Calgary’s Mirage Landscaping is a full-service commercial and residential landscaping design and maintenance firm. We have offered guidance in the past regarding the best trees and shrubs that will do well in our climate, and even shown you what to look for to ensure that you, or someone you employ, is not damaging your landscaping with machinery. We have even briefly gone over how to check your trees for signs of environmental stress and inadequate watering.
With over three generations worth of experience caring for the residential and commercial green spaces of Calgarians, we know that you have exceptionally high expectations for the care of your trees and shrubs. What you may not know is that there is another entity with a keen interest in the overall health and safety of your green spaces—The City of Calgary itself.
The Rule of Bylaws
The City of Calgary has a set of bylaws governing the growth of certain trees or shrubs, which were created in the interests of pedestrian and motorist safety. The very word “bylaw” comes down to us in English via Old Norse. The word literally means “town law,” by which is meant these rules are voted upon and enforceable as public safety ordinances that yet do not contain the possibility of incarceration under local or provincial criminal codes.
Nevertheless, bylaws, and the fine notices that come with them, can be very irritating to deal with. For instance, we here at Mirage Landscaping recently recapped the City bylaws regulating the height of fences around your property. As you may recall, front of the house fences had to be shorter than backyard or side yard fences so that emergency services could immediately identify your address from the curb side, or even the back side of your home, if it abuts to an alley. There are also special “set back” rules for the owners of corner properties so that converging traffic has a reasonable chance of seeing one another.
Selected Bylaws Covering Shrubs and Trees
Calgary’s Traffic Bylaw 26M96 regulates the maximum height and location of a shrub planted upon a corner lot. In a right triangle demarcated by 25 x 25 foot setbacks along the travel of both streets which meet at your corner lot, no shrub may be growing that exceeds 2.6 feet tall, or 75cm, if you prefer. This setback allows the drivers on the converging streets the chance to spot one another to avoid needless accidents.
To further complicate matters, the City has a bylaw concerning tree trimming, especially as it concerns pedestrian and motor vehicle rights of way. Street Bylaw 20M88 dictates that trees have to be pruned back up to a height of eight feet over sidewalks and up to fifteen feet over thoroughfares to avoid branches striking taller commercial and city vehicles.
But that is not all. The trees that may line the street in front of your house may not even belong to you, they may be public trees owned by the City. The “Tree Protection Bylaw,” 23M2002, states that you cannot do the following to City-owned trees:
- Cutting, pruning, moving, or removing them.
- Penetrating the bark with any signage or other objects.
- Pouring any liquids upon them, save for water.
- Hanging electrical cords or any other objects upon them.
- Planting your own shrubs or trees upon City owned property.
To save yourself both some unneeded labour and some possible entanglement with the City’s bylaw enforcement staff, if you have trees or shrubs that could conceivably be within a public easement, and thus, not really yours, call 3-1-1 and request a determination regarding who owns the trees in question. Your inadvertent pruning of City trees could net you an unwanted fine of up to $500.00
Make Your Greenery Maintenance Headaches Ours Instead
Why should you have to determine whether a tree adjacent to a street curb is yours or not when we could do that for you? Why should you have to prune back tree limbs that are hanging over the street, a job that isn’t free of dangerous hazards, when you can ask us for a free quote?
We have the trucks, the crews, and most importantly, the experience to either maintain your existing trees and shrubs—or plant new ones instead.