Why are there separate by-laws for public and private trees?

    The Public Tree By-law was developed to regulate the planting, maintenance and protection of trees and shrubs on City-owned and maintained lands in Mississauga. It also regulates the pruning, trimming, removal or damage of City-owned trees.

    The Private Tree By-law seeks to preserve trees on private property (residential and commercial) in Mississauga to help sustain and maintain Mississauga’s tree canopy. It also describes the rules that govern tree ownership in Mississauga and the responsibility of tree maintenance.

    Who do the tree by-laws affect?

     

    The Public Tree By-law affects utility companies, developers, residents and the City.

    The Private Tree By-law affects all private property owners.

    Why are the tree by-laws being updated?

    The existing by-laws are outdated. The Public Tree By-law hasn’t been updated since 1975 and the Private Tree By-law was last updated on December 12, 2012. 

    The City has documented significant increases in damage and destruction of public trees over the past several years. To reflect changing times and enhance the protection and safety of all trees in Mississauga, both by-laws needed to be updated. 

    Updating the by-laws will also ensure they reflect current best practices and urban forestry standards. 

    Who enforces the tree by-laws?

    The City’s tree officers enforce the tree by-laws through tree permit processes and complaints received.

    What if a tree is on both private and public property?

    If the tree is on both properties, it is subject to the Public Tree By-law. Written consent will be required by both property owners in order to remove the tree.

Public Trees

    What is considered a City-owned tree?

    City-owned trees include street trees, park trees and those in natural areas such as forests, woodlands and trails.

    Can I prune or remove a public tree?

    No – if a tree is dead or is dying, call 311 (or 905-615-4311). However, if a tree needs to be pruned or removed due to development or construction, you may apply for a public tree permit.

    When is a public tree permit required?

    A public tree permit is required when any activity above or below ground may injure or destroy a public tree.

    What fines are associated with a Public Tree By-law infraction?

    For individuals, first conviction is $2,500 per tree; subsequent convictions will be $5,000 per tree.

    For corporations, first conviction is $5,000 per tree; subsequent convictions will be $10,000 per tree.

    Can a resident plant a tree on public property?

    The City’s Forestry Section is responsible for selecting tree species, location and planting of street trees on municipal property.

    Decisions to replace trees are based on standards designed to promote a wide variety of trees – including native species, where possible – and to discourage planting of the same tree species. The City also enforces the necessary spacing guidelines between trees and municipal/private infrastructure, including underground utilities. 

    Trees are selected based on their size at maturity, complete shape and form to minimize conflicts between their anticipated growth with existing trees, hydro wires, signs, light standards and other structures.

    Can I remove firewood, logs or debris from a City-owned woodland or naturalized area?

    No – logs, debris and branches help the natural ecosystem and environment. Decomposing trees slowly add nutrients into the soil over time.

Private Trees

    When do I need a private tree permit?

    A private tree permit is required for the removal of three or more trees with a diameter greater than 15 cm (6 inches).

    If there are dead trees on your property, a permit is also required for the removal of three or more dead trees with a diameter greater than 15cm – however, no permit fees will be applied.

    How many trees can I remove on my property without a permit?

    Property owners can remove two trees of any size in a calendar year without a permit.

    Do I need a permit to prune a tree on my property?

    No – a permit is not required as long as it is in accordance with good arboricultural practices.

    Why are trees important in Mississauga?

    Trees play a vital role in the fight against climate change, including lowering temperatures, providing shade on hot days, providing habitat for wildlife and making Mississauga beautiful by adding charm to neighbourhoods. Trees are also an important component to a healthy ecosystem by filtering pollution, controlling flooding and storing carbon.

    What are other municipalities doing to protect trees?

    Many municipalities such as Toronto, Oakville, Burlington, Ottawa and more have private tree by-laws that often require a permit for a single tree over a set diameter to be removed.