Town Tree Maintenance

The town prunes and removes for trees on municipal property and along hydro lines on a rotational schedule.

Rotational tree maintenance

Council approved the rotational tree maintenance program to proactively prune all 108,000 street trees in the town on a ten-year cycle.

In 2024, the rotational tree maintenance program will include all town-owned street trees between:

  • Fourth Line and Sixteen Mile Creek from the QEW south to Lakeshore Road
  • Neyagawa Blvd/Fourth Line and Preserve Drive, from Dundas Street north to Burnhamthorpe Road

The trees in each area are inspected by certified arborists to identify any pruning that is required and work orders are generated for each individual tree prior to the contractor starting the work the following year.

Review the progress of the 2024 rotational tree maintenance interactive map.

Rotational tree pruning is performed on town trees only

Know your town tree: In some cases, town trees are located on the municipal property bordering a homeowner’s yard which may include the house-side of the sidewalk. 

Town contractors will not prune residents’ private trees, they are the homeowner's responsibility. 

Residents will receive a letter in the mail to notify them of when their town tree(s) will be pruned. Please remove lights, decorations and play equipment from the town tree(s) in front of your home so that contractors are able to access and prune the tree(s) as necessary.

Hydro line clearing program

Starting in January 2024, the Town of Oakville and its tree service contractor will perform hydro line clearing between Burloak Drive and Trafalgar Road from the QEW north to Lower Base Line, and between Burloak Drive and Fourth Line from the QEW south to Rebecca Street, (Area 2).

You can review the progress of the Hydro line clearing program on the interactive map.

The town and its contractors perform hydro line clearing on behalf of Oakville Hydro. This involves pruning trees on a four-year cycle following the Electrical Safety Authority’s (ESA) industry standard of providing a minimum three-metre (10 foot) clearance between branches and primary power lines and one metre (three feet) for secondary lines. Crews will also prune trees to provide clearance from hydro poles and guy-lines.

Hydro-line clearing reduces safety hazards and power outages while maintaining the health, safety and well-being of the town’s tree canopy.

Our professional arborist contractors prune trees with these goals in mind:

  • Keep the structural integrity of the tree intact
  • Maintain the health of the tree with well-placed cuts that heal well and minimize sprouting
  • Promote regrowth away from hydro lines through directional pruning
  • Leave branches growing down and away from wires to continue their growth

In some instances, the town must prune privately owned trees if they have grown too close to the hydro line.

When hydro lines are located in rear yards, Oakville Hydro has an easement through the property which allows the arborist to access the tree.

If not properly maintained, trees can create power outages or hazardous situations by touching or even falling on hydro lines. In rare instances, trees growing too close to the hydro line will be removed as a last resort if the arborist cannot meet the minimum clearance standards with acceptable pruning set out by the ESA.

Learn more about tree pruning around hydro lines.

Getting to the root of the problem

We prune and remove trees on municipal property. Tree health and structure can be greatly increased by regular pruning, especially when the trees are young. Immature trees that are left unpruned can develop many structural problems such as weak branch structure, crossing branches, and co-dominant leaders. Some branches may be removed to provide clearance for sidewalks, roads, traffic signs, traffic lights and buildings.

Town arborists prune and remove trees in woodlands throughout the town when necessary to protect the safety of people or property, or to promote forest health. Limb and trunk wood is left on site within the wooded areas. This encourages the natural regeneration of the woodland by providing biomass material for regrowth, provides habitat for woodland insects and animals, and leaves the sensitive woodland understory undisturbed.

You are permitted to prune your private tree under the Private Tree Protection By-law provided the pruning meets good arboricultural standards, which include ensuring that no more than one-third of the live branches or limbs of a tree are cut in one season. 

A qualified arborist should always be retained to carry out tree pruning.

Trees that are removed from streets and parks will also have the stump removed. This is often completed at a separate date from the above-ground removal. 

Locates, markings on the ground indicating the location of underground infrastructure,   are needed prior to the removal of the stump, these are often different coloured lines drawn on the surrounding lawn and hardscape. 

Stumping is essential to prepare sites for future tree planting. 

Irrigation systems or low voltage lighting are not included in the locate process and should not be located on town land. 

The three most important things that roots need and want are: soil, air and water. The easiest and best place for them to find these three essentials is at the surface of the ground in your yard and your neighbour’s yard.

Tree roots will not cause breaks in drains or water pipes. Roots are attracted to existing leaks since they provide water and air. It is important to replace aging pipes or faulty joints to prevent and avoid further issues. 

When planting a tree, make sure to leave enough room for the trunk to grow. 

To avoid damaging your walkway, driveway or patio at least 1.5 metres (five feet) is recommended. Beyond this distance, tree roots are not the cause of any heaving or cracking.

Agreement for Contractors to Perform Arboricultural Services on Town Property

If, at the owner's expense, a homeowner wishes to have a contractor perform town-approved maintenance on a town-owned tree, or tree planting adjacent to the owner's property, the owner is required to submit a completed Agreement for Contractors to Perform Arboricultural Services on Town Property (pdf).