Tree conservation


Trees are one of our most precious natural resources -- invaluable community assets that are in need of our protection.

Our tree conservation bylaw guides us in our efforts to preserve local trees by:

  • Allowing us to enforce set rules and control the removal of trees in Kitchener, and
  • Promoting good forestry and arboricultural practices to sustain healthy woodlands and the urban forest.

Please keep in mind:

Trees located within road right-of-ways, boulevards and parks are city-owned trees; all planting, care and maintenance and/or removal of such trees are our responsibilities. Damaging and/or removal of a city tree are chargeable offenses. For more information on city trees, please contact us at 519-741-2345.Trees that cross property lines and the pruning of branches that overhang onto neighbouring properties are civil issues between neighbours and are not addressed by the tree conservation bylaw.

Tree conservation permits

Please be aware - if you have a tree on your property that you would like to remove, and your land is 0.405 hectares (1.0 acre) in size or greater, you will require a tree conversation permit.

Our tree permitting process enables us to assess conservation opportunities and make specifications, if possible, for tree retention before trees are removed.

A permit is not required for:

  • Trees that are less than 10 cm. in diameter at breast height.
  • The removal of a dead, diseased or hazardous tree when certified as such by an individual designated or approved by our director of planning.
  • The removal of a damaged or destroyed tree, when certified as such by an individual designated or approved by our director of planning, where the removal is in the interest of public safety, health or general welfare following any man-made or natural disasters, storms, high winds, floods, fires, snowfall or freezes.
  • The removal of trees located within five metres (16.4 feet) of an occupied building.
  • The removal of trees located within a building envelope in respect of which a building permit has been issued pursuant to the Building Code Act, 1990.
  • Pruning a tree, as long as the pruning is done in a manner that does not harm the tree.

How to apply for a tree conservation permit

If you require a tree conservation permit, please submit the following items:

  • A completed application form.
  • Five copies of a detailed plan or survey (if all trees are considered dead, dying or hazardous, please consult with our director of planning to determine if a plan is required).
  • Payment of the required fees.
  • Written consent from an adjacent property owner where a tree straddles a property line.

2019 permit fees:

  • Tree conservation permit - $124
  • Tree conservation permit with revisions - $64
  • Tree conservation permit renewal - $64 (if a permit is renewed 30 calendar days before the original expiry date).
  • A tree conservation permit will remain in effect for 90 calendar days from the date of issuance.

A permit may be extended if an application to renew is filed at least 30 calendar days before the expiry date. This can be done by making a written request to our director of planning - provided the proposed work, upon which we based our decision to grant the original permit, has not changed.

Are you developing land?

If tree removal is part of your plans to develop a parcel of land in Kitchener, we require the following items, based on the terms of our tree management policy:

  • A general vegetation overview, and
  • A detailed vegetation plan or tree preservation/enhancement plan.
  • These items must be filed either with the development application, before the application, or at the time of the pre-consultation. Our decision to grant a permit hinges on approval of each item.

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