Peterborough Tree By-laws

Tree Conservation Bylaw
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 [email protected]; 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 [email protected] 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.