New Rules as of January 27, 2020 - Removal of Trees

The City of Burlington is taking exciting and important steps to battle climate change through preserving and growing the City’s tree canopy. As of Jan. 27, 2020, anyone within the City’s urban boundary will need to apply for a permit and on-site consultation to remove a tree greater than 20 cm in diameter (8”) measured at 1.4 m from the ground, or if you would like to remove more than five trees between 10 and 20 cm (4-8”) measured at 1.4 m from the ground in a calendar year. Heritage trees and endangered species are also protected.

Permits are also needed for any activity that may injure or damage a tree.

The permit application can be found online at

A private tree task-force is being assembled with a goal of creating an incentive program for homeowners to plant trees on their private property. Details of the task-force and the incentive program are still being finalized and will be shared once ready.

To read the full bylaw, including information on permits, protected trees, exemptions and fines, visit

When do I need a permit?

Property owners will need to apply for a Tree Removal Permit when removing:

  • A tree greater than 20 cm diameter measured at 1.4 m from the ground
  • More than five trees between 10 and 20 cm measured at 1.4 m from the ground
  • Any size of tree that is a designated Heritage Tree*
  • Any size of endangered, at risk, or threatened tree species*
  • If the tree is dead**
  • If the tree is diseased with no chance of recovery**
  • If the tree is within 2 m of an occupied dwelling**

* Additional permits and regulations apply

**Permit is still required; fees and compensation are waived.

When do I not need a permit?

  • Removing trees of less than 20 cm in diameter measured at 1.4 m above the ground (no more than four per year)
  • Tree maintenance (pruning)
  • For emergency work, such as utility repairs
  • Trees at high-risk of injuring a person or damaging property
  • If the tree is located in a nursery or orchard
  • If the tree is an invasive species*

Replacement Trees

Trees that are injured or removed under the Tree Removal Permit will need to be replaced. The tree’s diameter, measured at 1.4 m above ground, as well as the overall condition rating will impact the total number of cm required to be replaced. Generally, one replacement tree is required for every 10 cm diameter removed. The on-site consultation will determine measurements and replacements.

If there is no room for the replacement trees to be planted on the property, there will be a charge of $400 per replacement tree. This money will be used toward the Private Tree Incentive Program where private homeowners will be encouraged to plant trees on their property.

Fees and Fines

  • Tree Permit, Development Related Application: $680/property
  • Tree Permit, Non-Development Related Application: $390/property
  • Cash-in-Lieu of Replacement Compensation (Cash-in-Lieu): $400/tree
  • Private Tree Bylaw fine: $680/tree

Public Information Sessions

Public information sessions are being planned to help educate residents and homeowners about the bylaw. When details are confirmed, information will be posted on, on the City’s social media as well as other methods.

For more information, including the online application form, go to

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