What to do if your tree is damaged in a storm?
The time of year has come for potential extreme fall and winter weather events. It is important to remember that it is normal for trees to sway in a windstorm. While it can be unnerving to watch, the swaying means the trees internal structure is healthy and doing its job to provide strength and flexibility to the tree. It is also normal for many tree species to shed branches or limbs in a storm. Anything wrist size or smaller is considered within normal range. These branches can still cause minor property damage or personal injury so please be cautious when out in extreme weather.
If there are trees on your property that are causing concern during stormy weather it is a good idea to hire an ISA certified and Tree Risk Assessment Qualified Arborist to conduct a tree risk assessment. If the arborist determines the tree has a high risk of failure then the report should be submitted to the Tree Bylaw Division with a hazard tree removal application.
Below are the steps to follow should you have a protected tree on private property that falls, or is in imminent danger of falling, during a wind or snow storm.
A protected tree is any of the following:
- a tree or shrub of any size located on City-owned or occupied land;
- a tree of any species with a DBH of 20 centimetres or greater;
- a tree with evidence of nesting by a bird, as “bird” is defined in the Wildlife Act, RSBC 1996, c 488;
Section 5.6 of the Tree Bylaw states:
"In the event that a protected tree is in imminent danger of falling and injuring persons or property due to natural causes, and it is not possible to obtain a permit prior to the tree falling, the owner may cut the tree or have it cut, but shall report the cutting of the tree to the Director within the next business day along with a photograph of the tree prior to such cutting. The owner shall not remove the tree from the lot until the City has attended at the site and has confirmed that the tree was in imminent danger of falling and injuring persons or property. Trees that are cut pursuant to this section must be replaced in accordance with subsections 7.2 and 7.4, security for which must be provided in accordance with the security requirements for replacement trees set out in section 9.0. If the City determines that the tree was not in imminent danger of falling, or was in imminent danger of falling due to reasons other than natural causes, the owner may be subject to the offences and penalties in section 11.0."
Steps to take:
- Take photos and video of the tree failure and send them to . You can also call 604-636-4318. Please make sure you put your address in the subject line and include your name and phone number.
- You may have the tree cut down without a permit, however you must notify the Tree Bylaw Division within one business day.
- Leave all tree parts on the property until City Arborist can do an inspection to determine the tree was in imminent danger of falling.
- The tree bylaw staff will follow up with you on how to apply for a tree removal permit/replacement tree plan.
- If you own the house and live on that property then you would qualify for the Resident Applicant fee structure for hazard trees.
- If a protected tree on city property is in imminent danger of falling, has fallen or had a branch failure please call 604-527-4567 or email photos and location of tree to