Guelph Tree Removal By-Laws

The Guelph Tree Removal By-Laws are an integral component of the city’s commitment to conserving its urban canopy. If you need to remove a tree in Guelph, you must comply with the applicable by-laws, or you’ll be subject to hefty fines.

Regulated Trees Protection

By-Law Number (2010) – 19058 1 prohibits you from destroying, injuring, or causing the destruction of any regulated tree within the geographic limits of Guelph City. In this case, a regulated tree refers to any species of a coniferous or deciduous growing woody perennial plant with a single root system.

The tree should be at least 4.5 meters high or have a potential of reaching that height from the ground level at physiological maturity. It should also have at least 10 cm diameter at breast height (DBH) and growing on a land parcel larger than 0.2 hectares, or 0.5 acres in size.

If you plan to destroy or injure a regulated tree, you need to submit an application in addition to the inspector’s applicable fees.

Some of the information your application should contain include:

  • The location of the tree you want to destroy
  • Your name and contact information
  • The names, contact details, and written permission of all the tree owners.
  • The reason for seeking the permit and the nature of the proposed injuring or destruction

If you’re looking to destroy at least three trees, the inspector may also require a Replanting, Replacement, and Landscaping plan. After reviewing your application, the inspector may issue a permit subject to various conditions, such as:

  • That you destroy or injure the tree in a specified manner.
  • That you replace the destroyed or injured tree with at least one tree and maintain it according to the inspector’s recommendations.
  • That if a replacement isn’t viable, you pay $500 in lieu per tree injured or destroyed.

Pruning or Removing City-owned Trees

According to Guelph tree removal by-laws, you cannot prune or remove a tree on city property without a permit. However, you may not need a license if you want to remove:

  • Dead or dying trees
  • A tree posing danger to property or life
  • A tree impacted by a natural calamity or other unforeseen causes

Heritage Trees and Permits

You cannot remove any tree considered a heritage attribute of a property without a permit. This by-law also applies to trees under the heritage conservation district defined in Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act 2.

The Guelph’s Brooklyn and College Hill Heritage Conservation District 3 requires you to obtain a permit if you want to remove a tree in a side or front yard with a diameter of at least 20 centimeters.

If you violate any of Guelph tree removal by-laws, you may be subject to a fine of up to $10,000 or $1,000 for each tree, whichever is greater. Any subsequent violation will attract a fine of up to $25,000 or $2,500 per tree. Remember, you don’t need a tree removal permit for a property smaller than 0.2 hectares.