Privately owned trees

The City of London Municipal Council approved the new City of London Tree Protection By-law C.P.-1555-252 at it’s November 24, 2020 meeting with it going into effect March 1, 2021. Residents, industry experts, prior users of the permitting system and the Trees & Forests Advisory Committee were consulted as part of the crafting of the by-law.

If you have any questions, please email

Dead Distinctive Tree Information

Select this if you need an application to destroy a dead Distinctive Tree and the tree meets the following criteria: trunk diameter of 50cm or greater; and located within the Urban Growth Boundary (but not in a Tree Protection Area); and is dead or is in advanced and irreversible decline in health or condition (only if as a result of natural causes)

Distinctive Tree Information

Select this if you need an application to destroy or injure a Distinctive Tree and the tree meets the following criteria: trunk diameter of 50cm or greater; and located within the Urban Growth Boundary (but not in a Tree Protection Area); and does not meet the definition of a Dead Distinctive Tree.

Tree Protection Area Information

This is an application for a Permit to Destroy or Injure a Tree or Trees in a Tree Protection Area. You can use this application if the Tree(s) it is located within a Tree Protection Area on Schedule B of this By-law.

Q&A from Tree Protection By-Law Meeting

These questions were asked by participants at an on-line meeting held with industry partners on February 18, 2021. The goal of the meeting was to introduce the new Tree Protection By-law C.P.-1555-252, discuss major changes and highlight the application process. There were approximately 40 participants from various fields such as tree care companies, landscape architects, Registered Professional Foresters and consultants.                     

  1. Is there a size requirement for replacement trees at the time of planting i.e., sapling versus 45 cm DBH? What size of replacement tree is required?

Arborists are encouraged in their Arborist Report to specify a size of replacement tree that will satisfy the landowner. Routine acceptable size can be If a “not less than” size is imposed in the permit conditions a landowner can plant a tree that exceeds the minimum size imposed but may not plant smaller.

  1. Can you please expand on replacement trees that are established through natural regeneration (Tree Protection Area permit)

Replacement trees are required to be planted for all but Dead Distinctive Tree (DDT) permits. Where a Distinctive Tree was destroyed, a replacement tree(s) will be required to be planted, the number of replacement trees varying with trunk diameter as per Schedule A.

In Tree Protection Areas replacement trees may be planted, established by natural regeneration, or seeded, this will be determined on a site-by-site basis.  All required replacement trees and whether they are to be planted, established naturally, or seeded, will be specified in the permit conditions.

  1. If you remove an evergreen will you need to replace with another evergreen or similar for deciduous?

Not necessarily. The City may encourage evergreen trees to be planted if these are under-represented locally, but there is nothing within the by-law that requires like-for-like. Arborists are welcome to say if the landowner has any preference for the species or a range of preferred species in their Arborist Report.

  1. My response to homeowners concerned about replanting and not wanting to replant is “no one is coming to follow up more than once on these trees”. Can you actually enforce the on-going care of the planting?

The replacement for a Distinctive Tree is not going to be large enough to be protected as a Distinctive Tree. Unfortunately, once the planted replacement tree(s) has/have been confirmed to be planted with the conditions of the permit there will be no further follow up. This is why it is so important to work with the landowners when selecting replacement trees that they would appreciate and care for them over the long-term.

In Tree Protection Areas, where trees of all sizes are protected, the by-law will protect those replacement trees i.e. staff can enforce the by-law as necessary.

  1. When proving to the City that replacement trees have been planted, do we do that simply with an email to with photos etc. with reference to the permit number? Or is there a more official process to follow?

That sounds ideal! Yes, please email tree planting pictures to before the permit expires.

  1. Are distinctive trees in agricultural hedgerows protected if they are removed under normal farm practices?

Not likely in that specific scenario. Most of our agricultural hedgerows are outside the Urban Growth Boundary where there are, by definition, no Distinctive Trees. Normal farm practices and the protected rights to farm are as legislated by the Farm & Food Production Protection Act. What is “normal”, however, is not for staff to decide; that is the jurisdiction of the Normal Farm Practices Board. If the by-law is enforced in Tree Protection Areas that are farmed this may lead to a hearing at the Normal Farm Practices Board.

  1. What is the incentive for the contractor to point out that the tree died of resurfacing (concrete or gravel driveway/yard) and that the client is at fault?

It is not a natural death, but does this fall under DDT?

It could be an opportunity to educate the client about their tree and impacts to them from construction. There are many informative pamphlets that can assist tree owners about tree care at the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Trees Are Good webpage.

Correct, that is not a natural death and as such the DDT does not apply. An application through the Distinctive Tree stream where an Arborist Report is required would be the appropriate process in this case.

  1. Under what conditions would additional information be required?

Good question! This is almost impossible to determine until staff have an application before them. Generally, any application for woodland management purposes in a Tree Protection Area will always require an additional Silvicultural Prescription or Tree Management Plan.

Some other examples could include the following:

  • a drawing of the Site showing any proposed development, construction, works, excavation, or site alteration that may require the Tree Injury or Destruction, and a schedule for this proposed activity, including start and end dates
  • confirmation of any other matters (past or present Planning applications or otherwise) affecting the land upon which the Tree or Trees are to be Injured or Destroyed
  • affidavits in support of an application
  1. Will the proposed changes to the Foresters Act affect who can provide reports?

At this time, changes have not been confirmed so it is unknown what those changes will include. However, it will be up to the individual submitting the report to ensure that they are complying with the Foresters Act.

  1. Is cash-in-lieu expected at the permit stage?

Cash-in-lieu is not a term used in the bylaw. The funding that is required is a result of required Replacement Trees. This funding is a “fee”, it must be paid before the permit can be issued and is non-refundable.

  1. If cash-in-lieu is given and the permit expires, will the money be refunded?

No. Whereas, this is a “fee” it is non-refundable.  

  1. You are not saying it’s a penalty or tax on the landowner?

It is a fee imposed for not having adequate space to plant a required replacement tree on the same lands from which the original tree was removed.

  1. Why undermine the contractor’s expertise to their client, e.g., the rejection of a permit application based on omitting information, if they are to make a mistake? We all make mistakes.

Absolutely, we all make mistakes. There is no undermining intended in requiring full, complete, accurate applications as required by the by-law. Staff work with contractors routinely through the application process. However, in some cases, information is not forth coming after months of requests. This is time consuming and creates issues trying to keep track of files. Under this bylaw staff will offer a second chance to complete the application requirements by a specified date before it will be closed for incompleteness. The applicant will have to resubmit the application.

  1. For boundary trees between 2 private properties – a permit application is now required from each landowner. Is there a spot on the application to reference that they application is 1 of 2 (or 3 or more) to be expected?

Thank-you for the suggestion. Yes, that is correct, all landowners must submit separate applications. This is because boundary trees are the property of all landowners. It would be quite okay to just write on the form that another application(s) is expected.

We will consider including a check box on the application form or a” boundary tree package” application.

  1. You are requiring a permit to be written in simple terms as a non tree person will be reading it. Is this not a total contradiction?

This is to help when there is an appeal with the Hearings Officer and having to educate them on industry terms. If you use a technical term, explain what it means. For example, what does AGS and UGS mean? If you write “included bark” please explain what that means.

  1. Are all backyards now TPA free?

No. There are still backyards with TPA. Please always check on the City of London’s CityMap if the address is included in the TPA. To do this enter the address in the “find address or place” search field and check the Tree Protection Area box on the layer list. If you need any assistance with this, please email

  1. What is your response to a landowner who applies for a permit and has not hired a contractor yet? I am assuming you would advise them they have to hire an Arborist for an Opinion or Report?

Yes, you are correct. The landowner will be informed that an Arborist Opinion or Arborist Report is required for all application types. Without them, the application will be deemed incomplete and will not be processed.  

The City of London is helping Londoners maintain their large veteran trees for longer and protect against European Gypsy Moths (EGM) by offering a one-year pilot Veteran Tree Incentive Program (VTIP) beginning March 1, 2021.

VTIP Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for VTIP?

If you are a residential household with a Distinctive Tree, you may be eligible for VTIP if you intend to carry out some type of activity for which you must pay costs for services or materials.

What is a Distinctive Tree?

A Distinctive Tree is a tree inside the Urban Growth Boundary, 50 cm or greater measured at 1.4 m above natural ground level, and not in a Tree Protection Area.

What is the maximum amount available per Distinctive Tree?

A percentage of eligible costs (usually 25 per cent) may be awarded up to a maximum of $1,000 per Distinctive Tree

Where is the Urban Growth Boundary and the Tree Protection Area?

Please refer to Citymap (London City Map) and select the layer for Urban Growth Boundary or Tree Protection Area to explore.

What type of work is eligible?

For this pilot, the City will consider any work that helps meet the goal “to defer the removal of the largest trees to the latest possible date while allowing for successional planting to catch up”. If in doubt whether your proposed activity might be supported by VTIP, please ask City staff.

Typical examples eligible work may include:

  1. Pruning that does not meet Good Arboricultural Practices where a permit for “Injury” is successfully obtained from the City. This may include creating a wildlife habitat in a Distinctive Tree that is in advanced decline, or even dead.
  2. Pruning to Good Arboricultural Standards, where no permit is required. The pruning should aim to preserve the tree for longer “as is, where is”. Pruning only for aesthetic appearance may not be eligible.
  3. Moving an existing structure (being something of value or a place where people are more likely to be) out of the vicinity of a Distinctive Tree so it can age and decline peacefully with no or minimal intervention. This might include moving an existing garden shed or a play area to some other place.
  4. Successional planting where there are no trees already fulfilling this role. VTIP may assist in planting new trees somewhere close to a Distinctive Tree, to grow and develop while the Distinctive Tree is still retained for the foreseeable future.
  5. A one-time intervention that aims to achieve a long-term benefit for the Distinctive Tree. This could include cabling, bracing or propping of old limbs still attached to the tree; root drenching or other mycorrhizal inoculation or fertilising regimes tailored to its specific needs; or pest control.
  6. Having an arborist / arboricultural professional assist in EGM egg mass scraping on a severely infested Distinctive Tree that has egg masses out of reach of the resident.

Routine care – something that occurs on a regular basis, such as fertilising or watering the lawn around a tree - may not be eligible.

There is a Distinctive Tree on my property. How do I apply?

Please call 519-661-2489 x 4457 or write to Urban Forestry, 663 Bathurst Street, London, Ontario, or email to request a VTIP application form. No in-person visits to our offices are possible at the current time.

Applications for VTIP will be considered strictly on a first-come, first-served basis until the available funds have been spent.

You will be required to submit a quote, contract or other documentary evidence to support your request that will be used to determine how much assistance you may receive through VTIP. A visit to your property may be undertaken by City staff to verify your application. City staff may request photographs of the Distinctive Tree to avoid a site visit or in-person meeting. If you are approved for a VTIP award, you will receive an offer letter from the City’s Urban Forestry team. You are responsible to pay for the work or materials, and to submit your paid invoice, or receipt, or other evidence, to Urban Forestry by a date specified in the City’s letter. No VTIP will be offered, or paid, without paperwork to substantiate all claims. A VTIP award that is not claimed by you by the date given in the City’s offer letter may be cancelled and re-awarded to another applicant.

I can’t afford to pay for the entire job upfront. Can you pay VTIP direct to my contractor?

No. VTIP is strictly for residential property owners and will not be paid to contractors. Your contract is between you and your contractor. The City will ensure any award under VTIP is processed as quickly as possible. 

Can I apply for money to pay for work already done?

No. Retrospective applications will not be eligible and will not be considered for VTIP. You should not commence any work before VTIP assistance has been approved by City staff. If your tree is too hazardous to wait, you may not be able to obtain VTIP support.

Can I obtain VTIP to pay for work required by an Order of the City?

No. If you have received an Order from the City to abate a safety concern under the Property Standards By-law, or an Order made for any other reason, it is not eligible for VTIP.

Will everyone getting assistance from VTIP receive the same amount?

No. The City will determine how much VTIP assistance to offer subject to availability and on a case-by-case basis. A percentage of eligible costs (usually 25 per cent) may be awarded up to a maximum of $1,000 per Distinctive Tree. The maximum amount available is $1,000 per eligible Distinctive Tree. Most VTIP awards will be less than this so as many property owners as possible can be assisted during the pilot VTIP.

I applied for VTIP and I don’t think the City awarded me enough. Can I ask for more?

No. You may only apply for VTIP once in this pilot year. The City may award any amount up to $1,000 per Distinctive Tree. That does not mean everyone will get that amount, nor that they will all receive the same amount for the same type of work. The City may exercise discretion to award higher amounts or lower amounts based on how much tree canopy cover occurs in that Ward, or the City may implement another way to direct more assistance to where it is most needed. If you are successful in receiving an offer under the pilot VTIP, that is your final offer.

I am receiving assistance under VTIP. How will it be paid?

By cheque, mailed to you at your home address.

How to apply to VTIP

To apply for assistance under VTIP please complete the application form. You will be required to provide:

1. Your name, and preferred method of contact (email or telephone number)

2. Your address – this must be in the City of London, Ontario

3a. Information about your Distinctive Tree(s) – what it is, where it is on your property, and its trunk diameter in cm, which must be 50cm or greater measured at 1.4m above ground; describe this in simple terms for example: “DT1: 58cm maple, rear yard, 3m from west property line, 10m from house”. The diameter is the measurement across the trunk from one side to another and can only be measured directly in a standing tree using caliper; without calipers, it must be calculated from the measured circumference of the trunk (all the way around the trunk) divided by pi – dividing the circumference measurement by 3.14 is acceptable.

3b. A photo of the Distinctive Tree(s). If you have more than one, show one Distinctive Tree in each photo. Each photo must be labelled (e.g. T1 , T2, etc) and must clearly show the tree – if the weather is not ideal, please try again later! Staff need to see the details of the tree, not a blurred shape or silhouette of a tree. You can submit photos electronically in .pdf. .docx, .jpg, .png and .tiff formats. Please reduce or compress file sizes where possible, but make sure to keep a clear image.

3c. OPTIONAL: You can include a sketch plan, a survey, or an orthographic (aerial photo) image that shows where T1, T2 etc are located on your property. You can use CityMap on the City’s website, with aerial imagery layer turned on, to create a .pdf plan of your property showing the exact location of the Distinctive Tree(s); any plan or map you submit electronically must be in the format .docx, .pdf, .jpg, .tiff or .png.

4. What do you propose to do? If you are Injuring the Distinctive Tree and applying at the same time for a permit under the Tree Protection Bylaw, say “Please refer to Application to Injure”. All the information we need should be in that application. If not, please describe in simple terms what you propose to do and how this will prolong the useful life of your Distinctive Tree by making it healthier, safer, or creating wildlife habitat. City staff are well educated in tree care and management and will review your application through their professional eyes. Keep it simple, brief, but to the point. For example, “Remove dead, diseased or broken branches to keep T1 healthier and reduce likelihood of branches falling in the yard”; or “(i) Install fence 2m outside the edge of tree canopy of T1; (ii) install mulch within the fenced area; so my family and pet dog stay out of the area under T1 and threat from the tree may be avoided.”

5. The total cost inclusive of tax, and support this by including a quote, work order, contract, screenshot of a catalogued item, or other suitable evidence - this will be used to determine how much assistance you may receive through VTIP. The supporting information should include the contractor or supplier information, what services or materials are being supplied, to whom (i.e. you), the cost, and a date. This information should be not more than 6 months old.

6. The date, and your signature.

Please submit your application form by ONE of the following:

• By email You will receive an automatic reply.

• By regular mail:

City of London – Urban Forestry A J Tyler Building 663 Bathurst St London, ON, N5Z 1P8

What Happens Next?

If your application is missing some information that is required, City staff may ask you to submit that by a specified date, but until that is received your application will not be progressed and your application will not be admitted to the “first come, first served” queue.

Two site visits to your property may be necessary by City staff to: (i) verify your application, and; (ii) review the completed work. Photos of your Distinctive Tree on your property may be taken and kept by the City. City staff may request that you supply “after” photographs of the Distinctive Tree to avoid a site visit or in-person meeting.

If you are approved for a VTIP award, you will receive an offer letter by email or regular mail from the City’s Urban Forestry team. Our goal is to respond within 3 weeks of receiving a complete VTIP application. You are responsible to organize the work, pay for the completed work or materials, and to submit a copy of your paid invoice or receipt to Urban Forestry by the date specified in the City’s letter. No VTIP will be offered, or paid, without acceptable paperwork to substantiate all claims.

A VTIP award that is not claimed by you by the date given in the City’s offer letter may be cancelled and re-awarded to another applicant and the City shall have no further obligation to you under the VTIP. If you need more time, please contact Urban Forestry before the date specified in the letter and request a short extension – which may be offered for a few weeks, rather than months.

That’s it! If City staff need anything else, they will contact you. Thank you for helping grow and preserve your Veteran Trees!

VTIP application form



Last modified:Thursday, March 18, 2021