Branching out tree program

Increasing Calgary's urban tree canopy with free trees

Trees are an intrinsic part to the quality of life in Calgary. They provide a myriad of environmental benefits. They also contribute to positive mental wellbeing. Trees help us connect with our communities.

Calgary’s tree canopy coverage is currently at 8.25%, this includes trees planted on both public and private property. The City is working to grow and expand our tree canopy coverage to 16%.

You can help through the annual Branching Out program. Trees are provided free of charge by the City of Calgary.

Stay connected

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Branching Out 2024 Program: Registration is now closed


We have started sending confirmation emails to those who have registered for a tree with information on pick-up times and locations. If you registered for a tree but have not received an email, please check your spam/junk mail folders.

Please check back during the week of May 27 for tree pick-up information on this page.

Thank you, YYC, for partnering with The City of Calgary and providing your land to help grow Calgary’s tree canopy for the benefit of all citizens.

Tree species


There are a limited number of free trees given away each year and a limited number of species. For more information on trees go to Top Tree Species for Calgary.

Species that will be available for the 2024 Branching Out program are:

Canopy Tree

  • Bur Oak
  • Laurel Leaf Willow
  • Paper Birch
  • Prairie Reflection Willow
  • Trembling Aspen
Flowering Tree
 
  • Gladiator Crab
  • Hot wings Maple
  • Ivory Silk Japanese Tree Lilac
  • Ming Cherry
  • Royalty Crab
  • Showy Mountain Ash
  • Spring Snow Crab
  • Starlite Crab
  • Thunderchild Crab
Evergreen Conifer Tree
 
  • Limber Pine
  • Mountain Pine

For info on how to plant and care for your tree, visit Citizen Owned Trees at calgary.ca/trees

E-Learning Module


Right Tree, Right Location

Want to plant a tree? Here's where to start: learn about tree types that work for you, choose the right location - and plant it safely in your yard.​

View the quick reference guide.

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Planting Trees During Drought


With the drought dial currently at Advisory stage, it is still important to plant new trees and use efficient watering methods to help get them established, even if outdoor water restrictions are put in place.

Did you know…

  • As hotter temperatures become a seasonal norm, trees provide shade, reduce the heat island effect, and cool our environment through the release of water vapour back into the air reducing temperatures.
  • Additionally, they sequester carbon as they grow and mature, and support Calgary’s biodiversity. A healthy canopy provides many climate-positive benefits including improved air quality, reduced stormwater runoff, and soil erosion prevention. 
  • It takes about 5 years of watering to establish a newly planted tree. On average container trees, which are the type of trees provided for Branching Out, require approximately the equivalent of 1L of water per day over those 5 years. As a comparison, a high-efficiency toilet uses at least 3L of water every flush.
  • ·The water usage for each tree is very low when considering the long-term climate-positive benefits provided by a healthy tree canopy.

Tips on how to efficiently water a newly planted tree during outdoor water restrictions:

  • If the soil is wet from a recent rain there is no need to water for a few days until things dry out.
  • In the first year, water a newly planted tree 60 - 80L total each week split over 1 - 2 times; in the second year, water 60 - 80L total every 1 - 2 weeks split over 1 - 2 times; in years 3 - 5, water 60 - 80L total every 2 - 4 weeks split over 1 - 2 times. Each time you water this would look like filling approximately ¼ of a bathtub.
  • Ensure soil drains and becomes fairly dry between waterings to let it breathe with the atmosphere and restore oxygen. Mulch placed directly on top of soil is a great addition to help prevent water waste through evaporation losses, while also improving soil health.
  • Watering bags can help you keep track of how much you’re watering. Fill bag 1 to 2 times per week; once filled water will slowly drain out into the soil targeting water to the roots of a tree, reducing water loss due to evaporation and helping to minimize overwatering.
  • Only water in spring, summer and fall when the ground is not frozen.
  • During outdoor water restrictions, prioritize watering trees instead grass. Visit calgary.ca/drought for more info on when and how you can water outdoors.

Underground Utilities


Remember to 'dial/click before you dig' a hole to plant your tree. A locate request will show you where utilities are located. Contact Utility Safety Partners by phone 1-800-242-3447 or online at utilitysafety.ca.

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