How can I order a tree and/or rain barrel?

    All trees & rain barrels for the Spring 2022 Tree Giveaway and Rain Barrel Sale have been reserved. Thanks to the community's interest in the recent event, an additional event will be hosted in Fall 2022. Residents can register for updates on the Speak Up Lincoln page to be notified when further details are released.

    Can someone else pickup my tree and/or rain barrel on my behalf?

    Yes. If you are unable to pickup your tree and/or rain barrel, please email to confirm arrangements for someone to pickup on your behalf. 

    How big are the trees?

    The trees are approx. 80-100cm (approx. 3ft) tall and will be in 3gal pots. They should easily fit inside a standard car.

    What tree species are available? Which species are best for my yard conditions?

    There will be five native species of trees residents can pre-order online on a first-come, first-served basis: Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera­), Serviceberry
    (Amelanchier spp.), Black Cherry (Prunus serotina), Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), or Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

    Trees will be sold in three-gallon pots and are approx. three-feet tall. The should easily fit inside a standard car.

    You should order a tree best suited to conditions of your yard.

     Planting Tips
     Paper Birch
     (Betula papyrifera­)
    • Mature Size: 25 m tall, trunk is 60 cmin diameter
    • Moisture: Can tolerate a variety of moisture levels
    • Shade: Intolerant — needs full sun
    • Soil: Can tolerate a variety of soils
    • Additional info: easily recognizable by the large, peeling sheets of bark on mature specimens.  often used in landscaping because they will grow almost anywhere, as long as they get enough sunlight.
    • Check out this video on the paper birch.
     (Amelanchier spp.)
    • Mature Size: Up to 12 m tall
    • Moisture: Moist to dry sites
    • Shade: Partial shade to full sun
    • Soil: Adaptable to all but intolerant of flooding and water-logged soils
    • Additional info: Clusters of white flowers appear in spring and tasty berries ripen early to mid-summer.
    • Check out this video on the serviceberry.
     Black Cherry
     (Prunus serotina)
    • Mature Size: 22 m tall, trunk 60 cm in diameter
    • Moisture: Tolerates different moisture levels
    • Shade: Intolerant - needs full sun
    • Soil: Grows in a variety of soils
    • Additional info: Bunches of small white flowers grow on the black cherry tree in the spring after the first leaves have fully developed. The tree produces fruit in August or early September. The dark red cherries are 8-10mm across, and grow in clusters. They are edible, but are very bitter. With the exception of the cherry flesh, all other parts of this tree contain hydrocyanic acid and should be avoided.
     (Platanus occidentalis)
    • Mature Size: Up to 35 m tall
    • Moisture: Prefers moist soils, tolerates seasonal flooding
    • Shade: Can grow in part shade or full sun
    • Soil: Prefers rich soils, tolerates heavy clay
    • Additional info: Like many willow species, sycamore has a shallow, fibrous root system that can get into septic beds and sewage pipes if it is searching for water.
    • Sycamore trees grow to be one of the largest (height and width) broadleaf trees in eastern North America and thrive on rich floodplains. Give them plenty of space to grow.
     (Celtis occidentalis)
    • Mature Size: Up to 15 m tall
    • Moisture: Wet to dry
    • Shade: Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil: Adaptable to all types and wide pH range
    • Additional info: In a forest, northern hackberry will form a tall, high canopy, but when planted in the open, will grow as wide as tall, so give it plenty of space to grow. Very adaptable species to dry, windy sites and urban areas.
    • Check out this video on the hackberry.

    How do I plant and take care of my new tree?


    1. You will need to free the roots and loosen them if they have become coiled. Do this at the edge of your hole so that the valuable soil that was around the roots falls into the bottom.
    2. Break up the soil and scoop it in and around the roots. Pack the soil fairly tight to eliminate the air.
    3. This is where a partner comes in handy! Pat down and level the soil out at the base of the tree. Give it a gentle “tug test” if it stays put then it’s a job well done!
    4. Add a circle of mulch to the base of your newly planted tree or shrub. You want it to be a minimum depth of 8 – 10 cm (3 – 4 inches). This depth will help maintain moisture during dry spells. Make sure the mulch does not touch the tree stem.


    1. The first two years are critical, watering your tree is the most important thing you can do to ensure its survival
    2. Good deep watering once a week in spring and summer if there is no rain
    3. Best to use a regular hose on low pressure for 15-20 minutes
    4. Water more often during periods of long drought


    1. Keep mulch 5-8cm away from the trunk of the tree
    2. Place mulch in a ‘donut’ shape around the tree, rather than piling in a ‘volcano’ shape

    Important Notes

    1. Do not use lawn trimmers close to your tree as they will damage the bark
    2. Do not worry if your tree is not growing quick enough, the first few tears are dedicated to underground root growth

    For more information, check out these videos on tree planting, watering, and mulching.

    How do I install and maintain my new rain barrel?

    Installation & Location

    1. To take advantage of the rainwater that ­flows of your roof, your rain barrel should be installed at the bottom of a downspout, either on your home, garage or shed.
    2. There are usually four downspouts on a typical home – one for each corner of the house. Choose a downspout in a convenient location and provide a level base for your rain barrel. 
    3. It’s often a good idea to elevate your barrel to make it easier to fill a watering can. 

    Attach the Rain Barrel

    1. Place your rain barrel next to the downspout, taking into account the height of the base you have chosen. Mark the length of existing downspout that will need to be removed. Cut at the marked point and connect your rain barrel to the downspout using the connector piece that came with your rain barrel kit.

    Using Collected Rainwater

    1. Now that you have collected all this rainwater, it’s time to use it! The simplest way is to fill a watering can and water your gardens and hanging baskets. Another option is to attach a soaker hose, which can be used to slowly water a nearby garden.
    2. A typical rain barrel can fill up after just one rain storm, so use the water you collect on a regular basis to make the most of your rain barrel.

    Rain Barrel Storage and Maintenance 

    1. Good winter care will ensure that your rain barrel is ready for use the following year. 
    2. When temperatures start to approach freezing, disconnect your rain barrel from the downspout. 
    3. Add a temporary extension piece or corrugated tubing to the downspout to direct it to a suitable location downhill from the house. 
    4. Turn the barrel upside down – if it is left upright, the barrel will with water, freeze and crack. If you have room in your garage or garden shed you can store it there until spring

    For more information check out this rain barrel care video.

    What are the benefits of planting native plants?

    Why Go Native? 

    Always try to use plants that are native to the Niagara Peninsula. These plants have evolved through thousands of years of changing geological conditions which have shaped their physical features and biology. This natural evolution makes the use of native plants ideal for local climate and environmental conditions. 

    Native plants do not require extra watering and thrive without the application of pesticides and fertilizers. Adapted to deal with local bugs and diseases, they get all the nutrients they need from the existing soil. They can be easily incorporated into your landscaping to reduce mowing, improve water quality and provide food and breeding areas for many species of birds, butterflies and desirable insects.

    Caring for Native Plants 

    Planting in Niagara can start from early May until mid-to-late October. Spring planting is best when the soil is moist, but not saturated. Fall planting can be very successful when using hardy plant stock and when plants have a few weeks to establish before the first frost. 

    Native plants are well adapted to local climate conditions but will require watering for the first 3-4 weeks after planting. Deep, infrequent watering is best. Allow the soil to dry out between watering as this will encourage deep root growth. Unless the plants have been planted in the wrong type of soil, they will not require fertilizing. Many environmentally friendly alternatives do exist, if fertilizing is needed. 

    Some weeding may be required until the plants become established. Mulch can help reduce the need to weed and water while adding aesthetic value. Remember that mulch can also trap water near the surface of the root zone and may encourage shallow rooting. Try to keep mulch light (3-5 cm) and leave small areas mulch-free to maintain habitat for ground nesting bees.  

    For more information visit:, check out their Native Plant Guide, or watch this workshop on how to help our native pollinators.