There are 2 mighty Austrian Pines between the 2 arms of my semi-circular driveway (which we originally planted ourselves, transporting them in a station wagon). Later we had a crab apple tree planted between them. It eventually became kind of crippled for lack of space. Both the crab apple tree and the pines had branches hanging over the street that were recently damaged by the new and very tall garbage pick-up trucks. So I asked that the crab apple tree be removed, and I was delighted that this removal was approved and carried out. Nothing was mentioned about a replacement.
To my surprise, I got a notice on April 28 that the city-owned road allowance had been selected for the planting of a mandatory replacement trees, and a flyer with line drawings and the names of 36 trees was enclosed.
The new location is 2.5 m east of the curb, and 4.5 m south of my south driveway.
I had just successfully planted an offshoot of a Burning Bush about 1/2 m inwards (east) of this location, but I guess that’s not important.
Most of the trees in the flyer are of medium or large size, and the one small tree is not suitable because of its requirements as far as I’m concerned.
The crown of the Austrian Pine nearest to the south driveway already fills out all the air space over the driveway. Than means the new tree should only have a spread of 2 x 4.5 m = 9 m.
The trees suggested for planting in the Fall of 2017 are:
White Oak, or alternatively,
Swamp White Oak.
In my opinion, both are too large for the available space. Furthermore, I know from my cottage oak that acorns are a source of food for rodents, and we have too many squirrels in our area already (they feast on the pine cones).
Besides, I spend enough time already picking up pine cones from the lawn, and it would be difficult to collect the much smaller acorns. At my cottage, the oak tree grows on a small woodlot and not a city lawn. And there is only so much gardening work I can do, considering I also have to look after the cottage that my late husband and I acquired many years ago, and I am a 71-year-old widow.
If it absolutely had to be one of the too-large-in-my-opinion trees of the flyer, I would pick the Hackberry Tree that I believe attracts mostly birds to its berries. The berries shrivel and could presumably be ignored in the lawn, or swept up with the leaves, which is OK with me.
I am wondering if the City of Toronto would also allow either a Downy Serviceberry Tree or an Ivory Silk Lilac to be planted. And I think these trees are hardy enough for the somewhat rough climate here and will grow in clay.
If you agree that the space available for a new tree is more suitable for either of these species (Downy Service Berry or Ivory Silk Lilac), and if in your experience the City might allow these trees that are not part of the “mandatory” selection, then I would like to ask for either of these. I would try to see at least one Ivory Silk Tree specimen, as I have so far only seen pictures of it. I would appreciate if you could let me know where to find these, and perhaps also a Hackberry Tree, which I don’t know either.
I would especially appreciate your advice as to how to approach the city if you agree that the smaller trees mentioned would be a good selection.
The soil here is clay, and the western exposure means a rough climate in the winter as the wind blows across a park on the opposite (west) side of the street.
I should also mention that there are, regrettably, no sidewalks in our street.
Thank you for writing your very well-considered query regarding what will be a very important decision for you, and your immediate neighbours. You clearly have researched, and thought out —considering the years of history of your landscaping — the logistics and implications of your various options for planting a new tree. You would be very well advised to call the 311 line, sooner than later, explain your concerns, and request a site visit with a City of Toronto arborist. Having an expert visit your property will be invaluable to helping you make some decisions.
Should there be a delay in booking an appointment, you could always consult an arborist independently. You could contact Landscape Ontario, and search for a professional arborist in your area, and make an appointment for a home visit. All the very best in finding the best solution for your property.