The City of Peterborough proactively manages our community's urban forest to maintain and promote the many social, economic and environmental benefits that our community gets from its trees. We play a key role in maintaining the tree canopy through maintenance, planting, removal, and pest management programs for publicly-owned trees.

The urban forest, or green infrastructure, of a city is comprised of both private and publicly-owned trees. Over 70% of the urban forest is privately owned. As stewards, Peterborough and its citizens value the urban forest as an important part of the City‘s green infrastructure.

Benefits of urban trees

One tree 15 centimetres in diameter can absorb 22 kilograms of carbon dioxide and intercept almost 2,000 litres of rainfall per year.

The benefits of trees include:

  • Reducing flooding
  • Improving air quality
  • Increasing property values
  • Providing habitat for wildlife
  • Reducing household energy bills
  • Reducing heat build-up in the City
  • Improving mental and physical health

Urban Forest Strategic Plan

The City of Peterborough recognizes and values the environmental, social, cultural and economic contribution of the urban forest to our community.

In June 2011, Peterborough’s City Council adopted the Urban Forest Strategic Plan (UFSP), a document to provide guidance and direction for the maintenance, renewal and community awareness of our urban forest resource.

A progress report for the Urban Forest Strategic Plan (UFSP) was submitted to council in June of 2016 as part of a 5 year review. The report assesses the work done to date and reassesses the priorities for the next 5 years.

To safeguard the many benefits provided by trees, the City is committed to managing the urban forest by promoting community stewardship and strategic practice to preserve, renew and enhance this essential resource.

Planting trees on City property

To request the City to plant a tree on the City road allowance, please contact Urban Forestry at 705-742-7777 ext. 1813, ext. 1878 or ext. 1490.

Email to request the planting of a tree on City property

Tree conservation by-laws

We recognize the environmental, aesthetic and public health benefits that trees and the urban forest provide to the entire community. Through the Tree Notice By-law and the Woodland Conservation By-law, we regulate the removal of healthy trees to maintain our urban forest, collect information, and plan for the future of our tree canopy.

Notification to remove a tree on private property - Tree Notice By-law

Our Tree Notice By-law focuses on information gathering and education for the preservation of the urban tree canopy.

Anyone who wants to remove a tree on private property, if the tree has a diameter of at least 7.5 centimetres at breast height, must give the City at least 72-hours written notice before removing the tree.

The notice for the removal of a tree should be sent to our Urban Forestry Division:

The notice is effective when it has been sent electronically - either by email or the online form - or when it has been received at City Hall.

What to include in the notificationPhoto illustrating how to measure diameter at breast height

  • each owner's name, mailing address, telephone number and, if applicable, email address
  • species of tree, if known
  • diameter of the tree at breast height
  • the reason, if any, for the planned removal of the tree including, if applicable, the condition of the tree
  • each owner's plan, if any, to replace the tree

By providing information such as the diameter of the trunk and the species of the tree that’s being removed, we can track the evolution of the urban forest – and plan for planting trees to replenish the canopy.

Residents can request that one of the City’s forestry staff visit their property to help identify species of trees that they are considering removing, to discuss the reasons for removal, and to provide recommendations on opportunities to plant certain types of trees that complement our climate and the biodiversity – or mix of trees – in our urban forest.

Boundary trees

A boundary tree is a tree with a trunk growing on the boundary between adjoining properties. It is the common property of the owners of the adjoining properties.

Woodland conservation permit process

The Woodland Conservation By-law 17-121 regulates the injury and or destruction of trees with a diameter at breast height of 7.5 centimetres (three inches) or more, measured at 1.37 metres (about 54 inches) above ground at the base of the tree, within woodlands (forested areas) of 2.47 acres or one hectare in size or larger.

Woodland Conservation permit

  1. Fill out the Application to Permit the Injury or Destruction of a Tree within a Woodland or Plantation Woodland Form.
  2. If a tree is considered dead, dying or hazardous by the Director there is no fee, but you must still obtain a permit.
  3. Where a permit is applicable, a $300 fee will apply.

We may require a report from a qualified tree expert as a condition of permit approval, but not for the initial permit application.


If you have any questions regarding the Tree Notice By-law or the Woodland Conservation By-law, please contact the Urban Forestry Division.

City-owned trees

City-owned trees are protected from injury or destruction by by-law 1982-82 and Chapter 765 of the Municipal Code. Contact the City to confirm ownership of the tree before commencing any work. If you're unsure of the City's ownership of the tree, please contact Public Works at 705-745-1386.

For the maintenance of City-owned trees, please contact the City's Public Works Division at 705-745-1386.

Emerald ash borer

An invasive insect pest known as the Emerald Ash Borer has been spreading through Ontario since 2002. In 2014, we started confirming the presence of the invasive species in Peterborough – and its presence has been steadily increasing. The Emerald Ash Borer kills ash trees unless the trees are properly treated. We have a 12-year (2014-2025), $4-million EAB management plan to respond to the emerald ash borer situation, including selectively treating or removing and replacing ash trees on public property. Please note: at this time there is no longer a subsidy for the treatment or the removal of ash trees on private property.