ReLeaf Stratford Native Tree & Shrub Sale is coming soon, May 13th, 2023 9AM-1PM

The sale is at Avondale United Church, Stratford.  Click the button below for descriptions of the shrubs and trees we will be selling  

ReLeaf Stratford Achieved Our Goal: We Planted Over 2,022 Native Trees in the Year 2022

Native Trees Planted

On March 16th we will feature the third speaker in our series Gardening in a Changing Climate. Sean James will be speaking on Fusion Gardening. This series, in cooperation with the Stratford Public Library, features a monthly speaker via Zoom.Climate change has resulted in worsening drought around the world including here in southwestern Ontario. Fusion Gardening blends LID (rainwater handling) with xeriscaping (drought-tolerant gardening) and folds in plantings to mitigate the effects of climate change and enhance biodiversity. One of the main focus of this style is beauty and Sean will address the backbone of each of these disciplines and discuss how to do each artfully.

Sean James is an entertaining and dynamic speaker and has been gardening professionally since age sixteen. He is a graduate of the prestigious Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, a Master Gardener and was named one of “20 Canadians Making a Difference” in the Canada-wide magazine GardenMaking.

Speakers will be recorded and can be viewed later on the Stratford Public Library YouTube channel. Register at Registration for this event closes March 13th, so sign up now.

ReLeaf Stratford is pleased to announce our 2023 speaker series. Once again we are partnering with the Stratford Public Library in a series of webinars featuring experts in the field of native plants.  This year’s theme is an important topic on the minds of all gardeners: Gardening in a Changing Climate. The webinars occur monthly January through April and you can register for one or for all.

The series kicks off on January 19th with the well respected author Lorraine Johnson speaking on “Climate Change in the Garden”. Registration is through Eventbrite and can be accessed through the QR code in the flyer below or at this link:
The webinars are free but space is limited to 300 participants. Each month Eventbrite closes registration the Monday of the week the webinar is scheduled. Lorraine’s talk will not be recorded, so make sure you clear your calendar for the hour.
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Jes Kapcza and friends planting tree 2,022


ReLeaf Stratford exceeded our goal to plant 2,022 native trees and shrubs in the Stratford area in the year 2022. Along with our partner organizations, we were able to make a significant impact on biodiversity in Stratford.
Beginning in January our speaker series, in collaboration with the Stratford Public Library, featured experts who provided education on the importance of native plants to the environment. We followed up with a native plant sale in April and over 700 native trees and shrubs were sold.
In May, aided by a grant from TD Friends of the Environment and a team of volunteers from our partner organizations, ReLeaf Stratford planted 400 trees in the TJ Dolan Natural Area.
The Rotary Club of Stratford partnered with us in May. To celebrate their 100th anniversary, Rotary volunteers planted a further 150 native trees in the TJ Dolan Natural Area.
Our final 2022 project was planting along the Avon River near the John Street Weir. We received a grant from the Community Foundation, made possible by the Donald McTavish Conservation Fund. On October 1st over 40 volunteers helped us plant 400 native trees and shrubs along the Avon River to help with water quality and bank stabilization. Our members throughout the year dug native trees on private property and donated them to community organizations, helping to bring the total trees planted to 2,243. 
Overall it was a very successful year and we are delighted with the support we received from our partner organizations and from members of the public who care about the environment. We are especially thankful to the organizations that funded our projects with generous grants. 
Please peruse the full report below which outlines the species planted, details about how our partners contributed, information on other plantings we did in the community, and more information about the grants and donations we received.
Stay tuned for 2023 ReLeaf Stratford projects designed to support biodiversity and improve the environment. 
Over 40 volunteers stepped up to help ReLeaf Stratford and the Stratford and Area Master Gardeners plant 400 native trees and shrubs along the Avon River. The weather was perfect and we completed the planting in just a couple of hours.
We are grateful to our partner organizations and to the Stratford community for helping to protect this natural area.
Donations from the public and a grant from the Stratford Perth Community Foundation (made possible by the Donald McTavish Conservation Fund) provided the funds for this project. The native plantings will stabilize the riverbank and provide habitat and food for birds and other wildlife. 
Stratford and Area Master Gardeners and ReLeaf Stratford are delighted to be the recipients of a grant from the Stratford Perth Community Foundation. This grant was made possible by the Donald McTavish Conservation Fund.
The grant, coupled with individual donations to our ReLeaf Stratford project, will allow us to plant native shrubs along the Avon River from the John Street weir up to the railway bridge. This is an area along the river bank which needs further stabilization to prevent erosion.  We are collaborating with the City of Stratford in this community-enhancing project.  
We have ordered native plants and October 1st, 10AM is the scheduled planting date, with a rain date the following day, October 2nd. The native shrubs, including Bush Honeysuckle, Fragrant Sumac and American Cranberry, will stabilize the bank against erosion, provide habitat and food for wildlife, and add biodiversity to the area.
Community volunteers stepped up and made our spring planting project a resounding success. We are once again asking for volunteers to come out on October 1st, 10AM to plant. We will meet at the John Street weir across from the TJ Dolan trail entrance. Volunteers should bring their own shovels, water, sunscreen, work gloves and wear sturdy shoes.  Email us at if you have any questions or need more details.
This project will help ReLeaf Stratford surpass our goal to plant 2,022 native trees and shrubs in the Stratford area in the year 2022.
Stratford and Area Master Gardeners and ReLeaf Stratford received a grant from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation allowing us to plant 400 native trees in the TJ Dolan Natural Area, Stratford. We collaborated with the Upper Thames Conservation Authority and the City of Stratford Parks Department, both of whom provided advice and support on this project.
On May 17th at 9AM, people from various community organizations helped to plant 300 trees in the upper area of the TJ Dolan Natural Area. Karen Pugh of the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority provided instructions and planting advice. The 300 trees were planted in just a couple of hours thanks to volunteers from Garden Stratford, Climate Momentum, Stratford Kiwanis, Perth County Tree Trust, Stratford CFUW, Stratford Public Library, Perth County Sustainability Hub and many volunteers from the public who recognized how the planting of native trees helps the environment.  Tree species planted that day were shagbark hickory, Chinquapin oak, hackberry, serviceberry, pagoda dogwood and silky dogwood.  
Another 100 native trees were planted the following day, May 18th.  These trees were planted either side of the main trail into the park off John Street. Volunteers once again stepped up, including members of the Stratford Field Naturalists, Bank of Montreal employees, and students from Stratford District Secondary School. Once again, the planting was wrapped up in short order. The species of native trees volunteers planted along the trail were hemlock and sugar maple. 
Blue Beech Nutlet & Leaves

Native trees and plants help support an entire ecosystem. It begins with native plants which our native insects and pollinators have evolved to use as a food source. In turn, our birds and mammals eat the insects creating an intricate ecosystem built on native plants.

Non-native plants do not support our native insects to the same extent, resulting in a food desert for Ontario’s caterpillars, birds and mammals. Native insects have no evolutionary history with non-native plants and therefore, don’t have the ability to overcome the toxins those plants produce to deter predation. As an example, native oak trees support over 500 species of butterflies and moths, whereas the imported gingko supports a mere five Lepidoptera species.

Resources and Articles

Wondering which plants are Ontario natives? Check out our lists and helpful links.

Native plants are not always easy to find. To get you started, here are a couple of lists of Ontario native plant nurseries. 

Our graphic illustrates the proper way to plant a tree to ensure it will be long-lived and healthy.

Learn how to identify trees in winter using buds, twigs and bark. This is a fun activity when walking in the woods.

Invasive plants threaten our native woodlands. Learn to identify and avoid this threat to biodiversity.

Check out our list of favourite books and articles on the ecological benefits of native plants.

Some plants are more important than others in supporting ecosystems. 

See our list of native plants that provide the best food for pollinators in the caterpillar stage.