Hamilton, Dundas, Ancaster, Stoney Creek, Brantford, Brant: 905‑529‑5612

Burlington, Waterdown: 905‑637‑1919

info@beswicktreeservice.com

Do I need a permit to remove, trim, prune or injure my tree in Burlington?

Burlington has very strict permitting requirements for ALL city-owned trees and SOME privately-owned trees. 

YES - A permit must be applied for if your tree(s) meet any of the following criteria: 

  • Injuring, destroying or removing a private tree with a diameter at breast height (“DBH”) of 20cm or greater. See below for how to measure DBH and to see whether your tree qualifies.
  • Disturbing, damaging, destroying, removing, injuring or working around a public tree
  • Injuring, destroying or removing any size tree that is a designated Heritage Tree*
  • Injuring, destroying or removing any size of endangered, at risk, or threatened tree species*
  • If the tree is 100% dead**
  • If the tree has a terminal condition**
  • If the tree is high-risk**

* Additional permits and regulations apply

** Permit required, but fees and compensation are waived

Click here for further detail around terminology and definitions for the City of Burlington permitting process. 

NO - A permit is not required if your tree(s) meet any of the following criteria: 

  • Injury or removal of private trees with a diameter at breast height less than 20cm
  • Private tree maintenance (pruning no more than a third of the live crown of a tree within good arboricultural practice)
  • If the private tree is in a nursery or orchard
  • Emergency tree work provided supporting documents are supplied to the City affirming the emergency. Please refer to the by-law for further details or give us a call.
How do I know if I need a permit to work on my private tree in Burlington?  

First, we need to determine if your tree falls under the Private Tree By-Law. In order to do so, you need to measure your tree’s diameter at breast height (“DBH”). Any private tree with a DBH of 20cm or greater falls under The City of Burlington’s Private Tree By-Law and will require a permit to be removed.

How do I measure DBH?

Using a measuring tape or tailor’s tape, measure the tree trunk’s circumference (all the way around the tree) at breast height, which is defined as 1.37m from the base of the trunk of the tree up the tree’s trunk. See the diagram below for reference.

Once you have the tree’s circumference at breast height, divide that number by 3.14 to get the diameter. For example, a 69cm circumference divided by 3.14 is 22cm diameter at breast height.

A Practical Guide to Measuring DBH

how to measure diameter at breast height, a key permitting requirement with the Town of Ancaster how to measure diameter at breast height, a key permitting requirement with the Town of Ancaster how to measure diameter at breast height, a key permitting requirement with the City of Burlington
My private tree is greater than 20cm DBH - now what? How do I apply for a permit?

Visit this website to begin your application process. Be prepared to provide: 

  1. Information about the tree(s) being applied for, such as their size and species name. One of our ISA-certified arborists can help you here - just give us a call. 
  2. A sketch of where the tree(s) being applied for is on your property (you can take a photo of a simple drawing done by hand) 
  3. At least one photo of each tree being applied for
How much does a tree permit cost in the City of Burlington? 
  • Tree Permit Application Processing Fee: $50 + HST per application
  • Private Tree Permit 1-3 Tree Removals Fee: $325 + HST per application
  • Private Tree Permit 4th Tree Removal Fee: $225 + HST per tree
  • Private Tree Permit 5th or more Tree Removal Fee: $125 + HST per tree
  • Private Tree Permit Injury Fee: $75 + HST per tree
  • Private Tree Replacement (cash-in-lieu): $250 per replacement tree
  • Replacement Tree Security Deposit: $250 per replacement tree
  • Tree Permit Extension/Transfer Fee: $50 per request
  • Compliance Inspection Fee: $500 per contravention
  • Public Tree Permit Removal Fee: $515 + HST per tree
  • Public Tree Permit Injury Fee: $257.50 + HST per tree
  • Public Tree Replacement (cash-in-lieu): $500 per tree
  • Public Tree Security Deposit to be determined by staff

 

I've removed my tree, now what? What are the tree replacement guidelines in the City of Burlington?

 

According to the City of Burlington, all private trees that are removed must be replaced, either through:

  1. Replanting trees within one year of permit issuance or as prescribed on the tree permit
  2. Cash-in-lieu of replacement
  3. A combination of the above two

The number of trees that you must plant after removing a tree is based on the tree size removed. The City of Burlington offers the following guidelines:

Trunk Diameter Compensation Ratio
20 - 35cm 2:1
36 - 74cm 3:1
Greater than or equal to 75cm

4:1

Should you decide to not plant a replacement tree, there is a cash-in-lieu fee of $250 per required replacement tree. This money will be used towards the re-planting of trees elsewhere in the City.

For example, if a removed tree has a DBH measurement of 30cm, this will require two replacement trees and a deposit of $500 ($250 per tree). Once the trees are planted and verified by City of Burlington staff, the $500 will be refunded. If you decide not to replant, the $500 is kept by the City. For additional information, including what trees to plant in lieu of the removed tree, we encourage you to read Burlington’s private tree replacement requirements

Educational resources and guides for navigating the permitting process in the City of Burlington:

  1. City of Burlington Guide to Tree Protection
  2. Public Tree By-law (068-2013)
  3. Private Tree By-law (040-2022)

Still have questions? Visit burlington.ca/forestprotection, call 905-335-7777 or email city@burlington.ca

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