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Forestry & Street Trees

Scene of a forested area

Did you know that the tree in front of your house may be a City-owned tree? Maintaining healthy trees is a priority for the Forestry Division. There are approximately 3,500 trees located on public land and over 13,000 trees are located on City boulevards. If the City-owned tree adjacent to your home has been inspected and maintenance work is required, an inspection notice outlining works required will be left at your home.

 City Tree Inspections

If you feel that the City-owned tree adjacent to your home requires maintenance work or you are concerned about its health, please click the link above - Report a City Tree Issue. Forestry staff will inspect the tree and will schedule work based on their findings and the future requirements of the tree.

 City Tree Maintenance

Maintenance work is performed after staff have conducted site inspections and generated work orders to complete tree pruning, removal or other maintenance works. Only trees which are dead, in decline or structurally unsound are removed. In some instances, all City-owned trees located on a street or within a neighbourhood are pruned at one time to ensure proper clearance over the roadway or sidewalk.

 Storm Response

During a storm event, Forestry staff responds to calls from residents and emergency services with all calls being prioritized. Trees that are blocking main arterial roads, or have fallen on buildings or Hydro lines are dealt with as soon as a crew can be dispatched. All other situations including broken branches, trees down in parks etc. are dealt with after all priority calls have been resolved.

Depending on the severity of the storm, crews may initially attend a site to make the area safe and then return at a later time to complete the required work.

Request a City Tree

Did you know that you can request a City tree to be planted in front of your residence? The Parks Department - Forestry Division plants trees twice per year, in the spring and fall, depending on species. Tree planting is carried out by a contractor approved by the City of Woodstock.  Please click the link above to request a City tree.

Where Will the Tree be Planted? Who is Responsible for Maintaining the Tree?

The tree will be planted on the City owned road allowance, in the most fitting location to each individual property. There is no cost to the homeowner for planting and maintenance of the tree. The City will perform all inspections, trimming and removals. The City does ask that the homeowner waters the tree during the summer months, for the first 2-3 years. A tree care guide with watering instructions will be provided to each household at the time of planting.

 Why Do We Plant Trees?

 Trees provide many benefits to the urban community, including:

  • Reducing the heat island effect by cooling streets, parking lots, and driveways;

  • Reducing heating and cooling costs by providing shade in the summer, and wind barricades in the winter;

  • Aiding with Storm Water Management through water uptake and retention;

  • Reducing noise pollution and wind speeds;

  • Filtering air pollution;

  • Reducing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen;

  • Providing a habitat for wildlife;

  • Creating a sense of security and a healthier, more beautiful, community. 

 What Trees are Available for Selection?

After a tree request is submitted, the Parks Department - Forestry Division will inspect the area of request and deliver to the residence a brochure of trees available for selection. This may take approximately 2-4 weeks after your request has been submitted. 

Note: The City Arborist will have the final decision regarding all tree selections.

New Subdivision Trees

We plant trees in new subdivisions based upon agreements between the Developer and the City. Street trees are planted once all homes are built, roadways have at least one coat of asphalt, curbs and driveways have been installed and sodding has been completed.

New home owners may find a tree related charge on the closing purchase price of their home. This charge has been incurred by the developer to plant community trees.

Not every address receives a tree due to planting limitations such as conflicts with underground utilities & pedestals, fire hydrants, light & hydro poles and stop signs. The City does not provide refunds for street tree planting. Residents cannot contribute funds in order to receive upgrades, additional trees or to have trees planted on their private property.

Replacement Tree Planting

When a dead, dying or diseased tree located on City property requires removal, a new replacement tree(s) will be replanted in a location determined by Forestry staff.

All requests for a replacement tree must be submitted to Forestry prior to April 1st of each year.

Planting Shared Trees

Occasionally, while planting trees on City-owned boulevards, we must plant between two house frontages to:
  • avoid planting trees in drainage swales;
  • avoid future interference with driveways;
  • allow the planting of a variety of broad crowned trees on limited frontages;
  • allow for adequate rooting area to sustain a new tree; or
  • avoid competition between developing tree crowns.

Caring for Your Boulevard Tree

The trees planted on your street were carefully chosen to provide shade, windbreaks and privacy; attract birds and wildlife; and beautify your neighbourhood. Help keep your street trees healthy by following these tips:

  • Do not trim the tree, the city will trim the tree as it matures
  • Keep lawn mowers and string trimmers away from tree trunks to avoid damaging the bark, which can eventually kill a tree.
  • Do not excavate around the base of your tree--you can easily damage the tree's small feeder roots at the surface of the lawn.
  • Leave wood chips and mulch at the base of the tree in place--they protect the tree from damage and reduce water loss by allowing water and nutrients to enter the soil more easily.
  • Do not pile soil or grass clippings over mulch or woodchips.
  • Water slowly and deeply using a soaker hose or a sprinkler to encourage the tree's roots to grow deep, protecting it from drought.
  • Maintain a healthy lawn and boulevard.

 Watering Young Street Trees

The goal is moist soil as far as 8 to 12 inches below the surface..
  • For the first three years, young trees need weekly watering from mid-April to mid-October.
  • Probe your soil below the surface before watering. If the soil feels moist and sticky, allow it to dry for several more days before watering. If the soil feels dry and crumbly, water deeply once a week..
  • Water deeply by setting your hose on a slow trickle at the base of the tree or use a soaker hose around the tree. On average, your tree will need 15 gallons of water per week.
  • Remember that lawn watering will not replace the need to deeply water young trees.

 Mulching Young Trees

The City of Woodstock places mulch around the new street tree which creates a healthy environment. Do not mulch directly around the trunk. Please follow the next guidelines.
  • Remember the 4 x 4 x 4 rule: spread mulch in a 4-foot diameter around the tree, 4 inches away from the trunk, and 4 inches deep.
  • Mulch will keep soil temperatures cool, retain water, and discourage weeds. It will slowly decompose and should be replenished as needed during the first three growing years.
  • Fertilizer is not recommended at planting time. Trees come with enough fertilizer from the nursery, and over time mulch will provide new nutrients to the tree.
  • Bone meal is an acceptable fertilizer when used as directed by the manufacturer.
  • Avoid using " weed and feed " fertilizers. They contain herbicides that can damage or kill young trees.

 Pruning

All pruning will be done by the City of Woodstock Parks Department staff. Any damages done to a street tree by a homeowner pruning may include a fine or the full cost of the removal and replacement of the tree. More information on pruning can be found below.

 Weeding and Protecting

Keeping your tree out of harm's way
  • Weeds and grass compete with trees for water and nutrients. They are also allelopathic (they produce a chemical which inhibits other plant growth, including trees).
  • Do not use weed trimmers or lawn mowers near the base of trees. Hand-pull weeds instead. When the thin bark of a young tree is injured, the bark will split and die back. This can cause diseases and unwanted pests, resulting in decay or death.
  • For optimal tree growth and health keep a four foot circle around your young tree clear of grass, weeds, or other plant life.

City Responsibilities for Boulevard Trees

 Damaged or Diseased Trees

If you notice a municipal tree is damaged or diseased, please contact the Forestry section at the Parks and Recreation Dept. 

 Pruning

Municipal Property

The City of Woodstock prunes trees on municipal properties only. If you notice newly planted trees that require attention (eg. have broken stakes), please contact the Forestry section at the number or email at the bottom of the page.

Pruning Trees on Neighbouring Private Property

The act of pruning trees on neighbouring private property affects private property rights and is a civil issue between private property owners. The city has no jurisdiction with respect to such issues. Therefore, it is best for property owners to come to an agreement between themselves with respect to trees overhanging property lines. If an agreement cannot be reached, you may want to consult a lawyer to determine your legal rights.

If pruning branches from your neighbour's tree that overhang your property, please remember:

  1. You cannot trespass on your neighbour's property;
  2. You cannot damage your neighbour's property (in this case a tree); and
  3. You have the right to maintain your property in a safe condition

 Hydro-Line Clearing

Woodstock Hydro Services along with the City of Woodstock conduct regularly scheduled tree maintenance to create the necessary clearances between hydro wires and nearby trees.

 Woodlot Maintenance

City crews prune and remove trees in woodlands throughout the city when necessary to protect the safety of people or property, or to promote forest health. All limb and trunk wood is left on site within the wooded area, according to practices endorsed by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). This encourages the natural regeneration of the woodland by providing biomass material for regrowth, provides habitat for woodland insects and animals, and leaves the sensitive woodland understory undisturbed.

Other woodlot maintenance action may include managing pests and diseases, invasive vegetation control, and prescribed burns to promote seedling and vegetation regeneration.

Request a Permit to Injure, Remove/Destroy a Tree

Privately Owned Land

The City of Woodstock has bylaws in place to prevent unnecessary destruction or injury of trees. Chapter 763, states that any property deemed as a woodland, lands with pending applications for development, environmentally protected, and certain zoning categories must apply to make changes to the trees on that land.

There are exemptions for this bylaw and they are laid out in the bylaw document under Article 4.

Click Here to see the City of Woodstock bylaw document - Property Maintenance Chapter 763 Trees Protection - Privately-Owned Lands.

If you own property as described in the bylaw and would like to make changes to the trees on your land click the link above to submit your application.

 What About a Tree in my Yard?

Trees located on residential land, not owned by the City of Woodstock are at the discretion of the property owner. The City of Woodstock does not need to give approval for injury or removal of those trees. If you have a tree on your property that you are unsure is on City land, please call 519-539-2382 ext. 4101 and we will have a staff member come out and do an inspection.

Contact Us

© 2017 City of Woodstock P.O. Box 1539, 500 Dundas Street, Woodstock, ON N4S 0A7

 

Phone: 519-539-1291
Email: General Information

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