City of Guelph planting mini forest with big impact

Community tree planting event on September 23

Guelph, Ont., September 6, 2023 – The City of Guelph is hosting a special community tree planting event on Saturday, September 23 at York Road Park to build Guelph’s first mini forest.

The event is being held between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., rain or shine. Attendees will learn the innovative Japanese Miyawaki tree planting method being used to create Guelph’s first mini forest. A mini forest is a community of native trees and shrubs planted tightly together in an urban or suburban site based on the Miyawaki method.

Guelph is one of only five pilot communities in Canada taking part in this year’s National Mini Forest Pilot project.

“Miyawaki forests have been planted around the world, but the approach isn’t as common in Canada,” says Dave Beaton, program manager of Forestry and Sustainable Landscapes. “Guelph thrives on innovation, and we’re excited to be introducing this innovative technique to help grow our urban canopy cover and breathe more life into the city.”

Lessons learned from this project will be incorporated into the City’s ongoing naturalization program. Working in collaboration with community partners, the City plants close to 20,000 native trees and shrubs each year in parks, public spaces and natural areas.

The Miyawaki method

The Miyawaki method uses higher density and greater species diversity. This results in taller plants in a shorter period than standard techniques.

Where traditional urban tree planting might space trees three metres apart, this technique plants a minimum of three trees per square metre. Trees and shrubs planted at these sites compete for sunlight, so they grow more quickly.

Small forests have big impacts

Mini forests help reduce air pollution, increase biodiversity, and provide much-needed habitat for wildlife.

They can also provide social benefits such as improved mental and physical health and deepened connections to nature.

Native mini forests are small but mighty contributions to the fight against habitat loss and climate change.

Register today

Register today and get ready to get your hands dirty! You can register online until September 22 at

Planting today for a greener tomorrow

This event is being held as part of our participation in the National Mini Forest Pilot project, an initiative of the Network of Nature led by Green Communities Canada. The National Mini Forest Pilot contributes to Canada’s goal to plant two billion trees by 2030.

This 500 square metre site will see the installation of 500 canopy trees, as well as a wide variety of shrubs and wildflowers, benefitting Guelph and helping to build local biodiversity and climate resilience.

Media contact

Dave Beaton, Program Manager
Forestry and Sustainable Landscapes, Parks
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2761
[email protected]