Why choose native trees? Native trees and shrubs are a species that grew here before the arrival of Europeans. Since that time, deforestation and the introduction of invasive alien species (like Norway maple and Siberian honeysuckle) have severely impacted the wellbeing of native populations. This has had a devastating effect on local ecosystems.
Native trees generally leaf out later and drop leaves sooner than non-native species. This allows the sun to reach the understory of the tree for a longer period, allowing low native plants to thrive. Many species of wildlife do not recognize non-native species and cannot use them for food or shelter.
When a native plant disappears, the wildlife it supports may disappear as well.
Cedar waxwings love serviceberries. Photo©2017 Tom Koerner/USFWS.
Since native trees have developed in this region, they are better suited to grow here than alien species. They are adapted to our climate and soil types and, once established; require much less water and fertilizer than non-native species, reducing runoff and pollution. As well, native species co-evolved with our local native insect population and developed natural defenses to ward off pests. Fungal infections are less likely to attack a healthy native tree because of this inherent resilience.
How to plant a tree or shrub:
List of recommended species
by Heather Holm
Download the recommended species list:
Tree Atlas https://www.ontario.ca/environment-and-energy/tree-atlas/ontario-southwest
Guelph Healthy Landscapes https://guelph.ca/wp-content/uploads/droughtTolerant-NativePlants.pdf