SUDBURY -- Do you have room for 500 trees on your property? A new program may be for you.

The 50 Million Tree program is offered by Forests Ontario, a non-profit tree-planting organization that provides financial and technical assistance to landowners who wish to plant a minimum of 500 trees.

“The full costs for professionals to come in and do tree planting is very expensive – well, close to $3 a tree,” said Rob Keen, Forests Ontario CEO.

"With the programs that we have, the subsidies that we are able to offer to our partners to reduce their costs of what their charges would be to landowners, it gets those landowner costs down to 30 maybe 50, 60 cents a tree."

Conservation Sudbury works locally to coordinate everything, from the plan to planting.

“Sure you could buy a tree and put it in the ground but it probably wouldn’t survive,” said Jaimée Bergeron, of Conservation Sudbury. "So the subsidy from the 50 million trees program helps to pay for the costs of getting quality seedlings."

Aims to increase forest cover

Forests Ontario also offers the Over-The-Counter program. It is for landowners and organizations who are unable to meet the minimum tree requirement. The organization said the aim of the programs is to increase forest cover in the province in order to enhance the many benefits trees that support.

“The oxygen that the trees create, the CO2 that they sequester, the wildlife habitat, purifying water, all the values," said Keen. "You know, there’s no bounds for those things so we’re always very appreciative to landowners."

Each year, Forests Ontario and its partners work closely with local landowners to develop individual site plans. This can include flood protection, shading a house, creating a windbreak, helping pollinators, providing a habitat or a path for animals to travel between forested areas, boosting local ecosystems, and more.

“The main obstacle for little trees growing is competition from other vegetation," said Bergeron. "So if there’s a lot of that we can coordinator some sort of treatment or management.”

Not only does the program plan and plant the trees for landowner, there are also follow ups on how the trees are doing for five years afterward.

Bergeron said the program complements the city’s existing re-greening program, since it focuses on planting trees outside the re-greening area. Since the program began five years ago, 180 trees have been planted in Sudbury.