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Learning and Growing through COVID-19

Northern Lights is pleased to announce the Learning and Growing through COVID-19 initiative in partnership with Cenovus! Cenovus has graciously donated thousands of Spruce, Larch and Pine seedlings to distribute to our families and plant in our school greenspaces.

The seedlings will arrive at participating schools the week of June 8- 12 and each school will share information with families about how they can pick up their seedlings. 

We would love to see photos of everyone planting their seedlings. Please take a picture and post it on social media with the hashtag #NLPSlearningandgrowing. And don’t forget to tag @cenovusenergy on Instagram or @cenovus on Twitter and thank them for their generosity!

General Tree Seedling Care and Planting

  • Your seedlings have the best chances for survival if you plant them as soon after you receive them as possible.
  • Store your seedlings in a cool dark location until they can be planted.
  • If your seedlings are stored for more than a few days, dampen the roots periodically.
  • Don’t soak or leave the roots submerged in water while the trees are in storage.
  • Choose an area that will support growth for the specific seedling you receive -- choosing a good location is key to success with your seedling.
  • Keep in mind that mature trees can grow up to 20 feet in diameter.
  • Handle the seedling by the root ball rather than by the stem.
  • Remove any wrapping around the soil plug.
  • Dig a hole about twice the size of the root ball. Save the dirt you remove from the hold and use it as a backfill after you have the tree in position.
  • Loosen the roots if they are balled up, gently spreading them slightly.
  • Make sure the tree is standing straight, level with the soil and press down on the soil after you backfill to remove air pockets as you go.
  • Seedlings require regular watering to allow them to establish.
  • Mulching will help your seedling regulate temperatures and maintain soil moisture, but be certain the mulch does not touch the tree. 


  • Do not over-water spruce seedlings as their roots can rot.
  • Spruce like open areas and they can do well in shaded areas, so they are quite versatile.
  • Leave large spacing between other trees or structures.
  • Grows to 20 to 60 metres (about 60 to 200 feet) tall when mature.


  • Make certain your tree will have plenty of sunlight.
  • Requires moist, rich soil that drains freely.
  • If you are uncertain about the drainage in the spot you choose, dig a hole about a foot deep and fill it with water -- 12 hours later the hold should be empty.
  • Grows to 50 to100 feet, depending on the conditions where it is growing.

Larch (Tamarack)

  • Full sun, shade intolerant.
  • Seedlings should be very well spaced to avoid shading and placed where other trees will not shade them in open areas.
  • Grows in deep, well-drained and fairly nutrient-rich soils.
  • As long as they have full light and regular irrigation, they should thrive.
  • Grows faster in height than any other conifer.
  • Height can be 6 metres at 20 years old, 19 metres at 30 years old, 40 metres at 100 years, etc. 
  • Did you know? A 900-year-old Western Larch was identified!