Gardeners love trees! They look beautiful and provide wonderful shade to sit and relax under during the long, hot summer months. Most homeowners don’t remove trees unnecessarily, but some trees are either in the wrong place or are reaching the end of their days, and you need to decide what to do with them. But before you just start hacking away at that problem tree in your yard, you need to find out if you are actually allowed to remove it. In many municipalities there are strict bylaws governing tree removal, and even if a tree is on your property that does not automatically give you the right to do with it as you please. Whenever you remove trees, it is important to always adhere to municipal bylaws or you could be liable for a fine or even prosecution.
Know your bylaws
At first glance, the municipal bylaws governing the removal of trees may seem excessive to some, but they have been put in place for good reason. Most cities have recognized the need to protect one of their most precious and valuable natural resources. If there was no control over tree removal in the cities, we could all end up living in very unappealing concrete jungles, where the only green you see is the colour of the walls around you. The tree conservation bylaws guide the city in their efforts to preserve local trees, especially ones that have been there for many years. These laws allow the city to act fairly and consistently towards all homeowners and enforce set rules that control the removal of trees in urban areas. That is why it is so important to consult the city regarding tree removal.
Follow the correct tree removal procedure
Just because there are bylaws governing tree removal, doesn’t mean that you can’t remove the trees on your property. You just have to follow the correct procedures, work through the proper channels and get permission from the city before you do anything. In most city districts you are prohibited from removing healthy trees without the city’s permission on properties that are larger than 0.2 hectares but these tree removal bylaws usually do not apply to smaller lots. When a city grants permission for tree removal, they may require you to replace the trees at a three-to-one ratio (for every one tree removed, you need to plant three) or give cash in lieu of the trees so that the city can use the money to plant trees elsewhere.
Make sure the trees you want to remove are on your property
Before you even apply to have a tree removed, make sure that it is actually on your property. You don’t want to go through the entire process, only to find out that the tree does not belong to you. Remember trees located within road right-of-ways, boulevards and parks are all city-owned trees. The planting, care, maintenance and removal of such trees are the responsibility of the city. The damaging or removal of city-owned trees is a chargeable offence. Trees that cross property lines, and the pruning of branches that hang over onto your neighbour’s property, however, are not covered in the tree conservation bylaws of the city and need to be dealt with in a neighbourly fashion.
Tree removal is a job that should be carried out by a professional. A reputable tree service company, like Martin’s Tree Service, will have all the correct equipment and training to do the job quickly and easily. They should also be well informed regarding the tree removal bylaws and be able to give advice on the process and procedures.