Many of Calgary’s residential properties have been planted with what are considered to be city-owned trees. This was a usual part of the construction process. The idea was to help increase Calgary’s green canopy as the city was expanding in order to both reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air (one tree produces about 260 pounds of oxygen a year), as well as to help beautify communities.
Calgary’s urban forest consists of approximately 7 million trees, which is an incredible feat for a part of the world where trees struggle to survive. As such, the City of Calgary is very protective of these important assets. There are a number of bylaws for trees to be aware of as a property owner, and violating any of them can result in huge penalties.
In our three generations of providing snow removal and landscaping services to Calgary residents and business owners, we at Mirage Landscaping are well aware of all tree bylaws and how they may affect how you maintain or alter your property.
That Tree on Your Front Lawn Might Not Be Yours!
It may seem strange, but if you have a tree on your property that you did not plant yourself – especially one near the sidewalk or on a median next to the curb – you should check with the City of Calgary before doing anything with it. City-owned trees are protected by the Tree Protection Plan as mandated by the Tree Protection Bylaw, and cutting one down or altering it in any way, such as by pruning, could net you a huge fine of up to $10,000.
You may also not attach any signs to city-owned trees or do anything that penetrates the bark. You can’t spray the trees with anything other than water, or drape electrical cords or other objects in the branches or around the trunk.
A city-owned tree is one where the trunk is located outside of your property lines. If you are concerned about a tree that you think might be city-owned, such as it appears to be unhealthy, diseased, or is impeding traffic, call 311 to determine for sure who is responsible for its care. You can also visit the City’s Urban Forest Management page for more information. Click on the magnifying glass to open the search, then enter your address. The results will show if you have any city-owned trees on your property, denoting the size and species of the tree to make it very clear.
Shrub and Tree Bylaws for Personal Property
Make no mistake, even if you have personally planted shrubs and trees on your property, there are some that are still under the jurisdiction or purview of the City of Calgary. Property owners are expected to take care and maintain their property, including boulevards, sidewalks, walkways, lanes and up to the middle of the back alley.
Bylaws for trees and shrubs state that the City of Calgary will enforce their maintenance on the perimeters of private properties to ensure the city stays beautiful. The Yard and Perimeter Maintenance Brochure says that property owners are responsible for keeping their trees and shrubs well pruned so that they do not get in the way of pedestrians walking by or of vehicles using the alley. If placed in a corner, they may not be allowed to grow higher than 75 centimeters tall so they don’t impede the view of drivers attempting to check for oncoming traffic.
Additional stipulations for maintenance of private property include:
- Keeping grass trimmed to less than 15 centimeters (6 inches) tall
- Controlling weeds
- Loose items such as furniture, garbage, appliances, and car parts must be stored out of sight
- Materials that cause bad odours cannot be stored on the property
- Refrigerators or freezers stored outside must be locked or have their doors or lids removed
- Address numbers must be clearly visible from the street and also be visible from the back of properties if adjacent to an alley or a walkway
- Fences must be kept in good repair
- Standing water should be limited
Mirage is Your City Bylaw Expert
At Mirage Landscaping, we see it as an important part of our business to be aware of all bylaws for trees, grass, fences, and overall property maintenance to ensure that our clients are never in a position where a fine might be levied. If we spot anything that could lead to your becoming the subject of attention from a city bylaw officer, we will let you know about it.
We are proud to support our neighbours in southeast Calgary in keeping our part of the city attractive. View our work to see just how versatile we can be. If you are thinking of improving your property with a landscape construction project, or are just looking for lawn and garden maintenance, get a fast, free quote here.