Tree Laws and Regulations
Learning if a tree is on your property or on the City’s property
Before doing work on any tree, determine the ownership of the tree.
A tree close to the street may be owned by the City. Even if it looks like it’s on your property, it may actually be located on the City road allowance, or street boulevard. If you're unsure of where your property line is, determine tree ownership:
- using the City's COSMOS mapping system, or
- by calling us at 604-501-5050 to speak with a City arborist.
Once you have determined tree ownership, get familiar with tree pruning laws and regulations.
Tree pruning on City property
The road allowance or street boulevard is the area in front of your house between your property line and the paved road. It often includes part of your lawn and the sidewalk if there is one.
The street boulevard and the trees on it are City property.
The cutting of City trees on the street boulevard is regulated by law to protect the trees. Refer to By-law 5835 (PDF. New window.), which regulates the cutting of trees on City property.
If you have a City tree on the street boulevard near your home and you wish to do work on it, call the Parks Division call centre at 604-501-5050 and an arborist will be assigned to provide you with important information or instructions.
Tree pruning on private property
If the tree is on your private property, you don't need a Tree Cutting Permit to prune it. But, pruning must meet sound arboriculture practices. Hire a certified arborist (PDF. New window) to do the pruning for you, to make sure the pruning's done correctly.
But, be careful not to top a tree. Tree topping is considered damage, and is an offense under the Tree Protection By-law (PDF. New window.). But, if a tree's been topped previously, you can top the tree again.
Call the City's Trees and Landscape section at 604-591-4675 for more information about trees on private property.