ReLeaf Stratford is a project of Stratford Master Gardeners promoting the planting of native plants to support local biodiversity
Tree cover in the Stratford area is 2.6%, well below the 26% recommended in environmental studies. Our project promotes the planting of native plants. Native trees and plants are important to support our declining wildlife and disappearing insect species.
Help Us Reach Our Goal: Plant 2022 Native Trees in the Year 2022
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.
Fun activities for families, including two tree identification keys as well as some cool science facts about trees.
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.