Trees & Urban Forestry

The Town recognizes the significance of trees as green infrastructure and what they provide for the community and environment.  As such, the Town considers preservation, protection, and enhancement of the Urban Forest of the highest importance.  The three pillars of preservation, protection, and enhancement are significant initiatives to recognizing the benefits trees and the natural contributions they provide to the community.

The Town has determined an urban tree canopy cover (UTC) of 21% as of 2021 for all developed areas within the Town and will continually work towards an increase to achieve a goal of 30% UTC on all developed and developing lands (i.e., settlement areas) within the Town.

 Spongy Moth

Spongy moth (previously called European Gypsy Moth or by its scientific name LDD Moth (the Latin abbreviation (Lymantria dispar dispar)) is a non – native invasive insect from Europe that was brought to North America in the 1860's. First introduced to Massachusetts, it had spread to Ontario by 1969 causing it's first widespread defoliation event in the province by 1981.

Spongy moth defoliated many trees throughout southern Ontario.  In New Tecumseth, infestations through 2020-2021 were considered light when compared to other areas of the county and province.  The population levels are cyclical and rise and fall naturally every 7-10 years and we are near the high point in that cycle here at the end of 2021.  Population crashes are due to mortality from a naturally-occurring and host-specific Nucleopolyhedrosis virus (NPV) and/or Entomothaga maimaiga fungus.  For those affected by the moth, there are practices you can do to help keep population low if you notice isolated areas of high infestation.

Spongy moth is a non–native insect pest which has become endemic to much of south and central Ontario for approximately 4 decades, with outbreaks occurring every 7-10 years. An outbreak was noted in Simcoe County in 2019 and particularly severe and widespread defoliation was evident in 2020 where conditions were conducive across much of Ontario. 

For more information, please visit the County of Simcoe website.

What you can do to help control the populations:

  • If caterpillars or larvae are found, wear gloves when handling the insects, as their hairs can cause skin irritation on humans.
  • Hang burlap (landscape fabric, towel, old pillow case etc.) around the trunk of your tree, around chest height, with twine holding it up in the middle and so it folds back over.  During the spring/summer months, the caterpillars will seek shade under the burlap.  Destroy the caterpillars daily for the few weeks they are out.  You can use duct tape early in the spring to catch the smaller caterpillars.  Be sure to remove the burlap or tape after the caterpillars have finished (June/July) to ensure the trees are not girdled.
  • Another method is to use a plastic wrap and put Tanglefoot (Vaseline or other sticky substance) on top so the caterpillar get stuck. The wrap will keep the sticky stuff off the tree and you can peel it off when the caterpillars are done. 
  • If eggs are detected, scrape the fuzzy, tan-colored masses off the tree/equipment they are affixed to, and destroy them immediately by crushing the eggs or by submerging the eggs into a bucket filled with water and soap for at least two days. After two days, discard the solution and egg mixture.
  • Never move firewood.

What the Town is doing?

The Town is continually monitoring the issue of infestation of Spongy moth.  Populations levels fluctuate across the Town.  Some observations where the caterpillars have preferred species, with oak species being their favorite, to the Crimson King (purple/red leaved) maples being their second favorite.  The moth will attack all species eventually.  Some areas of the Town have been observed to be impacted by the naturally occurring virus/fungus, which means the populations could be on the verge of their decline.  The Town is giving as much information to residents as possible and encouraging residents to help with their isolated areas.  

Quick Summary on How You Can Help

Monitor -  Check your trees for eaten leaves.  Check outdoors for eggs masses on trailers, soffits, etc.

Hand Removal - Remove egg masses between August and May.  Scrape them off as you find them and dispose of them (bucket of soapy water, ziplock bag, or burn them).  Put on some gloves and remove caterpillars daily as you see them.  They will be under your burlap, on the underside of branches, or sometimes near the base of your tree.

Biological Control -  BTK is a spray available from many local garden supply stores.  Apply 2 applications between May and June.  It only works on the caterpillars when they are very small.  This product has no impact to mammals and only impacts these caterpillars if applied solely to the infested trees.

Burlap Trapping -  Between May and June, wrap a burlap strip around chest height on your tree.  Pick off caterpillars DAILY and dispose of them.  Remove burlap in July once caterpillars are no longer seen.

 **If you put tape (especially the red “tuck tape”) on your trees earlier this year, be sure to take the tape off in July or it will girdle (strangle) the tree as the tree grows.


 Street Tree Watering Bag Program

 The Town of New Tecumseth is committed to growing our urban forest.  We are working to increase our tree canopy and recognize this starts with the success of our newly planted trees.  To this end, the Town has secured tree watering bags and are being provided to residents who are willing to help water a newly planted boulevard tree.

Available for newly planted trees 

While quantities last, Town staff are providing tree watering bags to residents willing to water a newly planted boulevard tree. Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged.  Try to water your tree once a week, barring rain, and more frequently during hot windy weather.  When the soil is dry below the surface of the mulch, it is time to water.  Continue until mid-fall, tapering off as lower temperatures and natural rainfall require less-frequent watering. This program will help the tree establish a good root system and survive the establishment period (the first two to three years after it's planted). The goal is to have boulevard trees grow into a healthy urban forest. If we can get trees past that establishment period (2-3 years), their survival rate is much higher. The tree watering bag's slow-release watering system provides deep water saturation and is convenient to use as it needs to be filled only once per week. 

Treegator Watering Bag product

How to participate

Residents with access to a boulevard tree that was planted in 2019 to 2021 are encouraged to participate:

  • Call the Town at 705-435-3900 or email Public Works to register.
  • Town staff will deliver the slow release watering bag and attach it to your tree.
  • Fill up the bag with water ONCE a week from May to October.
  • Leave the bag on the tree and it will be picked up at the end of October. Wait for the new bag to arrive in the spring!

Other watering options 

If you prefer to water a tree with your household hose, please follow the steps below:

  • Turn the hose on very slightly so that a small trickle of water is coming out.  Set the hose beside the tree for 30 minutes to an hour.  Do this only once per week.
  • Or use a 5 gallon pail as a measure.  Some can drill a small hole at the base of the pail and let the water drain out slowly.  Again, do this once per week.
  • Do not overwater the tree as the tree will die from too much water.  Trees prefer one deep watering, as opposed to watering daily, the roots need to almost dry out.


Mulch is organic matter (a.k.a. “food”) spread around the base of your tree and will help to moderate soil temperature extremes, hold moisture, and reduce weed and grass competition.  Common mulches include leaf litter, peat moss, and composted wood chips. Avoid black-dyed mulch!

Keep the mulch around the base of the tree 5-10 cm thick, to the dripline, and at least 5 cm away from the trunk, NO “VOLCANOS”. 

Good mulching is the best thing you can do for your tree! 


Tree Rebate Program

Urban Forest Enhancement Rebate Program

The Town of New Tecumseth recognizes the significant value and benefits trees provide to the community and as such, the Town is constantly working towards enhancing its urban forest to reach a canopy cover of 30%.  As trees mature, benefits they provide to the community exponentially increase and to this end, the Town wishes to promote this benefit by encouraging property owners and managers to care for their trees.

Funds have been set aside for the maintenance and planting of trees on private lands and the Town invites applications from those interested in participation.

Application Form

Program Details:

Applications must be submitted to the Public Works Department for approval prior to commencing tree maintenance.   Refunds can only be issued upon inspection of the proposed and completed work/site.

Tree Maintenance

The Town requires tree work to be prescribed and completed by an ISA Certified Arborist in good standing. Verified here: Verify an ISA Certified Arborist

This program covers 50% of the cost of the work to a maximum rebate of $250 per year, per address (exclusive of taxes or other charges).   It is the obligation of each applicant, and by extension the arborist, to show and clearly demonstrate the work with justification.  Each address must list the specific tree, with the recommended work, that correlates with the itemized cost.  Acceptable written prescriptions must be described using ANSI A300 standards (i.e., objectives and methods).

Properties may require/use additional sheets or the arborist proposal to show the itemized work for each unit. 

The Certified Arborist must be on site while the work is being completed.

Tree Planting

The program covers one property with a rebate of 50% of the purchase cost, with the minimum purchase price of the tree(s) being $100 exclusive of taxes or other charges and a maximum rebate of $75 per year, per address.  The program does NOT cover shrubs, bushes, hedges, or ornamentals. The tree(s) can include the installation cost of the tree as needed.

Example:  Purchase of a tulip tree at $250 installed is eligible for a refund of $75.


Funding is available on a first come first serve basis.  Applications may be submitted March 15 to October 30 of every year pending budget approval and availability.  Highly priced work will be called into question and may be refused; multiple quotes are strongly encouraged.  Original estimates/quotes will be required for acceptance into the program and final invoices with proof of payment must be submitted once complete or prior to the end of November of the calendar year during which the application was submitted for a site inspection to be completed and a rebate to be processed.

Applications and inquiries may be directed to the Public Works Department via email or (705) 435-3900.

Application Form

Tree Bylaw, Policy, Guidelines, and Permit Application


The Town has adopted a new Tree Management Policy that provides some high-level strategic goals and requirements for residents, developers, or anyone within the Town. Through the creation of the Policy, came a set of Technical Tree Guidelines that provide all the details of how to protect and preserve trees.  These guidelines are created to provide guidance for all as it relates to “Protected Trees” within the Town.

The policy and guidelines would not be complete without a Tree Bylaw to provide the “teeth” to ensure our urban forest is protected as it continues to provide benefits for our growing community.

Finally the Town has created a Tree Permit Application for any resident who wishes to perform work on a Town tree. The permit is free for those who are looking to improve the tree while providing a compensation formula for those who may need to remove a Town tree.

Click on the links below for the following:

  1. Tree By-law
  2. Tree Policy
  3. Tree Guidelines
  4. Tree Permit Application
  5. The Town's "Tree" Quick Reference Guide

 Service Requests Town Trees


Any resident of New Tecumseth is encouraged to call our offices if they think any work is required on the Town trees.  Town trees are all trees of any size within the right of way (ROW), in a park, or other Town-owned land.

Service Request for Town Tree - Service Requests for Town Trees can include a request for assessment, pruning, removal (suspected dead trees), stump grinding, or tree planting, for example. Please keep in mind that some trees lose their leaves earlier than others, and some leaf out later than others and it may appear to be unhealthy compared to some of its neighbouring trees. Once a Service Request has been received, it will be placed in queue in order of priority.

Benefits of Trees 

Find out the value and benefits of trees



Removal – If you believe that a Town tree has died, please email or call Public Works and the Town tree will be placed in queue for assessment and possible removal. If the tree has been removed, the stump will then be placed in queue to be ground out. Following this, a work order to plant a tree will be created and a replacement tree will be planted as the Town’s planting schedule allows.

Stumping – Call before you dig!  Any excavation requires a locate of underground services.  This is a free service provided by Ontario One Call.

If there are concerns with neighbouring private trees, this is considered a civil matter. If you feel a neighbouring tree is a possible source of harm or damage (hazard), please contact our By-law Services Department.