Frequently asked questions

What is a Certified Arborist?

A Certified Arborist is someone who has spent time training and studying to become knowledgeable in all aspects of arboriculture. Usually, a person would be an ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) Certified Arborist or an MTCU (Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities) Certified Arborist. In both cases, the arborist is required to have a number of years of experience and has taken a formal examination to attain the qualification. You can find more information on arborist certifications here.

What is a Tree Protection Zone?

A Tree Protection Zone is an area surrounding a tree in which no construction activities can occur. The size of the Tree Protection Zone is determined by the trunk diameter (DBH); the bigger the DBH to bigger the Tree Protection Zone. If you need to encroach upon the Tree Protection Zone a permit is required.

What does 'Diameter at Breast Height' (DBH) mean?

'My breast is at a different height from my tall friend's breast height, how is that accurate?' Diameter at breast is a term used when measuring the diameter of a tree trunk. Breast height is actually 1.4 metres above the ground. Arborists have a special tape that does the math for us but if you want to measure your own tree at home you can simply measure the circumference at 1.4 metres above the ground and calculate the diameter from there. If it is a long time since high school math you can use this helpful link to determine the diameter.

I only have a few trees on my property and they are not very close to my proposed addition, do I still need a Tree Protection Plan?

Yes, the trees may be close to construction access points or where materials may be stored. If it is a large tree, the Tree Protection Zone could be over 6 M, so it is important to inventory every bylaw protected tree on the property and those on neighbouring properties within 6 metres of site disturbance. If you're not sure, you can always give us a call or we can arrange a site walkthrough.

What is a compensation / replacement tree?

One of the conditions of a tree removal permit application is to replace the tree that is being removed. The rationale is that Municipalities want to have a great canopy cover to reap all of the benefits that urban trees provide. With this in mind, the City has specific requirements when it comes to the species of a replacement tree. The tree must be large growing and preferably a native species.

Can I plant a Japanese maple as a replacement tree?

Unfortunately, a Japanese maple wouldn't qualify for a compensation/replacement tree. The requirements for the replacement are that the tree is large growing and preferably a native species. Examples of such trees are Sugar maple, red oak, red maple etc. A comprehensive list will be coming to the site soon so stay tuned!!

What is an exploratory dig?

Sometimes encroachment into the Tree Protection Zone can't be avoided, in some cases excavation is proposed in the Tree Protection Zone but before the City can issue a permit to injure a tree they must be able to assess the impact that the excavation will have. The tree may lose many feeder roots or could have large roots severed which could compromise the structural stability of the tree. Exploratory digs are helpful to assess the extent of root structures within the area of encroachment and determine the impact on the tree. An exploratory dig is usually carried out using an air excavation tool or a hydro vacuum, the soil is removed from the area using these tools with very little damage to roots. The roots that are present are documented and the soil is backfilled. A report is typically sent to the City so they can make their decision whether or not to issue the permit.

I want to build a new house but I love the trees in my yard, what should I do?

The best thing to do is to have an on-site consultation, with the help of your arborist you can determine where the tree protection zones are and how best to design your new home while protecting the trees. Trees are known to increase property values as well as many other benefits so it is well worth investing the time to plan with the trees in mind. Give us a shout, we'd be excited to help you plan your project!

How do I know if my tree is bylaw protected?

A detailed description of the tree bylaws each municipality within the GTA is coming to the site soon but in the meantime you can click on the link below to read the tree bylaw directly from the source Toronto Vaughan Richmond Hill Mississauga Burlington Brampton


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