Royal City participates in a mini forest pilot project

Guelph residents are invited to help create a mini-forest.

The city is hosting a tree planting event at York Road Park on September 23. It will include 500 canopy trees as well as shrubs and wildflowers planted on a 500 square meter site.

Participants will experience what is called the Miyawaki method, a community of native trees and shrubs planted tightly together in a small space. It was developed by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki in the 1970s.

“The method relies on high-density planting,” said Jay Cranstone, natural areas management technologist with the City of Guelph Parks Department.

“It encourages the plants to grow much faster. They grow taller and get more bioma*s, resulting in the creation of a larger plant community in a much shorter amount of time.

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Guelph is one of five communities in Canada participating in this pilot project. The purpose of the mini forest is to reduce air pollution, increase biodiversity and provide habitat for wildlife.

“Miyawaki forests have been planted all over the world, but this approach is not as common in Canada,” said Dave Beaton, Sustainable Forestry and Landscapes Program Manager.

“Guelph thrives on innovation, and we are thrilled to introduce this innovative technique to help expand our urban vegetation cover and bring more life to the city.

Cranstone said they will closely monitor the development of this project. He suggested that the Miyawaki method could be used in other areas of Guelph.

“We also see this as a potential method for some of the small, underutilized spaces that could accommodate a mini-forest or even some of the techniques from the mini-forest method.”

Those interested in participating in the tree planting at York Road Park are asked to register first by visiting the Eventbrite website.

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