The City of Cambridge is responsible for maintaining trees on public property (City-owned trees). Property owners are responsible for maintaining the trees on their private property. These are privately owned trees.

 Municipal tree services include:

  • Tree removal
  • Tree trimming
  • Tree planting (spring and fall)
  • Fertilizing
  • Disease diagnosis
  • Pest diagnosis
  • After hours emergency service, such as tree damage during a wind storm

Contact the Forestry Call Centre for information about municipal trees or municipal tree services. If you are calling after hours for emergency tree services, please call (519) 621-0740.

Tree maintenance

Our Forestry department manages the maintenance of City-owned trees, including trimming, removal and fertilizing.

 Why do we have tree by-laws?
The City Tree By-law applies to City-owned trees. This includes trees along the side of roadways, in our parks and in woodlots.
 Am I allowed to remove or trim any trees?
Removing or trimming of City-owned trees is a violation of City Tree By-law. Homeowners must confirm ownership of a tree on or near their property before doing any work on it, such as trimming.
 Can I maintain a City-owned tree in front of my home?

We appreciate your help with watering newly planted trees, as well as any tree during long periods of drought. For all other maintenance issues of City-owned trees, contact the Forestry Call Centre.

If you are calling after hours for emergency tree services, please call (519) 621-0740.

 When does the City remove trees?
We remove trees when they are a safety hazard or dying. We prioritize removal schedules by severity of the issue. The City removes trees all-year-round. 
 Why does it take so long to get a tree near my property trimmed?

Every spring our Forestry Call Centre receives thousands of work requests. It can take our staff months to complete the large number of requests we get.

An ice storm or a windstorm can prevent us from getting to your tree right away, as safety hazards and dangerous trees take priority and move to the top of our work list.

 Who cleans up after trees are trimmed or removed?
Both City employees and contractors are responsible for thoroughly cleaning up after themselves. Please note that larger wood may be left on your property until appropriate equipment is available to remove it.
 Does the City own the tree in front of my house?
If the tree is between the sidewalk and the curb, it's a City-owned tree. If there isn't a sidewalk or the tree is located on your front yard, contact the Forestry Call Centre to have a tree technician come out to measure property lines and determine if the tree is privately owned or City-owned.
 Do I have to trim a newly planted tree?
No, you shouldn't prune trees for the first year or two after planting it. City contractors do everything required for the tree at the time of planting.
 What types of trees can be found in the City of Cambridge?
The City of Cambridge keeps a City Tree Inventory. View a map of the City Tree Inventory, listed under the Civic and Recreation section of our map database. You can zoom in on a property and use the "i" button in the menu on the right side of the screen to click on a tree and view its Attribute Details, which tells you the type of tree and its size.
 How do you measure the size of a tree?
When we refer to the size of a tree, we usually use the girth of the tree's trunk. We measure the girth of a tree trunk by a standard arboricultural method called "diameter at breast height" or "dbh".
 Whom can I contact for help?

Got questions about trees in or around your neighbourhood? Call Service Cambridge at (519) 623-1340.

Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Have a tree-related emergency after regular business hours? Call (519) 621-0740 for help.

Tree planting

The City of Cambridge plants new trees in spring and fall to improve and support our Urban Forestry planning.

 Do I have to take care of new trees on or near my property?

The City relies on residents to help with the care of new, young trees. We deliver a tree care pamphlet to your door on the day we plant the tree.

Water it thoroughly once a week in dry weather. Please use caution when using grass trimmers near the tree. The City appreciates your help with caring for the new trees, however, please do not trim or prune the trees.
 Can I still have a new tree planted, if there isn't a lot of space?
Sometimes there just isn't enough space to plant a new tree, even if there was a big tree there before. Decades ago, trees were often planted in very narrow boulevards but when the trees got large they would damage the sidewalk, curb or road. We try to avoid these problems now by not planting a tree unless there is enough space for it to grow to its mature size.
 When will my tree be planted?
 We plant trees in the spring and fall. This is the best time of year to transplant trees. Some species of trees can only be planted in spring and others only in fall. If you are in a new subdivision, the street trees will be planted once all roadside landscaping is complete, including sod.
What will my new tree look like?
 In general, we plant trees that are two to three metres tall, with a trunk about four to five centimetres thick. We stake the new tree with two wooden stakes and biodegradable twine to brace it for the first year.

When you request a tree to be planted, our arborist will recommend an appropriate species for the location. 

Where will a new tree be planted?

 The location of a new tree depends on a few things, including:
  • Mature tree size
  • Soil volume
  • Buildings and hydro lines in the area

If the new tree is replacing a small tree, it will likely go in the same location as the previous tree. If the new tree is replacing a very large tree, the new tree can't go in the exact same spot, because roots from the former tree impede growth for the new tree.

What is the Tree Dedication Program and how do I take part?

 Cambridge's Tree Dedication Program is a way to remember a loved one, celebrate a birth, honour a retiree or commemorate any other event. The program plants trees in approved areas within City parks and cemeteries.

When you apply to dedicate a tree through our program, the Manager of Horticulture and Forestry Services will:

  1. Work with you to select a suitable tree for the area. 
  2. Approve the site for planting and suggest alternative sites, if required
  3. Purchase the tree and determine if it's healthy upon its arrival
  4. Have the Forestry department properly maintain the tree once it's planted. Trees and plaques are guaranteed for a ten (10) year period.

All costs for participating in the program must be made payable to the City of Cambridge Community Services department before the planting date.

If you request a memorial plaque for your tree dedication, it must be ordered six weeks before the planting date. We can also install it at a later date, if needed. Costs for a memorial plaque vary and you must include the receipt for your payment with your order.