Tree Planting and Tree Care

Recognizing the numerous benefits trees provide, the city is making an investment in the future by caring for the trees we have and planting many more trees throughout the city. Vancouver Urban Forestry is partnering with neighborhoods, businesses, and property owners to increase tree canopy cover from 18.6 percent to the goal of 28 percent by 2030. This includes planting and caring for trees in parks, natural areas, and medians and supporting neighborhoods to organize neighborhood tree plantings and tree care events to reverse the canopy decline.

Since 2003, Urban Forestry has focused efforts to increase canopy cover throughout the city on both private and public lands to achieve a goal of 28 percent tree canopy cover. View the 2021 Tree Canopy Assessment for details.

Tree Planting

Think of your trees as a lifetime investment. How well your tree, and investment, grows depends on the type of tree you select, the location you plant your tree in, the care you provide when the tree is planted, and follow-up care the tree receives into the future.

In the Pacific Northwest, the ideal time to plant is during the fall and winter, when the trees are dormant. Ready to plant? View the list of approved street trees as well as a list of yard trees

Planting Resources: There are several ways to plant a tree at a free or reduced cost at your home.

The city’s Treefund Program offers a rebate on City-approved trees planted on residential property within the City of Vancouver. Receive 50% off the cost of a tree, up to $50. Learn more by visiting the Treefund webpage or calling 360-487-8308.

Friends of Trees, a local non-profit, provides City-approved trees for only $35, sometimes less. Even better, they dig the hole and help plant the tree as part of a community tree planting event. To get a tree for your home or to volunteer on planting day, visit or email   

Proper Tree Planting: The Arbor Day Foundation has resources on proper tree planting for the various types of trees you are planting, including bare root, container, or ball and burlap. Proper planting is critical to the trees health and longevity.

You can also watch the tree planting video made by Friends of Trees for some good tips to be sure you plant your tree correctly.

Vancouver Plantings: Urban Forestry partners with businesses, schools, community groups, property owners, and neighborhoods to plant trees throughout Vancouver. Learn more about the School Tree Planting program and get more trees at your school (see below). We may be able to help with the design, selection, and planting of trees. Call 360-487-8308 or send us an email for more information.

Tree Care

To preserve our tree canopy, proper tree care is essential. With 62% of the City’s trees on private property, it’s imperative that the community knows how to properly take care of trees and why tree care is so important. Read on to learn what you can do!

Pruning: Proper tree care not only promotes the health and longevity of the tree, it also protects the property owner. Improper pruning can put a tree on a negative cycle where frequent maintenance is required, which is expensive. On the other hand, a properly pruned tree may not need additional pruning for seven to ten years, or more. Properly maintained trees are also less susceptible to damage in storms and are less likely to be hazardous to persons or property. Properly maintained trees look nicer and increase property values. Learn more about pruning landscape plants here.

Tree topping: Topping is widely recognized as harmful and inappropriate by arborists and tree care experts; unfortunately, this practice is still widespread in Vancouver. Learn what topping is, why it is harmful, and proper pruning alternatives on our FAQ page.

Tree Care: Check out our summer tree care video to learn how to properly care for your tree during the hot summer season!

Permitting: In Vancouver, permits may be required for planting, pruning, or removal of trees. Visit the permits page for more information.

A Street Tree Worker License is required to perform major pruning on street trees. View the list of companies possessing a current, valid Street Tree Worker License. Get information on how to hire a professional tree care provider.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has established tree care standards for the tree care industry, known as ANSI A300, these standards are strictly adhered to by true tree care professionals. Always insist that your arborist follow the appropriate A300 guidelines.

Get involved: Interested in getting pruning or planting experience? Check out our Events & Workshops calendar.