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.

Applying For A Tree Permit

Before city-owned or privately owned trees are removed, Ottawa by-law requires that permits are obtained beforehand. When tree removal is unrelated to infill development, the tree permit application fee is $150 per tree and caps at $750. For infill development, the fee is $500 with a max of $2,500. Applying for a tree removal permit can be done online but a tree information report needs to be completed and submitted.

Once you successfully receive your permit after your application, Ottawa by-law requires that all tree permits are posted on the property 7 days before and 7 days after the tree is to be removed. The notice of the permit should also be posted on the actual tree 7 days before removal.

Measuring Tree For Tree Removal Permit

Do You Need A Tree Removal Permit?

All city-owned trees throughout the urban and rural area need a permit for removal. If the tree is privately owned or on private property, here is a checklist to find out whether or not you need a permit:

The tree is 10 cm in diameter or more and is subject to a Planning Act application YES
The tree is 10 cm or more in diameter at breast height on private property over 1 hectare in size that is within the urban area. YES
The tree is 30 cm or larger in diameter within the urban area on properties less than 1 hectare in size. YES
The tree is 30 cm or more in diameter on a multi-residential property in the urban area. YES
The tree is 50 cm or more in diameter within the suburban area on properties less than 1 hectare in size. YES
The tree is 50cm or more in diameter on a multi-residential property in a suburban area. YES
Ash trees that are infested with the emerald ash borer NO
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.

Hire Croft Tree Experts Today!

Contact the arborists at Croft Tree Experts to help with your tree removals. Getting a tree removed in Ottawa can be a lengthy and confusing process. From tree measurements and information reports to the application process and removal itself, it can take a while! If you remove a tree that needs a City of Ottawa tree removal permit, you will be in violation of Ottawa by-laws. If you do not follow the tree permit process properly, you could be visited by a by-law officer and be subjected to a fine ranging anywhere from $500 to $100,000.

When you let Croft Tree Experts handle your tree removal needs, we can take care of the process for you from start to finish! We have certified arborists who can file all the necessary paperwork and safely complete the tree removal for you in no time!

Croft Tree Experts Arborist With Hands On Hips Wearing Tool Belt

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.


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.

Other Related Resources

tree pruning with a hand saw

Tree Pruning

Arborists can determine what type of pruning is best for the individual tree to maintain its health and improve its appearance and safety.

hedge trimming

Hedge Trimming

Appropriate watering and fertilization with a professional trim will keep your hedges looking amazing.

a man sawing down a tree with a chainsaw

Tree Removal

Although tree removal is a last resort, there are circumstances when it is necessary. An arborist can help decide whether a tree should be removed.

stump grinding machine making light work of a stump

Stump Grinding

Arborists have the expertise and the equipment necessary to remove unsightly tree stumps from your yard.

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