Arborist removing a tree in Ottawa.


If you have a tree on your Ottawa property that you intend to fell and remove, you may need City of Ottawa tree removal permits. The rule of thumb for Ottawa tree removal permits is 30 centimetres. To remove a tree that is larger than 30cm in diameter, you’ll require a permit from the city. Here are the exceptions where no permit is needed to tree removal in Ottawa:

  • Tree is less than 30cm in diameter (12in), measured at the trunk, on property less than one hectare
  • The tree is located in an interior courtyard, solarium, rooftop garden, etc.
  • Tree threatens health & safety or could damage infrastructure & needs removal ASAP
  • Trees on an orchard, nursery, farm, cemetery or golf course
  • Tree pruning (cutting branches, sections, etc.) does NOT require a permit

Removing a tree in Ottawa that would have required a permit is considered a bylaw violation, and you would be subject to fines from $500 to $100,000.


How can I tell if my tree is big enough to need a tree removal permit?

For the purpose of determining whether a tree needs a permit to be cut down, the diameter of the tree is measured at breast height. If the diameter is over 30 cm (about the size of a 12" vinyl record) then it will need a permit. The easiest way is to measure with a ribbon tape measure that can easily wrap around the tree. Don't leave things up to chance by eye-balling it and making a decision. The potential for fines if you don't comply with the Tree Protection By-Law make it worth taking your time. Hiring a certified arborist to inspect the tree is your best course of action.

Why does it take so long to get a tree removal permit after applying?

The City of Ottawa takes the protection of its trees very seriously. They want to preserve as many trees as possible, and be absolutely sure that removal is the best course of action. That is why a tree removal permit is required in the first place, why an arborist report is required to get a permit, and why a forestry inspector needs to conduct their own assessment before the permit application is approved. It is incredibly important to plan ahead and get a certified arborist involved early in the process.

If I own my property, why do I need a permit to remove a tree that I own?

Just because you own the property, and the tree that sits on it, does not mean you don't have to abide by municipal, provincial and federal laws. Cutting down a tree can have an impact on the surrounding community, not to mention an environmental impact as well. These laws are also in place to keep you safe by making sure that if a tree is removed, it is done by a certified professional.

Do you need a tree removal permit to remove a tree in Ottawa?

More than likely, yes. Even if the tree is on private property, you'll need to get a tree removal permit from the city of Ottawa if your tree is more than 30 cm in diameter. A general rule of thumb is, if you can hug the tree and get your arms all the way around, you can remove the tree without a permit.

Are there any exceptions for tree removal permits?

Yes. Even if your tree is more than 30cm in diameter, there are certain exemptions that allow you to remove your tree without a permit from the city of Ottawa. These specific circumstances include:

  • Trees on a farm, orchard, or nursery
  • Dangerous trees that pose a risk to people or a property
  • Trees on a golf course, cemetery, or on specific rural lands
  • Private courtyards, rooftop patios, and solariums with trees

Speak with our team of certified arborists to learn all you need to know about getting a tree removal permit in Ottawa.

So You Need A Tree Removed


The tree is larger than 30cm in diameter YES
The property is larger than one hectare YES
The tree is in your yard but on city right of way (up to the water
shut-off, typically 1m or even more from the curb)
The tree is in a courtyard, solarium or rooftop garden NO
The tree is a threat to safety & health if not removed NO
The tree is on an orchard, farm, golf course or nursery NO


The implementation of Ottawa tree removal permits was designed to conserve a healthy amount of greenery in the city. Trees produce oxygen, after all, and trees have an aesthetic quality for everyone in the surrounding area – especially as more construction and development occurs in Ottawa. Even though the tree may be on your property, your neighbours benefit from having a multitude of trees throughout the community.


If you plan on removing a tree with a diameter of 30cm+ (can you wrap your arms around it?), you’ll need to apply for a Distinctive Tree Permit from the City of Ottawa. If the tree trunk straddles your property and your neighbour’s, you’ll need their approval as well. The best way to ensure full compliance with City of Ottawa tree permit bylaws is to hire the services of a professional arborist in Ottawa. Talk to Croft Tree Experts in Ottawa today about how we can help with your tree removal.

Our Arborist Services

We employ certified arborists who have passed comprehensive and regularly repeating exams developed by some of the nation’s leading experts on tree care. An arborist is an individual who is trained in caring for, planting, and maintaining trees.

When you hire Croft Tree Experts to remove a tree in Ottawa, you're getting the services of a certified arborist on staff. That's how we ensure that we're removing your tree safely as well as within compliance of Ottawa tree permit bylaws.

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Contact Us

Get in touch with Croft Tree Services today! We’ll answer any questions you may have, and work with you to find the right solution and the most convenient scheduling options for your tree and landscaping needs. Please be as specific as possible in the field below, so that we can help you in the most effective way.


    208 Royalton Private
    Ottawa, ON K1V 9S3

    (613) 883 5611 or  (613) 410 4677


    Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
    Saturday: 9am to 3pm
    Sunday: Closed