Trees on Town Property

This page includes Frequently Asked Questions regarding trees on Town property. Select any of the question below to view the response:


Trees in Need of Attention

A tree on Town property (boulevard or municipal right-of-way) appears to need treatment or may be dead.

Contact the Town and we will look at the tree and determine if it needs to be treated or removed. Please note that if a tree is removed, the stump will remain until it can be removed in the fall, and the tree will be replaced in the fall or the following spring.
A tree on Town property has small branches or suckers coming out of the main stem.
Call the Town and we will arrange to remove the suckers and small branches. 
A tree on Town property has some dead branches and may be dying.
Branches can die for many reasons and the tree may still be healthy. Only contact the Town for a tree health assessment if there are many dead branches, if the main stem leader branch is dead or if the dead branches are more than 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter and removal may be required for safety.
A tree on Town property needs pruning.
Contact the Town and we​ will arrange for the tree to be pruned. Do not prune the tree yourself as it could be unsafe or injure the tree if not done correctly.
A tree on Town property has growths on the leaves that look like tubes or balls.
Leaf "galls" are tissue growths resulting from damage by insects, mites, fungus or bacteria.

This is usually an aesthetic issue only - the tree does not require treatment and should come back with new leaves the following year. The Town does not treat for galls, even if it is a recurring issue, as it usually has minimal impact on the overall health of the tree.

A tree on Town property has leaves that are turning brown and appear wilted.
Check the soil under the tree 3 days after the last rain or watering. If it is dry then the tree may be too dry and require more water. If the soil is moist then the tree may have had too much water. Likely the tree will recover with new leaves the following spring.
A tree on Town property has caterpillars on it.
The tree should come back with new leaves the following year. The Town does not treat trees due to caterpillars as they are part of the natural cycle and the tree will typically survive.
A tree on Town property is healthy but has roots growing across my lawn at the ground surface. I am worried that the roots will start to lift my driveway or get into my foundation.

Contact the Town and we​ will assess the situation. Certain tree species such as Honey locust or Norway Maple have a growth habit where their roots grow close to or above the surface. Most tree roots from these species stay within the top 12 to 18 inches (0.3 to 0.45 m) of the ground surface, where they grow to seek water, nutrients, and oxygen, and they do not typically grow downwards to lift paving or grow into foundations. The roots of certain species such as Willows are more likely to grow in moist areas such as broken pipes, but the Town does not plant these types of species on municipal boulevards.

It is late spring and other trees on the street have leaves but the Town tree in front of my house does not.
Some tree species are later to leaf-out than other trees. Wait until the end of June to see if the leaves appear. One common example of a tree that produces leaves later in the season is the Honey locust (Gleditsia species) - you can click the image at right to see a larger picture.
A tree on Town property does not appear to be growing.
Trees can undergo shock when they are dug at the nursery and transplanted to a new location. It may take up to three years for a tree to settle in and start growing. Adding a few inches of mulch or compost under the tree can help it to be healthy and grow.

Landscaping Near Town Trees

I am not sure if the tree adjacent to my property belongs to the Town.
Contact the Town and we can confirm ownership of the tree. Town trees should not be removed, pruned or otherwise injured by residents; these actions can result in a fine.

As a rule of thumb, trees that are planted on the boulevard between the sidewalk and curb belong to the Town. Town-owned property extends for several feet up your front lawn (known as the municipal right-of-way) so trees that have been planted in this area by the Town or a developer may belong to the Town. (You can get a general idea of where this boundary is by locating the water shut-off valve, which is usually in the driveway or lawn.)​

I would like to add decorations around the Town tree such as stones and other plants.
The Town does not encourage this practice on public property. Adding extra material and plants can damage the tree by suffocating or cutting roots. Property owners should also be aware that if work needs to be done to the tree or around the tree on the boulevard, the material that has been added can be damaged or removed by the Town or its contractors, and the Town will not pay to replace it.
I want to widen my driveway but there is a boulevard tree near by.

Driveways cannot be widened without a permit, so contact the Town first to inquire about a driveway widening permit​. The Town will review the situation and advise if a permit can be issued, and consult on issues such as nearby trees.

Learn more about driveway widening permits

I would like to add more soil and/or mulch around the Town tree.

Additional soil and/or mulch can be added; however, do not add more than a total depth of 3 to 4 inches or 7.5-10 cm of material over the tree roots. The roots are near the ground surface and need water, nutrients and oxygen. Too much material over the roots can suffocate them and hurt the tree’s health. 

DO make a flat mulch ring around your tree (like a donut). DO NOT pile mulch around your tree (like a volcano)


New or Replacement Boulevard Trees

When are trees installed on Town property?
New trees are typically planted in the fall as the cool weather helps the tree to survive. If a tree has been removed, the stump may remain until it can be removed in the fall, and a new tree will be planted in the fall before the ground freezes or in the spring after the ground thaws.
Will I be notified of the date when a new replacement tree will be installed on Town property near my home?
No. Due to the number of tree planting projects throughout town, we do not notify individual residents when nearby trees are planted.
Can I choose what tree will be planted on Town property near my home?
No. The Town has a list of preferred species that have been chosen by a professional Arborist. 
There is a tree that is overhanging the Hydro wires and may cause an issue with the wires.
Contact your Hydro provider, which in most cases is Alectra (1-833-253-2872), and advise them of the situation. They have specialized training to prune the trees near wires in a safe manner. The Town cannot undertake this type of pruning.
I do not have a boulevard tree nearby. Can I request to have one planted?

There are some properties where it is not possible to plant a tree. In some cases there is a streetlight pole that is too close and could interfere with a tree once it matures, and in others there may be above- or below-ground utilities that prevent a tree from being installed.


Other Issues

I have called the Town about a tree on the boulevard that needs attention but nothing has been done.
The Town will respond to all calls or emails as soon as possible. In the case of new development areas where the Town has not yet assumed ownership of a street, it is up to the Developer to remove and replace the tree, or to treat it with pruning. In this case, the Town cannot undertake work on the tree but will contact the Developer and alert them to the situation.

Where the Town has the legal right to do so (not on un-assumed or private property), work will be undertaken within a reasonable period of time in the correct season, typically within six weeks of ​notification.​​

My neighbour's tree branches are growing into my property and I would like these branches pruned back.
This is a private matter between you and your neighbour, as long as it is occurring between two private properties and not on Town property. You should contact your neighbour and discuss how to best resolve the issue.​

Address: Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, 100 Dissette St., Unit 7&8, Bradford, ON, L3Z 2A7

Phone: 905-775-5366, Send an Email

By GHD Digital