Winnipeg has by-laws for public and private tree ownership. Before you start any tree removal process, you should know your local Winnipeg tree removal by-laws and whether the tree in question falls under private or public ownership.
Removal, pruning, or other unauthorized work that violates Winnipeg by-laws can be subject to fines.
Tree Removal on Private Property
While Winnipeg by-laws restrict vegetation removal on private property, there is no restriction for tree removal. Property owners do not require permission or inspection unless it’s a city-owned tree, including boulevards, medians, or city-owned parks.
However, as the work is considered high-risk, property owners should employ qualified and insured experts for tree removal, pruning, or planting.
Additionally, the Urban Forestry Branch may update regulations related to a particular type of tree. For example, pruning Elm trees is banned from April 1 to July 31 every year. Other work is prohibited, with the exclusive of complete removal for diseased Elm trees.
The reason for the restriction is Dutch Elm Diseased (D.E.D.). The D.E.D. Control Program provides multiple services regarding Winnipeg’s urban elm forest, such as maintaining an up-to-date tree inventory, tree replacement programs, and elm tree maintenance.
If a citizen is unsure if the tree or vegetation that requires removal is private or city-owned, the citizen should inquire with the Urban Forestry Branch.
There are no by-laws preventing property owners from removing or pruning trees that cross from a neighbour’s property. However, Winnipeg city guidelines recommend that neighbours discuss plans and hire an expert for inspection to prevent disputes or property damage.
Tree Removal on Public Property
Winnipeg tree removal by-laws set by the City Council protect public trees with an emphasis on preserving healthy trees as community assets. As such, tree removals require an official request with an adequate reason for removal.
Citizens must submit all removal requests in writing to the City Council. After proposals are received, the reason for removal will be reviewed and inspected by the Urban Forestry Branch staff.
In addition to the reason for removal, requests should include tree location and other significant details, such as crucial safety or environmental conditions. The requester must also provide contact information, including name, address, email, and phone number.
Letters must be mailed or faxed to:
Supervisor of Forestry and D.E.D. Operations
Urban Forestry Branch,
1539 Waverley St., Wpg, MB R3T 4V7
Acceptable reasons for publicly-owned tree removal:
- Safety risk (with priority to immediate danger, such as the risk of falling)
- Diseased or decaying trees
- Potential or evident structural damage to public or private property
- Impeding approved significant construction projects (if alternatives to save the tree are inadequate or otherwise obstruct construction)
After reviewing the request and completing an inspection, the Urban Forestry Branch will contact the requester with the final decisions. The Urban Forestry Branch will deliver the results of the tree removal request to the requester in writing. Additionally, Winnipeg Urban Forestry will send a copy to the ward councilor.
The Urban Forestry Branch is also responsible for tree stump removals for city boulevards and parks property.