Trees are a precious natural resource. They benefit our environment while beautifying our homes and properties. We work to protect and manage this valuable community resource so we can all enjoy a beautiful community full of trees.

On this page:

  1. Trees on public property
  2. Trees on private property
  3. Backyard tree planting program
  4. Tree conservation bylaw
  5. Tree conservation permits
  6. Tree management policy
  7. Sustainable Urban Forest Strategy

Trees on public property

Trees located within road rights-of-way, boulevards and parks are City-owned. Caring for and removing those trees is our responsibility. Damaging or removing these trees can result in criminal charges.

If you’re unsure if a tree is ours, call us at 519-741-2345.

Trees that cross property lines may have branches overhanging into other properties. Decisions about how to prune those trees is something both neighbours will have to come to an agreement on, we do not get involved in those situations.

Trees on private property

We do not become involved in disputes between yourself and a neighbour about overhanging branches or the maintenance of trees. For information about the property standards that are enforced, please visit our property standards page.

Backyard tree planting program

Do you want to add a new tree to your backyard? We're working with Reep Green Solutions to plant trees in backyards at a reduced price.

The backyard tree planting program includes:

  • personalized property consultation
  • one or two native trees
  • delivery and full planting service
  • care and maintenance guide

Learn more and apply on Reep's website.

Tree conservation bylaw

Our tree conservation bylaw preserves local trees by:

  • enforcing rules about tree removal
  • promoting good forestry and arboricultural practices

Tree conservation permits

You may need a tree conservation permit to remove a tree from a property that’s larger than 0.405 hectares or one acre.

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
  • when a building permit has already been issued for the work
  • pruning a tree, as long as the pruning is done in a manner that does not harm the tree

Apply for a tree conservation permit

To obtain a tree conservation permit, send a completed application form to staff by email.

A complete application includes:

  • a fully completed application form
  • a copy of a detailed plan or survey
  • payment of the required fee
  • written consent from adjacent property owners if trees straddle a property line (if applicable)

If all the trees you’re removing are dead, dying or hazardous, contact our planning division to see if you need a permit.

Tree management policy

Trees improve our health, environment, economy and quality of life. Our long history of protecting and enhancing Kitchener’s tree canopy is guided by our Tree Management Policy.

Removing trees during development

When removing trees as part of the development of a piece of land, we will need:

  • a general vegetation overview
  • a detailed vegetation plan or tree preservation plan

These must be included with the development application.

Sustainable Urban Forest Strategy

Learn more about our strategy to plant, maintain and protect Kitchener’s urban forest. Learn more about this long-term strategy.