Jane McCann has been planting trees for 35 years. She’s been involved in Forests Ontario’s 50 Million Tree Project since it began in 2008. Together with Forests Ontario and the CRCA — on this private property owned by the Atherton family just east of Sydenham — trees are being planted with this machine. The species include White Spruce, White Pine, Norway Spruce, Tamarack and White Ceder.
Jane McCann, Contracted Tree Planter
“It’s the spring thing to do, I look forward to it every year. It’s not what I call an easy thing, but it’s a good thing.”
It takes about a year for the Conservation Authority to prep for a spring plant, researching the soil and overall environment. Anyone who owns more than 2.5 acres of property and wants to plant trees is eligible for the government project and the province will cover up to 90 percent of the cost.
Rick Knapton, Forestry Technician, CRAC:
“Trees breath in carbon dioxide and carbon dioxide is one of the main green house gas emitters for the environment. So that’s the main focus is to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and reduce the effects of green house gas emissions.”
Machine planting is a more economical way to plant a large numbers of saplings in a short period of time. A 12 inch blade cuts into the ground leaving a gap for the tree and back filling the hole as it travels.
“Trees are planted 6 feet apart and there’s about 8 feet between each row. That means about 800 trees per acre and we’re planting 16 and half acres which means — a lot of trees.”
13 thousand 2 hundred trees in these fields to be exact — the goal, connecting forest to forest.
But the saplings need to come from somewhere and that’s where Forests Ontario come in.
Tim Gray, Field Advisor, Forests Ontario:
“We’re very careful at Forests Ontario and the collectors — watching the development of tree seed of the various species, so that they know when it’s ripe they can collect the seed and check on the viability and do the seed collections to support our program.”
The Atherton’s property is just one of 500 that will receive newly planted saplings this year.
Across Ontario — 3 million trees will be planted this year — getting closer to the 50 million goal by 2025.
-Jonna Semple, CKWS News South Frontenac Township.