Dear Urbaneer: Do Trees Increase The Value Of Toronto Real Estate?

Dear Urbaneer


Welcome to this month’s installment of Dear Urbaneer, where I answer real estate questions from my curious readers and clients. This time, I am replying to a homeowner who has questions about the value of trees with respect to Toronto real estate.



Dear Urbaneer:

After chatting with my neighbour recently, who mentioned that the City of Toronto is offering free trees to homeowners to increase the urban tree canopy, I decided to take advantage of this program. I’m aware of the environmental benefits of trees, but I’m curious – from a real estate standpoint, whether planting a tree will increase the value of property.


Tree Hugger


Here is my response:

Dear Tree Hugger:

It’s pretty fantastic that the City of Toronto offers free tree planting as part of its ambitious target to increase the city’s tree canopy to 40 percent by 2050. It’s currently at 31 percent.

A property owner can submit a tree planting request for the City-owned road allowance in front of their home or business by calling 311 or submitting their request online. Upon receipt of your request, each potential tree planting location is assessed by staff to determine the best tree species and specific spot for planting. The City encourages the planting of large-growing, native species whenever possible and works to achieve a healthy, diverse, sustainable urban forest that enhances the quality of life for everyone in the city. Trees planted close to the roadway face a challenging road to survival initially, so homeowners must agree to care for the tree in the first few years of its life, to help it flourish, including watering it and mulching the base of the trunk.

In addition to this program – and this was recently brought to my attention by a retired Toronto urban planner – there are opportunities for residents and business owners to acquire FREE trees through the Urban Forestry Grants & Incentives program in conjunction with the Community Canopy ProgramThey also offer grants to community groups willing to organize community-based tree-planting projects. How amazing is that?



The Benefits Of Trees

Fourteen years ago I discussed some of the benefits of trees in my post For The Love of Trees, including improving air quality, offering privacy and shade, and environmental benefits such as reducing carbon emissions and ameliorating the water supply.

Furthermore, tree canopies play a crucial role in combatting noise pollution, a common issue in urban areas, which I discussed in last month’s Dear Urbaneer: Can I Combat Noise Pollution Through Design?

There are also many well-known health benefits to being near trees. Many studies show being around trees lowers stress, lowers blood pressure and helps boost immune functions. They are known to help with ADHD symptoms.

Research has shown that patients recover more quickly in hospital when they are provided with a view of greenery (but don’t wait to spend time in the hospital to find this out. Plant a tree!).



You’re Beautiful, Tree

Is there anything more breathtaking than seeing a deciduous tree throughout the seasons? In the winter, with snow-brushed branches, in the spring, with buds awakening, in the summer its sun-dappled shade and in the fall, ablaze with autumnal splendour.

The retired urban planner was telling me that many people resist planting trees because they don’t want to rake all the fallen leaves every autumn. Seriously. If you’re one of those people I want to ask “When was the last time you raked a pile of leaves, breathed in their organic earthy sweet scent, and then jumped into them?” The process of raking leaves is meditative, breathing their scent stirs memories of every Autumn you’ve already enjoyed while jumping into a pile ignites your kid at heart. That, my dear reader, is priceless.

If health & well-being, the beauty of nature, recalling deep memories, and reigniting your playful side won’t convince you to plant a tree, perhaps I can win your favour by talking money. Were you aware that mature trees typically increase your home’s asset value as well? There are varying reports of exactly how much – and if you’re a follower of my content you know how annoyed I get by those making false claims – so in my sleuthing, I found this reference to research out of Quebec. The study found mature trees in high-income areas raised property values by as much as 15 percent depending on the Buyer profile. Now, that’s not 15 percent of Toronto real estate prices but it should still motivate those of you driven by profit to plant a Free Tree in your yard.



The Benefit Of A Treescape Peek-A-View

When it comes to real estate, first impressions count. That’s why the expression ‘Curb Appeal’ has merit. In the freehold property market, when prospective purchasers arrive in front of the property for sale or lease that they’re about to view they’re already assessing the residence, the setting, and the surrounding streetscape. A property with mature trees and landscaping that is layered, textured, and screens the dwelling from the street (providing privacy and Defensible Space) subconsciously communicates a pride and pedigree in domesticity. Even if the dwelling on the market is a fixer-upper, it still demonstrates that the current or previous homeowners had the forethought to invest in creating curb appeal. Who wouldn’t want that? Restoring a wildly overgrown and unruly landscape around a vintage dwelling is the outdoor equivalent of removing a dropped acoustic panelled ceiling system to discover the much higher original plaster ceilings with crown mouldings and medallions. Can you hear the “Ka-Ching” on your return on investment?

It is important to note that it is not simply enough to plant a tree and hope your home will increase in value. Maintenance and TLC is key. First, a tree should be planted some distance away from any dwelling’s foundation. You should anticipate any original clay sewer pipes (installed as recently as the 1980s) have likely been invaded by tree roots and warrant being inspected and/or replaced.

As your trees mature they should be inspected by an arborist who will counsel you on the frequency they should visit to prune or monitor their well-being. Not only do dead or dying trees detract from your property’s appeal, but they can also pose a danger to you, your loved ones, and your property as they could easily fall, especially in storm conditions. This is the situation in Riverdale where I live. Many of the trees in my area were planted in the 1920s or earlier, and the increasingly frequent summer thunderstorms Toronto has experienced over the past 5 years are shredding some of the mature tree canopy. Once this begins it’s prone to continue, so area residents are taking steps to protect the existing treescape while planting new trees. You might be inclined to say “uhhhh, trees are expensive!” but I’m telling you right now that I’m willing to pay the price of admission having lived under a treescape of mature trees where I hear crickets, see baby raccoons (called kits) playing each Spring, and feel several degrees cooler throughout the summer.



You’re So Cool!

Yup, another financial benefit of having mature trees is that they offer an insular effect. They keep your home cooler on a hot day, so you don’t have to run the air conditioner as often to achieve the cooler temperature you desire. And yes, this means you’re helping the environment too!

There is a methodology for planting trees to accomplish energy savings. According to the Arbor Day Foundation and the Community Canopy Program, you can save up to 20 percent on your summer energy bills.

To maximize energy savings, you must plant trees in the correct location, which the Arbor Day Foundation can assist with an online tool. Just input your address and they will tell you the best location (s) for trees at your home or business.



Measuring Tree Equity

Recently, the City of Toronto launched a tree equity tool. It’s a mapping system that lets you see which areas of Toronto have the most trees, and where there are gaps to fill. It’s the first of its kind in Canada.

What is interesting about this tool, is it reveals that in many cases tree coverage is connected to socioeconomic status.

According to the tool, there are 40 percent fewer trees in low-income neighbourhoods.

This tool helps communities actively participate in populating their neighbourhoods with trees. Because much of the tree-less areas are privately owned the city can’t access them to plant trees, so the objective of having this visual representation is to empower private citizens to plant trees on the properties where they live.


*Image courtesy of a 2020 Study by the City of Toronto



*Image courtesy of a 2020 Study by the City of Toronto


For municipalities, it helps them to pinpoint areas to target with their free tree initiatives. As municipalities increase awareness and its residents become informed it should help direct the free trees to where they are needed most. Right now, the City of Toronto plants around 124,000 trees a year while Toronto residents themselves plant an untold number as well. 

It’s not just increasing the urban forest for the obvious beauty and cleaner air for the community. The urgency, and part of the impetus for the tool, is the link between tree canopies and keeping cool during heat events, which are becoming more common and more severe because of climate change. Streets with higher tree canopies (56 percent or more) are 2.5 to 5 degrees cooler than streets with lower tree canopies.

The benefits are immense to increasing the tree canopy substantially, according to this Toronto Star article, A New Online Tool Measuring A Neighbourhood’s Wealth According To Its Trees Takes Root In Toronto offsetting energy use in homes, removing particulate matter from the air to improve air quality and preventing a significant amount of stormwater running off into the waterways.



Dear readers, thank you always for your questions, and for following my blog.

Planting trees at your home is a wonderful investment in yourself, your home and the environment. It’s also a literal way to throw down roots in your forever home! With decades of experience, my mandate as a realtor and shelter consultant is to provide valuable informed advice on housing, home and real estate, inside and out.

I’m Steve Fudge.

I sell real estate.

And I am here to help!



Here is some further reading you may enjoy!

The Continuing Demand For Outdoor Space In Toronto

Dear Urbaneer: What Is Biophilia And How Can I Use It In Home Design?

Dear Urbaneer: How Can I Make My Outdoor Space More Eco-Friendly?

Countdown To Construction – Tree Protection In Toronto

The Movement To Hipsteading During The Covid-19 Pandemic & Toronto Real Estate

On Building Sustainable Housing In Canada

For The Love Of Trees


Having access to private outdoor space where you can cultivate your green thumb is a life-affirming value-added benefit in Toronto. And we have a great example for your consideration. This 2-bed 2-bath pet-friendly Soft Loft with a private street entrance and a premium sun-drenched terrace with south exposure is listed for $999,000 with offers welcome anytime.

We call it: So Sweet Ya Gotta Brush Yer Teeth – On Colgate Avenue In Leslieville. Whether you’re in the bloom of youth, baby-making, giving your boss the Freedom 55 finger – or just YOU being YOU – this place will make your life more dynamic, people will be more engaging, and everything that matters will be within walking distance!



If you have questions or you’d like to book a private viewing, contact James Ormston at



Want to have someone on your side?

Since 1989, I’ve steered my career through a real estate market crash and burn; survived a slow painful cross-country recession; completed an M.E.S. graduate degree from York University called ‘Planning Housing Environments’; executed the concept, sales & marketing of multiple new condo and vintage loft conversions; and guided hundreds of clients through the purchase and sale of hundreds of freehold and condominium dwellings across the original City of Toronto. From a gritty port industrial city into a glittering post-industrial global centre, I’ve navigated the ebbs and flows of a property market as a consistent Top Producer. And I remain as passionate about it today as when I started.

Consider contacting me at 416-845-9905 or email me at It would be my pleasure to assist you, and yours.

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Are you considering selling? We welcome providing you with a comprehensive assessment free of charge, including determining your Buyer profile, ways to optimize your return on investment, and tailoring the listing process to suit your circumstances. Check out How Urbaneer’s Custom Marketing Program Sold This Authentic Broadview Loft In Riverside to learn more about what we do!

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Thanks for reading!


-The Urbaneer Team

Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-800


– we’re here to earn your trust, then your business –

Celebrating Thirty-Four Years As A Top-Producing Toronto Realtor


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