What's New
Tree Care and Pruning

It's spring gardening season! While you're planning out your garden beds, make sure you're also thinking about the trees on your property. Per City bylaws, it is the responsibility of the property owner/occupant to properly care for and maintain private protected trees.

Protected trees include the following:

  • Trees with a diameter of ≥ 20cm when measured at 1.3m (4' 3") above grade
  • Trees with more than one stem, the combined diameter of its two largest trunks or stems is ≥ 20cm
  • Trees with evidence of nesting birds
  • Trees that do not meet the size requirements but were a condition of a plan or permit approval
  • A hedge that is ≥ 5m in height

Please note: All trees and shrubs on City-owned property, including boulevard trees, are also considered protected trees, but these are the responsibility of the City and may NOT be pruned or altered in any way by residents. If you are unsure if the tree is on your property, use our online mapping tool to verify your property line.  Please see below for more information about City-owned trees.


Proper tree care is crucial for the long-term health of your trees. Poor maintenance leads to disease, decay, and hazardous limb formation, which is considered to be “damage” to a protected tree under the Tree Protection and Regulation Bylaw No. 7799.

Pruning should be part of your regular tree maintenance. In addition to improving their form and structure, it also prevents them from encroaching onto City streets and boulevards, which is prohibited under the Street and Traffic Bylaw No. 7664 (Section 6.38-6.39).

Pruning your tree

When pruning your tree, please ensure the following:

  • All pruning is done in adherence to industry standards (American National Standards Institute Publication A300) and best management practices of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).
  • Your tree contractor is an ISA-certified arborist and licensed to operate in New Westminster.
  • Trees (and shrubbery) adjacent to streets or boulevards are pruned back so as to not:
    • impede the passage of the public or sight lines of vehicle or pedestrian traffic;
    • encroach on or over any portion of a City sign; or
    • overhang a street or boulevard at a height of less than 3 meters above the surface.

Keeping your tree healthy and vigorous

  • Mulching: Placing a ring of wood chips and/or leaves around the tree is recommended to preserve moisture and provide nutrients to the tree. The recommended mulching depth is 5-10 cm (2-4”), with a minimum 1 meter (3’) radius ring; leave a gap around the base of the tree free of mulch (suggested 10 cm/4”) to reduce the risk of insects and disease.
  • Planting within the critical root zone of the tree: Shrubs and perennial flowers can beneficial for the tree. However, care should be taken when planting within the critical root zone of a tree so as to not cause root damage, which may be detrimental to its long-term viability. When planting within the critical root zone of a tree, the following should be considered:
    • Only plant perennial plants, so surface roots are only disturbed once;
    • Use smaller plant stock, which require smaller holes and are normally easier to establish;
    • Be cautious of roots when choosing where to plant; if you encounter a root, adjust the location so you’re planting beside it instead.
  • Watering: Established mature trees normally evolve with their environment and do not require watering under normal conditions. Overwatering trees can cause them to develop a poor root structure and put them at risk of root diseases. In the case of severe drought, your tree may benefit from watering once a week using either a slow release drip irrigation or a deep watering probe (aim to soak the soil up to 10 cm deep in the area sheltered by the tree’s branches).

Find more tree care tips on the Tree Care page on our website.

If you are unsure if a tree on your property is considered protected, or have questions about the proper care and maintenance of your trees, please contact a City Arborist at 604-636-4318 or


DO NOT cut, remove, prune, or damage any tree or shrub of any size on City-owned or occupied land. Trees on City Property, including trees and shrubs in parks and along streets, are pruned and maintained by certified arborists on schedule. The cutting of trees on City property is regulated by New Westminster’s Tree Protection and Regulation Bylaw. If you have concerns about a City-owned tree, you can request tree service by contacting the Parks Office at 604-527-4567 or .

If you would like get involved in caring for our city’s urban forest canopy, you can become a Tree Steward through the Adopt-A-Street Tree program.

Date posted:March 26, 2024