Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How big will my tree be when I pick it up? Do I need a car?
A: The trees are generally between 1 and 2 m tall (about waist-high to head-high). All trees are in one- or two-gallon pots, except for the apple and plum trees which are sold bare root (no soil or container). We’re delighted to see the creative ways people are using to get their trees home, from wagons to baby buggies to bike baskets. You can also take these trees on the bus (just tell the driver we said so, and keep walking).
Q: What’s a bare root tree?
A: Our apple and plum trees are sold as bare root trees, meaning they do not come with soil or a container. You may want to bring a bag or cloth to wrap the roots in to get your apple or plum tree home with minimal mess. At home soak the roots in a bucket of water for an hour and then plant your tree promptly...or heel it into the ground or a container of soil until planting time.
Q: How long can I keep my tree in a container?
A: As long as you provide what the tree needs (sun, water, nutrients) you can keep your tree in a container indefinitely. If the roots outgrow their space, you’ll need to re-pot into something larger or root-prune and replace the soil. Depending on the species, trees generally need to be repotted every two years. This allows for continuous root growth, and therefore tree growth. Keeping your tree in a smaller pot will limit its growth, and along with annual pruning, can be an effective way to keep a tree to a limited size....think of bonsai masters with hundred-year-old trees in shallow dishes of soil.
Q: How old will the tree be when I buy it?
A: It will vary by species but our trees are typically one-three years old.
Q: When will my fruit tree bear fruit?
A: It typically takes a season or two (or sometimes more) for fruit trees to establish and bear fruit. Best not to rush it. We advise growers to work on setting up a healthy framework so your trees can produce for decades to come. Fig trees will fruit the soonest, often producing within one to three years of planting. Our apple trees are grafted onto dwarf and semi-dwarf rootstocks, meaning they’re smaller than standard apple trees (although the fruit is just as big) and they bear earlier. Expect to see apples between two and four years of planting. Plum trees should bear fruit three to five years after planting.
Q: Where do the trees come from?
A: We source our stock from local nurseries, trying to find healthy, affordable trees as near as possible in the Metro Vancouver area, the Fraser Valley and sometimes Washington State.
Q: How are you able to sell the trees so cheap?
A: TreeKeepers is a non-profit partnership managed by Tree City and the Environmental Youth Alliance. We’re funded by Vancouver Park Board, Environment Canada, the Vancouver Foundation’s Greenest City Fund... and by donations from generous people who like what we’re doing and hope we continue.
Q: Where can I plant my tree? How about in a park or in front of my house beside the street?
A: Our trees are intended for planting on private property. You may plant your tree in your yard or in a container that can be kept on a patio, balcony, roof or deck. These trees are not meant for parks or the street boulevard planting strips. Those areas come under the jurisdiction of the Vancouver Park Board’s hard-working Arboriculture Department.
Q: What’s the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan?
A: Greenest City 2020 is a bold initiative that outlines Vancouver’s environmental challenges and sets out measurable ways to address them. The city-wide goals and targets set out in the Plan puts Vancouver on the path to sustainability, and will help us become the greenest city in the world by 2020. Click here to learn more and find out how you can help.
Q: How does TreeKeepers fit into Greenest City 2020?
A: A key target for Greenest City 2020 is to plant 150,000 new trees by 2020. The City estimates that about one third (54,000) of these trees will be planted on private land. TreeKeepers is here to help the City reach that target by promoting tree planting and stewardship of the urban forest, specifically on private land.