Preserving Abbotsford's Tree Canopy
The City of Abbotsford's Tree Protection Bylaw No.1831-2009 is in place to preserve the tree canopy in Abbotsford. The City also has measures in place to ensure that all trees are healthy and viable and contribute positively to the natural environment. Trees are important in our community to help us sustain a healthy, natural environment. If you have comments or concerns regarding trees on boulevards or in parks contact Parks, Recreation & Culture.
Before cutting down any trees on your property, it is important to contact the Urban Forestry Section to ensure that you are in compliance with the bylaw.
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When a Tree Removal Permit is Required
- Removal of any tree, on all properties in Abbotsford, with the exception of ALR land (Agricultural Land Reserve).
- Topping a tree.
Permits are valid one year from the date of issue.
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When a Tree Removal Permit is NOT Required
- Removing a dead or hazardous tree. In the case of an emergency tree removal, the City may require that you leave the removed tree on the ground, to provide an arborist report or photo for verification prior to cleanup.
- If the tree is within a streamside protection and enhancement area, it must be assessed by a qualified professional, reported to the City, and replaced with appropriate native species as per the Ministry of Environment planting and replacement criteria.
- Pruning or trimming a tree. Pruning must be in accordance with the ISA standard arboricultural practices.
- Cutting down trees on ALR land (Agricultural Land Reserve)
Additionally under the bylaw, the City requires that replacement trees be planted for every tree that is cut down. Schedule A of the Tree Protection Bylaw states:
Any tree requiring approval for removal is subject to tree replacement as follows:
- Trees less than 20cm in diameter no replacements required.
- 20-30 cm in diameter 2:1 replacements required.
- Trees greater than 30cm in diameter 3:1 replacements required.
- Residents have one year from the date of issue of the permit to plant the replacement trees.
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When a Tree Removal Permit will NOT BE issued
- A Tree CANNOT be cut down when it is:
- Protected by a covenant registered on the title of your property.
- Registered under the bylaw as a significant tree.
- Within a tree retention area.
- Within a streamside protection and enhancement area as defined by the Streamside Protection Bylaw (make link to SP bylaw here).
- On a slope of 30% or more.
- Host to wildlife that is protected by the Migratory Birds Convention Act, Species at Risk Act, Wildlife Act, or any other federal or provincial government enactments.
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Tips for Your Trees
- Fertilize your tree ONLY if a soil test shows that nutrients are lacking. If so, an application of a balanced fertilizer may be applied in the spring before the tree begins to bud. Contact your local nursery person for advice as to which fertilizer is best for your trees.
- Applying ‘weed and feed’ to your lawn may injure or kill your tree. Most combination weed killers and lawn fertilizers will injure trees. Do not use anything that states it will kill broad-leaved weeds within the drip line of a broad-leaved tree as it may harm the tree as well.
- Installing a ring of mulch around the base of the tree will increase soil health, reduce weed growth and help to retain moisture.
- The mulch ring should be a minimum of 1 metre in diameter.
- Organic materials like wood chips, compost and leaves are best. Wood chips will take longer to break down and, therefore, will not require replacement as often. As these materials decompose, they will add nutrients to the soil.
- Mulch layers should be kept between 5-10 cm deep over the roots. Deeper than this may inhibit oxygen from reaching the roots.
- Mulch should not be placed against the bark of the tree or placed in a “mulch volcano” as this may lead to decay at the base of the trunk.
- An important factor in tree survival is providing water at the correct frequency. The first three years are most critical, but pay attention to watering needs throughout the tree’s life.
- The best way to know how often to water is to check the soil moisture approximately 10cm below the soil surface. Water when you notice this area has become dry.
- Water slowly to allow the water to soak into the ground and reach the tree roots.
- Water early in the morning or later in the evening when the air temperature is cooler.
- For the first three years after planting, provide about 10 liters of water per 3cm of trunk diameter. Water the root ball and just beyond radiating out from the trunk.
- As the trees age, supplemental watering is encouraged in times of low rainfall to assist in the development of healthy trees. Water larger trees within 2m of the trunk out to the drip line.
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