Urban Forestry

Urban forests are the networks of trees, shrubs and other vegetation located in parklands, along streets, in yards, and in undeveloped urban areas. Urban forests have many environmental, economic and social benefits. In order to protect and enhance the urban forest canopy, Renfrew Town Council has adopted a Tree Canopy and Natural Vegetation Policy. The Town’s Tree Policy applies to public trees and vegetation on Town owned property and trees affected by Town activities. The Public are encouraged to follow the principles of the Tree Policy to manage trees and vegetation on their private property.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is responsible for maintaining the tree on my street?

Public trees are those that are located on Town owned property including parks, unopened right of ways, ravines, boulevards, and along streets. The Town is responsible to maintain these trees and it is unlawful to remove a public tree or plant a tree on public property without written permission from the Town. Trees can, at times, be planted and grow very close to a property line. If the tree’s trunk is located wholly on private property it is a private tree. If the tree’s trunk is fully on Town property, it is a public tree (e.g. street trees on road allowances and park trees). If part of the truck is touching a property line the tree is shared amongst the property owners. In the case of trees shared with the Town, if the majority of the trunk is on Town property the tree is considered a public tree. If a public tree requires maintenance, or if you are uncertain if a tree is a private or public tree, contact the Town of Renfrew at 613-432-8166 or email dw@renfrew.ca.

Can I cut my neighbours tree if it's growing on my property?

Issues with private trees that cause a nuisance to neighbouring properties are outside the authority of the Town. Neighbours are encouraged to settle issues with nuisance trees amongst themselves. By-law enforcement services may be of assistance in some cases and can be contacted at 613-432-4848 ext. 121, email bylaw@renfrew.ca or submit a complaint or request online

What should I do if a tree has fallen or grown into a power line?

Regardless if a tree is a private or public tree, if it has grown into a power line you should not attempt to trim or remove it. Instead contact Renfrew Hydro.

What is Emerald Ash Borer?

Emerald Ash Borer, or EAB, is a non-native, highly destructive wood-boring beetle that feeds under the bark of ash trees. Emerald Ash Borer was confirmed the Ottawa Valley in 2013.  All species of ash are susceptible to attack, except mountain ash, which is not a true ash species. Since it was first identified in Michigan in 2002, EAB has killed millions of ash trees in Ontario and many parts of the United States. It poses a major economic and environmental threat to urban and forested areas. Since the insect spends most of its lifecycle under the bark of trees, it can be easily moved with firewood or other tree materials such as nursery stock, logs, brush and larger wood chips. This insect is able to fly, but since its spread has been primarily along major highways and transport routes, it is clear that humans are the main vector of dispersal.

In its larva form, which resembles a caterpillar, Emerald Ash Borer feeds just under the bark of ash trees. This feeding disrupts the tree's circulation of water and nutrients. The presence of even a few insects in a tree can kill it within a year or two.

Top branches of ash trees usually die off first.  A tree can lose half its branches in a single year. Once larvae finish feeding under the bark, they mature into adult beetles that chew their way out of the tree.

Dead and dying trees pose a significant hazard to the public as they can be blown down in wind or ice storms and cause damage to power lines, cars and buildings.  The Town will remove dead and dying trees from Public Property only. Private property owners with dead or dying ash trees are encouraged to contact a professional arborist to assist them with removal or treatment. 

Learn more about EAB here.  

Why are Butternut Trees endangered?

The Butternut tree is an endangered species in Ontario and is protected under the Endangered Species Act, 2007. Butternut trees are endangered as a result of the Butternut canker fungal disease. Canker resistant Butternuts are known to occur in the Town of Renfrew, particularly along the Bonnechere River, Smith’s Creek and the Town’s various ravine lands. Private landowners with butternut trees on their property must follow the protections and restrictions for the species as described in the Endangered Species Act. Landowners are encouraged to seek the advice of a certified Butternut Heath Assessor to manage the butternut trees on their property.  For more information of Butternut tree management visit the Forest Gene Conservation Association at https://fgca.net/species-conservation/trees-in-trouble/butternut/ and download their Butternut Landowner’s Resource Guide Brochure.