • to repair or replace items in the heritage buildings, wagon wheels, the bridge at the Miller - Cole House, and more

The City also sends ash logs and chips to Toronto and Region Conservation Authority for use in their habitat restoration projects. They use it to protect plants from deer herbivory, to armour and protect eroded stream banks and shorelines, provide essential habitat for small mammals and bird species, and provide raptor poles and perching platforms.


Contact our Customer Care Centre for more information.

Invasive Emerald Ash Borer Information & Images

Visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website for more information and a regulated area map for movement of infested wood.


European Gypsy Moth


Gypsy Moth / Lymantria dispar dispar (LDD)European gypsy moth/Lymantria dispar dispar (LDD) is a non-native invasive insect, found to be present in Pickering.

LDD is a defoliating insect that prefers to feed on oak tree leaves but will feed on the leaves of many other hardwoods including maple, elm, birch, poplar, linden and willow trees.

While most healthy trees can withstand several years of severe defoliation, trees that are already in poor health may have a harder time recovering. Additional stressors such as other pest/diseases or hot, dry weather may result in tree decline or mortality. The City has identified street trees that showed evidence of gypsy moth and have manually removed egg masses from these street trees.

Learn how to protect trees on your property. Residents with a heavily infected tree should contact a certified arborist for proper removal.

Not sure what type of trees you have? Check out Forests Ontario to find out.

Visit for details.

Removal / Replacement

The City removes sick or damaged trees, and replaces them with various suitable species. See our information on Emerald Ash Borer above for a list of streets where ash trees have been removed and replaced and those that have been removed, or are scheduled for removal.

Depending on resources, a tree is either removed all at once, or taken down in three phases:

  • removal of branches
  • removal of trunk down to ground level
  • removal of stump

Please note replacement trees may not be planted during the same time as removal. The City cannot guarantee timelines for replacement. 

Tree Care

Working Together to Maintain Pickering's Newly Planted Trees

We're calling on homeowners to help ensure the long lasting health of our trees! During planting, we water them enough to provide a healthy start, but ask that residents continue to water the trees on their boulevard, especially during hot, dry weather, to help them thrive in our urban environment.

Tree Protection


The City's Tree Protection By-law 6108/03 prevents the destruction of healthy trees in the specified tree protection areas, in an effort to protect and preserve the environment.

What you should know?

A permit is required to remove any tree in a protected area in the City. Protected areas usually run through and adjacent to watercourses and green spaces.  View Pickering's tree protected areas

This By-law is actively enforced at all times by the Durham Regional Police Service, the City's Municipal Law Enforcement Services, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. Cutting down a tree in a protected area without a permit can result in fines of $1,000 per tree or $10,000 whichever is greater.

You can report any damage to trees in a protected area to our Customer Care Centre.

A General Guide

  • subject to the exemptions below, permits are required to remove trees located in a designated protection area at a cost of $100.00
  • dead, dangerous, diseased or severely injured trees require permits for removal
    • if a report from a certified arborist is submitted with the permit application, it will be processed at no charge
    • where the City's arborist is required to inspect to confirm the compromised state of the tree, the permit fee is $25.00.


  • permits are not required for trees not located in the designated protection area
  • permits are not required for trees located in the designated protection area if the tree is less than 25 millimetres in diameter measured at a height of 1.5 meters above grade
  • permits are not required for the removal of Ash trees in relation to the Emerald Ash Borer infestation


Urban Forest Strategy

What is an Urban Forest?

The urban forest includes all trees, shrubs and understory plants that grow on public and private property in the City of Pickering, as well as the soils that sustain them. A healthy and resilient urban forest provides many benefits to the community. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, improve air quality, moderate climate, help control erosion, and provide various recreational, health and social benefits. These benefits increase in time as trees grow larger.

What is an Urban Forest Strategy?

An Urban Forest Strategy (UFS) is a planning tool that allows municipalities to develop policies and techniques to protect and enhance the urban forest. Developing the strategy requires a practical understanding of the status of the current urban forest including the number, location and density of trees, their species, health, and age.

An UFS goes far beyond simply assessing the current tree canopy cover or a planting program. The foundation of an UFS is an understanding of what you have now and a vision for what you want it to be in the future.

What is the Status of Pickering's Urban Forest Strategy?

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) completed an Urban Forest Study for the City of Pickering in 2011. A random sampling of trees was taken at more than 200 plots in the urban area during summer 2009.

Trees in each plot over 2.5 cm (1") in diameter were noted along with its species, size and health. This information was sent to the Forest Service of the United States Department of Agriculture for an analysis of the current health of the City's urban forest and recommendations for managing and enhancing forest cover for a sustainable community.

What is the City doing to promote tree cover?

Planting new trees:

  • coordinating a tree planting program that focuses on adding street trees and trees in parks, especially in and around children's play areas
  • establishing planting partnerships with local businesses and community partners

Preventing the loss of trees:

  • administering a Tree Protection By-law
  • working with TRCA and other partners to create a more diverse urban forest that will be more resilient to stressors such as pests, disease and climate change

Developing a strategy:

  • developing an Urban Forest Strategy; once complete it will provide direction for more stringent tree protection guidelines, stewardship, monitoring and outreach programs