Check out this photo from Simon Bell.

“I would never have noticed them myself, but Martin Bosch was staring intently up into a maple tree in St. Georges Park in Guelph yesterday. What was he looking at? A mother Eastern screech owl and five babies! Quite amazing.”

To enjoy some more os Simon’s great photography, visit

Photo: Simon Bell

Mycorrhizal partnerships are symbiotic, or, mutually beneficial, relationships between plants and fungi, that take place around plant roots.

Mycorrhrizae  in the soil have been shown to be essential to plant growth by facilitating the uptake of minerals and nutrients by breaking them down into available forms for the trees to use  as well as stimulating fine root development that lengthen the life of the roots.

They can also protect plants from drought, predators (such as nematode worms), and pathogens (micro-organisms that cause disease). Furthermore, in areas polluted by toxic heavy metals, fungi can buffer their plant partners against harm.

A diversity of fungi is desirable, as different fungi specialize in different functions, as mentioned above. One fungal species may be good at taking up particular nutrients, while another will be better at producing enzymes.

Threats to Mycorrhizae
Mycorrhizae can be damaged by soil compaction and disturbance, as well as by the use of certain chemicals, all of which occur in intensive agriculture and landscape maintenance.

Applying large amounts of inorganic fertilizers to young trees, can suppress the development of mycorrhizae. Excess nitrogen, whether from fertilizer use or atmospheric pollution, affects the reproductive parts of the fungus, and so could have long term effects on fungal populations.

Development practices have greatly affected the life in the soil.  Adding a handful of decaying leaves into a hole that a new tree is planted in can inoculate the soil and help bring back the organisms that the trees need so much!

Research into the interactions between old trees and their moss that harbours cyanobacteria, produces a combination that contributes to the long-term health of surrounding trees. They are somehow fertilizing the ecosystems around them.

Without the presence of these old trees, the health of the surrounding younger trees is degraded.

Read more about this  interesting research HERE.


Diana Beresford Kroeger

Diana Beresford-Kroeger, botanist and medical biochemist,  was the keynote speaker at the Ontario Urban Forest Council Conference held in St Catherine’s in autumn 2010.

In her presentation Diane talked of trees as extraordinary, complex species. In our earth system the trees connect us to the sun as they oxygenate the planet. She spoke of the vast tonnage of tri-terpenes that are liberated by the boreal forest like a detergent cleaning the air with natural fungicides and natural antibiotics. They hang onto cloud droplets and regulate the weather of the world.

Diane talked about democracy of the land and how we need a land agreement between the species for care and sharing. And then she detailed specific trees that give massive carbon sequestration and can help us withstand the huge flow of severe weather and UV exposure that climate change is bringing .

If you want to learn more, there are a few copies of her latest book, The Global Forest at the Guelph Public Library. It is a fascinating read. You won’t be disappointed.

Great article from Mark Cullen in The Toronto Star regarding the importance of trees in urban neighbourhoods.

Here is an excerpt:

For a long time it has made eminent sense to me that we need more trees in our urban spaces. If we spent more time and money on the planting of trees and the maintenance of the ones that we have, can you imagine the difference that it would make?

Here are some points to ponder from a variety of studies including one conducted in Chicago by the University of Illinois called the “Vegetation and Crime Study.”

Check out a full list of referenced studies here:

Consider what trees do in our urban area:

  • Compared with buildings that had little or no vegetation, buildings with high levels of greenery had 48 per cent fewer property crimes and 56 per cent fewer violent crimes.
  • Trees encourage physical activity. Comfortable outdoor environments are more conducive to encouraging exercise. Research in the Netherlands and Japan indicate that people were more likely to walk or cycle to work if the streets were lined with trees. Residents feel better and live longer as a result.
  • The proximity of green space (and trees) to people’s homes increases the likelihood residents will choose to walk over other forms of transport.
  • Green play sites reduce the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Trees and green space helps reduce mental fatigue and stress and has important benefits for childhood development.
  • A survey of 1,350 real estate agents showed that 85 per cent believe that a home with trees would be as much as 20 per cent more saleable than a home without trees.
  • CP Morgan, a developer in Indiana, found that his wooded lots sell for an average of 20 per cent more than similar non-wooded lots.

Add the well documented facts that trees cool the atmosphere, produce oxygen, sequester carbon, filter and slow storm water runoff, and transpire moisture on hot days. You get the picture.

The Toronto Urban Forestry Study, “Every Tree Counts,” estimates the value of Toronto’s Urban Forest ecologically as providing “at least $60 million in ecological services each year”.

In Toronto, there are about 4 million mature trees in public spaces and 6 million more on private land. At one time, the tree canopy in Toronto covered almost 40 per cent of our land area; today, it covers approximately 20 per cent. The tree canopy in Toronto has been in decline since the 1960s.

As you contemplate all of these facts, think about the impact more trees would have in urban spaces in our lifetime — and that of future generations.

Mark Cullen

Read the full article

GUFF Guelph

The ‘poor steward’ has compacted the soil over the roots from April to the end of September. This will severely impact the health and longevity of the sugar maple. The ‘good steward’ however has carefully piled all of the construction material outside of the dripline of the mature tree. He realizes the value of this tree to his property.

The Poor Steward - Material Around The Trunk Is Compacting The Soil

The Good Steward - Construction Materials Are Stacked Outside The Dripline

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