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The Big

We had to close the order since we reached the number of granted trees. Thank you for taking action and planting Oaks! We will email you pick-up details.

Did you know?

Oaks support the most caterpillar species of any tree. Since even an only 3-gram black-capped chickadee required 9000 caterpillars within three weeks to bring up one single clutch of babies, the amount of caterpillars a tree feeds is directly linked to bird population health.

Acorns are one of the most sustaining foods for wildlife, from mice to bears.

Blue Jays hide over 100 viable acorns daily for a month, making them the number one planter of oaks.

One Bur Oak or Northern Red Oak sequesters over 3200 kg of CO2, mitigates about 513,000 litres of stormwater, and removes around 77 kg of air pollutants during its life.

Oaks provide great shade in summer and, through transpiration, reduce the City's heat island effect by 5ºC and allow you to enjoy the outdoors even on a hot summer day.

Indigenous peoples all over Turtle Island have maintained beautiful oak savannas for millennia. Brush was cleared through burning, and the oaks were kept around 30 feet apart so that they could develop into majestic trees. Oak savannas were highly productive landscapes for everyone, humans and animals alike. The diversity and numbers of animal species were higher than in non-managed landscapes. This park-like structure allowed grasses and flowering plants to flourish between the oaks. 

Good to know:

  • The Ojibwe name for oaks is mitigomizh

  • The oaks are native to Toronto and suited for our urban environment.

  • For the long-term health of a tree, it is much better to plant younger trees than more developed trees since their root system is not damaged from growing in too small pots and becoming root-bound or regularly being cut and severed in the nursery beds. 

  • In nature, trees grow in communities. It is great if you can plant groups of at least two to three trees together on a 6-foot center. The tree roots will interlock, giving them excellent stability, and they will support each other in producing a healthy, resilient environment. 

  • Spring is an excellent time to plant a tree because trees don't need to deal with the stresses of the summer heat, but since they need to produce leaves and flowers, they need a lot of water to perform these tasks and, therefore, frequent watering. 

  • It is best to remove the lawn generously around the tree and replace it with some understory trees, shrubs, ground cover, and sedges. This enables a small ecosystem to get to work; insects will complete their lifecycle in the soil because they have a soft landing when they fall off the tree and, therefore, can fulfill their role as a protein-rich food source for other wildlife. Check out the concept of a soft landing on Heather Holm's fantastic website.

  • A pollinator garden can be planted around the tree as long as the pollinator plants don't shade out the oak and the oak is still small and doesn't shade out the pollinator plants.

The City of Toronto has the visionary goal of a 40% tree canopy cover by 2050 to become one of the most livable cities in the world. The City has made this event possible by generously providing all trees through a

Community Planting & Stewardship Grant.

Oaks sustain a complex and fascinating web of life and are the ecologically most productive tree. They support over 4000 species of insects and other animals. The leaves provide food for over 500 kinds of caterpillars. Caterpillars are crucial since 95% of songbirds raise their babies on caterpillars. To better understand how vital oaks are for our ecology, watch this video by the incredibly inspiring Dough Tallamy.

You can order up to four FREE native Oaks to plant on your private property within Toronto borders.

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Check out the critical work of the Scarborough Food Security Initiative here.

Bur Oak, Quercus macrocarpa

Bur oaks have a beautiful open crown. and are most tolerant of urban conditions. 


These resilient trees are incredibly adaptable to all soil and moisture conditions. They thrive even in poor and compacted soils and are salt tolerant. Once established, their vast root system will enable them to access moisture deep in the ground and survive droughts but also seasonal flooding. 

Like all oaks, the bur oak is an ecological powerhouse:

In the spring, they support breeding birds with an ample supply of caterpillars, and even though they are wind pollinated, they are an important pollen source for early emerging bees, like bumblebee queens.

Their sweet acorns are favoured by many birds and mammals and are edible, and can be ground into flour to make bread. 

The tree’s branches will be homes for many birds and mammals.


Bur oaks need a minimum of 5 hours of direct sunlight between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

In ideal conditions, bur oaks live up to 400 years, and their thick bark allows them to survive fires.


Height: 60+ ft

​Width: 60+ ft   

Requires full sun

Adapts to moist and dry soil conditions

Northern Red Oak, Quercus rubra

The Northern Red Oak is a large, hardy, long-lived shade tree tolerant of urban conditions.


The attractive leaves often stay on the lower branches during winter, which will add some privacy. Researchers believe this was a helpful defence mechanism to protect the young twigs from browsing big mammals like the giant sloth.

Its gorgeous fall colours make it a perfect tree for all seasons.

The acorns are an essential food source for small mammals and birds like Blue Jays.


Older trees often have cavities that provide shelter and nesting sites for birds and mammals. 


Height: 60+ ft

​Width: 60+ ft   

Requires full sun to partial shade

Adapts to moist and dry soil conditions

Prefers acidic soil but can grow in any soil

Bring home a mighty oak!

Click here to learn about the critically important work of the Scarborough Food Security Initiative.

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