Public Reminded of Tree Protection Bylaw

Public Reminded of Importance of Tree Protection Bylaw
Posted on 04/15/2020
The City of Charlottetown would like to remind the public that a tree protection bylaw is in place to assist with the management and protection of the urban forest canopy. City Council passed the bylaw in May 2019, recognizing the importance of trees as green infrastructure. While social distancing continues to be in effect, citizens might use this time to clean-up their properties; this may include removing or pruning trees.

The Tree Protection Bylaw must be followed by all members of the public including residents, contractors and builders. Written permission must be obtained from the City for any removal or pruning of City-owned or Heritage trees. Removal or damage of a public or protected tree without written permission will result in penalties.

The bylaw applies to all trees on City-owned property. It also applies to heritage trees on private or public property, which are trees with a diameter at breast height (DBH) of more than 100 centimetres and are American elm, sugar maple, red maple, red oak or linden species.

The purpose of the bylaw is to regulate and establish requirements for preservation, protection, maintenance, removal and replacement of protected trees.
The Tree Protection Bylaw falls under the responsibility of the Environment and Sustainability committee, in collaboration with the City’s Public Works department. It complements the City’s urban forest management and maintenance programs, along with its comprehensive urban tree inventory. It includes protocols for invasive species and dealing with elm and ash trees, which are at risk of being infected by disease or invasive insect pests.

The Tree Protection Bylaw is accessible in the City’s bylaw index. 

Anyone with questions about a heritage tree or a tree on public property, can contact the City at 902-566-5548.

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Additional information:
There are 17 restrictions outlined in the Tree Protection Bylaw with the intent to protect City-owned trees and Heritage trees. The following are some of the highlights from the bylaw:
● Written permission must be granted by the City to remove, prune or negatively impact City-owned trees and Heritage trees;
● Requests to remove or alter healthy, public trees may be subject to fees, approvals/exemptions.
● Contravention of the bylaw may result in penalties and/or stop work orders;
● These penalties can amount to a fine of $4,000.
● The City may approve maintenance work that impacts public trees when carried out under the authority of the City.
● City work that will alter public trees must be approved by the City Arborist or designate.
● Pruning must be done in accordance with International Society of Arborists standards. Proper pruning and pruning cuts help to promote tree health;
● Heritage trees include trees that have a 100 centimetres in diameter at breast height (DBH) or greater, on public or private property and are one of the following species: red maple, sugar maple, elm species, red oak, linden species;
● Tree Protection Zone (TPZ) protects the above and below ground parts of the tree by eliminating activity within the drip line and within at least one metre of the tree. This will be of particular interest and importance during planning and developments, as well as to utility companies and contractors;
● Restrictions apply to decorative lighting and other articles that are hung in City-owned trees as they can be damaging in high winds, to new leaf buds and if hung on small branches;
● Invasive species programs are in place to manage diseases and insect pests such as Dutch elm disease. Proactive monitoring of ash trees is taking place to detect the emerald ash borer when it arrives in Charlottetown. There is a ban on pruning ash and elm trees between March 30 and October 30, when the harmful insects are active. Use of infested wood is regulated by the City;
● Trees in parks, green spaces, woodlands and buffer zones are protected;
● Any funds generated from the implementation of the Tree Protection Bylaw will be placed in a Tree Reserve Fund and used to plant more trees.