NEW: Peterborough Tree By-laws

NEW: Peterborough Tree By-laws

On October 23rd, 2017, the City of Peterborough passed and implemented a Tree By-law and Woodland Conservation by-law. The creation of these by-laws mean that if you live within the City of Peterborough you will now need to apply for a permit to injure or destroy trees on your private property.

Since these by-laws can be difficult to understand, we have boiled it down to the key points listed below. The by-laws will effect each project differently depending on the type of tree work to be completed.  The purpose of both By-laws is to regulate the injury (usually pruning) or destruction (usually removal) of healthy trees or woodland in the City. The intent is to ensure the correct pruning of trees by an Arborist, that promotes their long-term health and survival, and, to ensure replacement of healthy trees when they are removed, to ensure the sustainability of the urban forest. The By-laws are not designed to prevent owners from removing healthy trees, when necessary, or pruning trees, when this promotes the health of the tree, and the way this is regulated is through the permitting process.

Tree Conservation Bylaw (17-120)

Tree Removal

  • Permit applications are required for the removal of all trees 15cm or more DBH (diameter at breast height) whether they are healthy, dead, dying or hazardous. It is recommended that an application is made for any tree, as the term is defined in the by-law.
  • There are no permit fees required for the removal of trees determined by the City as dead, dying, diseased, hazardous, or Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infested ash trees.
  • For trees deemed “in a healthy condition”, permit fees are as follows:
    $150 for 1-5 trees
    $300 for 6- 10 trees
    $600 for 11 or more trees
  • Permit fees are not required at the time of application submission. You will be notified if any fees apply to your application.
  • The by-law does not prevent the removal of healthy trees but may condition their replacement through the permitting process.
  • The removal of trees that are deemed “in a healthy condition” may require replacement at the following ratios:
    Trees 15-30cm DBH = 1 tree
    Trees 31-40cm DBH = 2 trees
    Trees 41-50cm DBH= 3 trees
    Trees 50cm+ DBH= 4 trees

Tree Pruning

  • Permit applications are required for pruning (of any kind) for trees 15cm or more DBH.
  • Pruning must be done following Good Aboricultural Practice and undertaken by an Arborist (as both terms are defined in the by-laws).
  • There are no permit fees required for pruning if completed following Good Arboricultural Practice.
  • There are no replacement conditions required for pruning if completed following Good Arboricultural Practice.

Bylaw and Application Form

17-120 – Tree Conservation By-Law
Tree Conservation By-law Application

Woodland Conservation By-law (17-121)

This by-law regulates the injury and or destruction of trees with  7.5cm DBH or more within woodlands (forested area) of 2.47 acres or 1 hectare in size or larger. If a tree is considered dead, dying or hazardous by the City, there is no fee, but a permit must still be obtained. Where a permit fee is applicable, a $300 fee will apply.

Bylaw and Application Form

17-121 – Woodland Conservation By-law
Woodland Conservation By-law Application

How to Apply for a Permit

As the Owner of the property on which the trees are growing, you can apply yourself using the application form found above.
However, we would recommend the following steps for advice on the condition of your tree or woodland and the likely fees and conditions that may apply. Remember that boundary trees (shared by multiple properties) will need the consent of the adjoining landowner before a permit can be issued.

Step 1 – Have an ISA certified Arborist visit your property to discuss your project.
Step 2 – With the assistance of an Arborist fill in the application form and create a map (you can use resources such as the City mapping program).
Step 3 – Email the application to; drop it off at City hall; or have an Arborist or agent submit it on your behalf.
Step 4  – A City employee will visit your property to look at the trees at question and will respond via email with permit requirements.

For more information regarding the tree bylaw contact or Phone 705-742-7777 extension 1813 or 1878.

Please note: We have created this synopsis of the by-laws with the information available to us and with the intention of helping you understand the information more easily. We advise you to contact the City of Peterborough Tree By-law department for information on how the by-law specifically affects you and your property.

Winter Tree Care Tips

Winter Tree Care Tips


It looks like we are in for a good ol’ Canadian winter! As we hunker down in our warm, cozy homes for the season there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure our trees are healthy and safe come spring time!

Create a Snow Management Plan

Sometimes there’s so much snow that we don’t know where to put it! Wherever you choose to pile it be sure to keep it away from your trees. If you have your driveway plowed ensure that the contractor keeps a good distance from your trees to reduce the potential for contact which could cause wounds and subsequent access for pests and disease. Also, the pressure of a plow pushing snow against your trees can also have negative impacts on its bark and roots. Try to flag off an area where you would like the snow to be piled.

Keep Salt Away from your Tree’s Roots

The salt used on roads and driveways in the winter is great for reducing slips and slides but it can have a negative impact on our trees. When the snow melts and the salt soaks into the ground it can damage the roots and ultimately the health of your tree. If you follow the last tip and keep piles of snow away from the dripline of your trees (the extent of the tree’s canopy) you will be in good shape. If you are unable to do this, a thorough watering in the spring to leach the salts from the soil may help.

Keep Heavy Snow off your Tree Branches

When there has been a heavy snow and you notice your tree`s branches hanging low with the weight, it is a good idea to gently knock the snow off where possible. Using a broom, rake or shovel (and not standing directly underneath) gently knock the branches that are within reach. However, if there has been an ice storm and your branches are covered with ice, do not try to shake them since the branches could break and cause more harm than good.

Protect New or Exposed Trees

Newly planted trees have gone through considerable stress so it may be necessary to provide some additional protection for their first couple of winters. This rule applies more to coniferous trees (trees that have needles) but can apply to deciduous trees (those that loose leaves in winter) if they are exposed to strong winds in the winter. Wrapping conifers in burlap, or creating a burlap fence, can help to protect your trees and give them the greatest chance for survival.

Winter is a Great Time for Tree Work!

Homeowners often forget about their trees once the leaves fall and the snow piles up, however, winter is a great time to have an arborist visit your property. With your grass and gardens dormant, winter tree work is less invasive and can cause less disturbance. Tree removals are especially great to do in winter since there is less green material to manage. Cabling, bracing and deadwood pruning can also be completed in winter when the leaves aren’t present. Unlike the trees, Arborists don’t go dormant in the winter so it’s a great time of year to have them out to assess your tree when they can see the entire trunk and branch structure.

Winter is a harsh season and unfortunately your trees cannot escape it. Give them the attention they need to make it to spring healthy and safe. Are you unsure about the health or safety of your tree? Have one of our Certified Arborists/Tree Risk Assessors out to take a look and put your mind at ease.