Privately owned trees

The City of London Municipal Council approved the new City of London Tree Protection By-law C.P.-1555-252 at its November 24, 2020 meeting with it going into effect March 1, 2021. Residents, industry experts, prior users of the permitting system and the Trees & Forests Advisory Committee were consulted as part of the crafting of the by-law.  If you have any questions, please email

Dead Distinctive Tree Information

Select this if you need an application to destroy a dead Distinctive Tree and the tree meets the following criteria: trunk diameter of 50cm or greater; and located within the Urban Growth Boundary (but not in a Tree Protection Area); and is dead or is in advanced and irreversible decline in health or condition (only if as a result of natural causes)

Distinctive Tree Information

Select this if you need an application to destroy or injure a Distinctive Tree and the tree meets the following criteria: trunk diameter of 50cm or greater; and located within the Urban Growth Boundary (but not in a Tree Protection Area); and does not meet the definition of a Dead Distinctive Tree.

Tree Protection Area Information

This is an application for a Permit to Destroy or Injure a Tree or Trees in a Tree Protection Area. You can use this application if the Tree(s) it is located within a Tree Protection Area on Schedule B of this By-law.

Q&A from Tree Protection By-Law Meeting

These questions were asked by participants at an on-line meeting held with industry partners on February 18, 2021. The goal of the meeting was to introduce the new Tree Protection By-law C.P.-1555-252, discuss major changes and highlight the application process. There were approximately 40 participants from various fields such as tree care companies, landscape architects, Registered Professional Foresters and consultants.                     

  1. Is there a size requirement for replacement trees at the time of planting i.e., sapling versus 45 cm DBH? What size of replacement tree is required?

Arborists are encouraged in their Arborist Report to specify a size of replacement tree that will satisfy the landowner. Routine acceptable size can be If a “not less than” size is imposed in the permit conditions a landowner can plant a tree that exceeds the minimum size imposed but may not plant smaller.

  1. Can you please expand on replacement trees that are established through natural regeneration (Tree Protection Area permit)

Replacement trees are required to be planted for all but Dead Distinctive Tree (DDT) permits. Where a Distinctive Tree was destroyed, a replacement tree(s) will be required to be planted, the number of replacement trees varying with trunk diameter as per Schedule A.

In Tree Protection Areas replacement trees may be planted, established by natural regeneration, or seeded, this will be determined on a site-by-site basis.  All required replacement trees and whether they are to be planted, established naturally, or seeded, will be specified in the permit conditions.

  1. If you remove an evergreen will you need to replace with another evergreen or similar for deciduous?

Not necessarily. The City may encourage evergreen trees to be planted if these are under-represented locally, but there is nothing within the by-law that requires like-for-like. Arborists are welcome to say if the landowner has any preference for the species or a range of preferred species in their Arborist Report.

  1. My response to homeowners concerned about replanting and not wanting to replant is “no one is coming to follow up more than once on these trees”. Can you actually enforce the on-going care of the planting?

The replacement for a Distinctive Tree is not going to be large enough to be protected as a Distinctive Tree. Unfortunately, once the planted replacement tree(s) has/have been confirmed to be planted with the conditions of the permit there will be no further follow up. This is why it is so important to work with the landowners when selecting replacement trees that they would appreciate and care for them over the long-term.

In Tree Protection Areas, where trees of all sizes are protected, the by-law will protect those replacement trees i.e. staff can enforce the by-law as necessary.

  1. When proving to the City that replacement trees have been planted, do we do that simply with an email to with photos etc. with reference to the permit number? Or is there a more official process to follow?

That sounds ideal! Yes, please email tree planting pictures to before the permit expires.

  1. Are distinctive trees in agricultural hedgerows protected if they are removed under normal farm practices?

Not likely in that specific scenario. Most of our agricultural hedgerows are outside the Urban Growth Boundary where there are, by definition, no Distinctive Trees. Normal farm practices and the protected rights to farm are as legislated by the Farm & Food Production Protection Act. What is “normal”, however, is not for staff to decide; that is the jurisdiction of the Normal Farm Practices Board. If the by-law is enforced in Tree Protection Areas that are farmed this may lead to a hearing at the Normal Farm Practices Board.

  1. What is the incentive for the contractor to point out that the tree died of resurfacing (concrete or gravel driveway/yard) and that the client is at fault?

It is not a natural death, but does this fall under DDT?

It could be an opportunity to educate the client about their tree and impacts to them from construction. There are many informative pamphlets that can assist tree owners about tree care at the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Trees Are Good webpage.

Correct, that is not a natural death and as such the DDT does not apply. An application through the Distinctive Tree stream where an Arborist Report is required would be the appropriate process in this case.

  1. Under what conditions would additional information be required?

Good question! This is almost impossible to determine until staff have an application before them. Generally, any application for woodland management purposes in a Tree Protection Area will always require an additional Silvicultural Prescription or Tree Management Plan.

Some other examples could include the following:

  • a drawing of the Site showing any proposed development, construction, works, excavation, or site alteration that may require the Tree Injury or Destruction, and a schedule for this proposed activity, including start and end dates
  • confirmation of any other matters (past or present Planning applications or otherwise) affecting the land upon which the Tree or Trees are to be Injured or Destroyed
  • affidavits in support of an application
  1. Will the proposed changes to the Foresters Act affect who can provide reports?

At this time, changes have not been confirmed so it is unknown what those changes will include. However, it will be up to the individual submitting the report to ensure that they are complying with the Foresters Act.

  1. Is cash-in-lieu expected at the permit stage?

Cash-in-lieu is not a term used in the bylaw. The funding that is required is a result of required Replacement Trees. This funding is a “fee”, it must be paid before the permit can be issued and is non-refundable.

  1. If cash-in-lieu is given and the permit expires, will the money be refunded?

No. Whereas, this is a “fee” it is non-refundable.  

  1. You are not saying it’s a penalty or tax on the landowner?

It is a fee imposed for not having adequate space to plant a required replacement tree on the same lands from which the original tree was removed.

  1. Why undermine the contractor’s expertise to their client, e.g., the rejection of a permit application based on omitting information, if they are to make a mistake? We all make mistakes.

Absolutely, we all make mistakes. There is no undermining intended in requiring full, complete, accurate applications as required by the by-law. Staff work with contractors routinely through the application process. However, in some cases, information is not forth coming after months of requests. This is time consuming and creates issues trying to keep track of files. Under this bylaw staff will offer a second chance to complete the application requirements by a specified date before it will be closed for incompleteness. The applicant will have to resubmit the application.

  1. For boundary trees between 2 private properties – a permit application is now required from each landowner. Is there a spot on the application to reference that they application is 1 of 2 (or 3 or more) to be expected?

Thank-you for the suggestion. Yes, that is correct, all landowners must submit separate applications. This is because boundary trees are the property of all landowners. It would be quite okay to just write on the form that another application(s) is expected.

We will consider including a check box on the application form or a” boundary tree package” application.

  1. You are requiring a permit to be written in simple terms as a non tree person will be reading it. Is this not a total contradiction?

This is to help when there is an appeal with the Hearings Officer and having to educate them on industry terms. If you use a technical term, explain what it means. For example, what does AGS and UGS mean? If you write “included bark” please explain what that means.

  1. Are all backyards now TPA free?

No. There are still backyards with TPA. Please always check on the City of London’s CityMap if the address is included in the TPA. To do this enter the address in the “find address or place” search field and check the Tree Protection Area box on the layer list. If you need any assistance with this, please email

  1. What is your response to a landowner who applies for a permit and has not hired a contractor yet? I am assuming you would advise them they have to hire an Arborist for an Opinion or Report?

Yes, you are correct. The landowner will be informed that an Arborist Opinion or Arborist Report is required for all application types. Without them, the application will be deemed incomplete and will not be processed.  

Last modified:Thursday, August 26, 2021