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Urban Forest

    Status: Stable

The City of Saskatoon's Parks Department is responsible for the care of approximately 107,000 trees on boulevards, center medians, and in parks. Additional trees in residential yards, the river valley, naturalized parks, and commercial and industrial lands also contribute to Saskatoon's urban forest.

Where are we now?

Types of trees

Approximately two-thirds of City trees are elms and another quarter of City trees are ash.

 

Source: City of Saskatoon – Parks

Data Table
City of Saskatoon Tree Species - Top 10
Common Name Percent of Total City Trees
American Elm 33.83
Green Ash 23.68
Colorado Blue Spruce 8.11
Scots Pine 5.96
Poplar 5.69
White Spruce 5.37
American Basswood 5.34
Manitoba Maple 4.85
Littleleaf Linden 3.61
Trembling Aspen 3.55

Tree numbers listed do not include trees in or on private property, back lanes, shelterbelts, civic golf courses, river banks, remnant stands, or naturalized parks.

What Are We Doing?

Tree Canopy Assessment

The Tree Canopy Assessment (2021) provides information on Saskatoon's existing tree canopy, quantifies canopy cover by neighbourhood and by land use, and guides urban forestry decision-making. The Tree Canopy Assessment recommends the following targets for the Urban Forestry Program:

  • 15-20% canopy cover by 2060
  • 90% species suitable for future climate change
  • <3.5% annual mortality in trees fewer than five years old
  • >30 years Safe Useful Life Expectancy (SULE) for 90% of urban forest

Tree Protection

The City is currently revising and strengthening its tree-protection regulations to align with municipal best-practices and community feedback. Existing regulations include Council Policy C09-011 - Trees on City Property.

Urban Forestry Management Plan

The Urban Forestry Management Plan (2021) provides multiple recommendations to support tree protection and growth of the urban forest for the next 10+ years.

Pruning and Maintenance

The City maintains a regular pruning cycle. City trees in parks are pruned every 13 years and those along streets are pruned every seven years. For more details, view the Parks 2020 Year-End Report.

What Can You Do?
  1. Plant a tree in your yard.
  2. Keep your trees properly maintained, pruned, and free of pest or disease issues.
  3. Request a boulevard tree (i you don't already have one). You can ask the City to plant a City tree on your boulevard and you can suggest your preferred tree species.
  4. Give the tree on your boulevard some extra love: give it a drink now and again; do not attach block heater cords, signs, or other items to the tree; do not use pesticides close to the tree or roots; and be careful not to damage the tree or roots with equipment such as mowers and trimmers.
  5. Request a tree inspection. If you see a tree on City property that creates a safety risk, looks unhealthy (e.g., due to damage, disease, or pest issues), obscured street signage, or blocks a sidewalk or driveway, please report it.
  6. Help prevent the spread of Dutch Elm Disease: do not buy, store, or transport elm wood; take elm wood to the City landfill for disposal; and do not prune elms during the provincial pruning ban of April 1 to August 31. For more information or to report a suspected case of Dutch Elm Disease, visit saskatoon.ca/DutchElmDisease
  7. Protect our trees. If you plan to landscape, excavate, or build near a tree on City property, you are responsible for providing tree protection measures and following Council Policy C09-011 - Trees on City Property.
  8. Go pesticide free. Avoid tree damage when you (or your lawn care company) do yard maintenance. Do not apply any pesticides or herbicides in the area near the roots, trunk, or leaves.
  9. Give trees to friends and family members as gifts. Encourage neighbours, businesses, organizations, and other establishments to plant trees on their property as well.
  10. Volunteer for urban forestry initiatives through local organizations such as Meewasin, SOS Trees, and Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestration Areas.

Did You Know

Trees cool our city. They provide shade and prevent sunlight from entering windows. But they also cool the air by transpiration. Trees draw water from the ground and release it through their leaves, cooling the surrounding air as energy is absorbed and used to turn water from liquid to vapor.