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Healthy forests provide many important functions on our landscape.  They improve air quality, surface and ground water quality, and provide wildlife habit. Large connected forests are important for maintaining good watershed conditions.  Additionally, new forest growth can help mitigate climate change by creating carbon sinks that absorb more carbon than they release.  Landowners can contribute to the health of our watershed by establishing and managing forest cover.

In areas with established forest cover, landowners are encouraged to manage them for health.  This can include protecting them from invasive species and selectively harvesting trees.

Learn more about the forest conditions and other health indicators in your area.  Click here to find your subwatershed, and then click the grades tab.

Additional Info:

Choosing the right tree

Seedling Distribution Program- 2018

Our Seedling Distribution Program is available to landowners in the Kawartha Watershed who are undertaking stewardship planting projects which will help improve forest cover and the health of our watershed.  Examples include the following:

Rural lands

  • Convert acreage into a beautiful, and ecologically diverse wilderness
  • Create privacy
  • Protect creeks and drainage areas
  • Leave a natural legacy

Agricultural lands

  • Plant windbreaks to reduce wind and water erosion
  • Convert marginal lands to valuable woodlots
  • Protect ground and surface water resources
  • Create buffer strips along creeks and drainage areas

If you have a large scale tree planting project in mind, for example you would like to plant an area that is greater than a hectare; you may wish to contact our stewardship staff to discuss other resources that may be available to help with your project!

Attention shoreline and urban stewards: In order to provide more relevant stewardship services to landowners in our watershed, we introduced our Native Plant Distribution Program in 2016 for autumn distribution. If you are interested in purchasing native grasses and perennials to use in your shoreline or urban stewardship project please contact our Stewardship Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 705.328.2271 ext 240.

Selecting trees and shrubs for your property

Species selection should be based on the conditions of the planting sites, as well as your personal preferences.  Please review the species information below to help you make an informed decision when ordering.

More information about species selection can be found in the "Seeds and Trees" section of the Ontario Woodlot Association website.

If you would like to speak with one of our Stewardship Coordinator before placing your order, please call 705.328.2271 ext. 240 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tree species Preferred Site Characteristics Values
White Pine
Pinus strobus
Suitable species for wide variety of soils - fresh to well drain. Grows in open and filtered sunlight. Easy tree to identify by its medium length needles in bundles of five. Bark is scaly, dark grayish-brown in colour. Our tallest tree, 40m or greater in height. Our Provincial tree. Seeds provide food for birds and small mammals.
Red Pine
Pinus resinosa
Sandy soil which is well to moderately drained. Intolerant of shade, requires full sun. Long needles in bundles of 2. Unique scaly bark colouring of reddish to pink. Up to 30m in height. Generally considered for open field planting; marginally effective for windbreaks. When managed, produces a high value plantation product. Marginal habitat and other wildlife values on its own.
 White Spruce
Picea glauca
Occurs on variety of soils, which are well to moderately drained. Needles are bluish-green in colouring.  Up to 25m height. Effective species for windbreak planting. Seeds are an important food source for birds and small mammals.
Norway Spruce
Picea abies
Grows in variety of soils, which are well to moderately drained. Bark colouring is reddish-brown and wrinkled to smooth texture. Up to 40m in height. Effective species for windbreak planting. Used by bird species as nesting habitat.
Eastern White Cedar
Thuja occidentalis
Grows best in soils which tend to be seasonally moist, but does grow in most soil moisture conditions. Scale-like leaves, flattened, exhibiting yellowish-green colouring on both sides. Up to 15m height for small trees. One of the more effective windbreak species.  Provides bird habitat and is a food source.
European Larch
Larix decidua
Prefers well to moderately drained sandy soils. Medium-large sized trees 25-40m in height. Needle-like leaves turn bright yellow before falling in autumn months. Seeds are food source for bird species.
Eastern Hemlock
Tsuga canadensis
Grows in moist soils conditions, with sun or shade.  Medium-sized trees reaching 30m in height. Identified by its reddish-purple inner bark, and slender yellowish-brown twigs. Provides habitat for birds and mammals.  Effective for windbreaks.
Red Oak
Quercus rubra
Grows in well to moderately drained sandy-loam soils. Older trees intolerant of shade, younger trees moderately shade-tolerant. Large trees 25-30m in height.  Produces acorns forming cup saucer-shaped appearance. Habitat tree, with acorns providing significant food source for wildlife.
Red Maple
Acer rubrum
Grows well on variety of soils, moderately shade tolerant. *wilted leaves are poisonous for horses
Medium sized tree up to 25m high. Produces clusters of small red flowers in late winter to early spring.
Provides early spring pollen for pollinator species. Producing attractive fall colours before dropping leaves in autumn.
Sugar Maple
Acer saccharum
Grows in well to moderately drained, loam soils. Tolerant to shade. Large trees reaching 30m in height. Our National tree. Attractive fall colours produced by tree before dropping leaves. Maple syrup values.


Shrub species Preferred Site Characteristics Values
Highbush Cranberry Viburnum trilobum Well-drained to moist fertile soils. Does well in full sun but will grow in light shade. Grows up to 3 m in height. Fruit available for songbirds from September through the winter.
Red Osier Dogwood
Cornus stolonifera
Best suited to fertile and moist sites. Requires full sun and will grow up to 2.5 m in height. New shoots exhibit an attractive reddish/purple colour. Fruit is available for songbirds from August to September.
Viburnum lentago
Will grow in any type of soil. Well-drained sites are preferred but will grow in moist conditions. Requires full sunlight. Grows into a small tree up to 5 m in height. Fruit available August through to winter. Songbirds and some small mammals eat the berries.
American Elderberry
Sambucus canadensis
Damp or dry soils. Fast growing shrub which can reach 3 m in height. Grows best in full sun. Lacy white flowers bloom in June, followed in late summer by purple fruit relished by birds.
Silky Dogwood
Cornus obliqua
Prefers fertile and moist soils. Best suited for shorelines.  Grows in full sun and is also highly tolerant to shade. Can reach 2 – 3 m in height. White flowers and dark blue berries when ripe in mid-summer. Provides nesting cover for waterfowl.
Saskatoon Serviceberry
Amelanchier alnifolia
Will grow in a variety of soil types. Grows in sun to partial shade and reaches 1 – 5 m in height. Is also drought tolerant. White flowers and blue berries form from April to May.
Smooth Serviceberry
Amelanchier laevis
Will grow in a wide range of soil conditions. Grows in full sun to partial shade. Reaches 5 – 8 m in height, with a round, open crown. White flower clusters at branch tips in spring. Highly prized by birds for delicious purple berries.
American Mountain Ash
Sorbus americana
Well-drained to moist fertile soils Full sun or light shade.  Grows up to 10m in height The bright orange berries are a favourite of birds over the winter.
Cephalanthus occidentalis
Prefers soil that is constantly moist. Thrives in swampy conditions and damp shorelines. Grows best in full sun. Can reach 3 m in height. Very distinct white round blossoms in July, followed by unique round seed heads. Waterfowl and other shorebirds consume seeds.

Seedling Distribution Program 2018

Order forms must be returned to Kawartha Conservation by March 31, 2018.

Seedling pickup is April 27 and 28, 2018.

This year we are happy to provide two pickup locations for your convenience.  On your form you will be asked to indicate your preferred pickup location.

Complete the 2018 Order Form Here, or drop by the Kawartha Conservation Adminitration Centre to pick up a copy.

Tree planting and care information

Managing forests information

Other programs and resources

We can help

Knowledgeable staff can help you take action!

  • Not sure where to start? Schedule a free onsite consultation and receive personalized advice for enhancing your properties and protecting water quality.
  • For training opportunities and workshops, please see our events page for current listings.

Additional Information