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Forestry Services

The City of St. Catharines Forestry Services provides for a healthier urban forest by maintaining, pruning and performing surgery on viable trees while removing others as required. Maintenance and pruning promotes existing tree health as well as public safety. All work is performed by specialized tree personnel, called arborists, who follow standards set by the International Society of Arboriculture (I.S.A.).

To contact Forestry Services please call 905.935.3813

What is an Arborist?

An arborist is a trained professional, who is knowledgeable about tree physiology and biology and is trained and equipped to provide proper care to trees and the urban forest. An arborist practices arboriculture, which is the cultivation, art and science, and management of individual trees.

What is the Urban Forest?

An urban forest is the collection of trees and shrubs that are growing within a city. It may contain any kind of woody plant vegetation growing in or around human settlements. An intricate role in sustaining an urban forest is constant management of the vegetation/trees. Some of the major benefits of an urban forest are:

  • Economic benefits
  • Air pollution reduction
  • Recreational benefits
  • Social benefits
  • Wildlife benefits
  • Communal benefits

New Tree Planting

The City of St. Catharines plants trees to help improve air quality and add economic value, beauty and shade to a neighbourhood. Trees are planted on public boulevards, road allowances fronting residences and in circles where trees do not currently exist.

Requesting a New Tree

Any resident, business or land owner can request that the City plant a tree on the City-owned road allowance or boulevard in front of their property. To request a new tree follow these steps:

  1. View the list of trees approved for boulevard planting and select the type of tree that you would like to be planted. Property owners should select different types of trees than their neighbours to assist in creating a diverse and healthy urban forest. Having a variety of species helps protect trees from pests and diseases that spread through an area and target specific tree types.
  2. Call 905.688.5600 and request a tree. Be ready with your name, address, preferred tree type, and contact information.
  3. The City or its contractor will plant the tree for you. The City has a spring planting season which runs from April to June (weather dependent) and a fall planting season which runs from September to November (weather dependent). The deadline to request a new tree is April 1 for the spring planting season and August 30 for the fall planting season. In some situations you will need to wait until the next planting season for the new tree.
  4. Care for your new tree:
    • Keep lawn mowers and string trimmers away from the trunk to avoid damaging the bark; 
    • Water, but do not overwater your tree. Provide a deep watering twice a week during dry periods;
    • Please leave the wood chips in place. Wood chips protect the tree from damage and reduce water loss by allowing water and nutrients to penetrate the soil more easily;
    • Do not pile soil or grass clippings over the mulch;
    • If additional mulch is needed, do not mound the mulch towards the trunk like a pyramid 

Other Considerations


  • Unfortunately in certain locations the City may not be able to plant a tree due to space constraints, underground services and/or overhead utility lines. Staff will advise if this is the case.
  • Planting smaller trees in areas with overhead utility lines minimizes future costs associated with tree maintenance and health, and creates a healthier urban forest.
  • Oak trees are only available for the spring planting season.

Cutting/Trimming/Pruning Trees on Public Property

Property owners are not permitted to trim trees on city property in front of or behind their homes.

Any concerns about a tree's health or concerns for public safety, such as a low-lying limb over the sidewalk or roof can be reported to: 

  • Boulevard trees and watercourses - Forestry Services at 905.935.3813
  • Trees in City parks - Parks, Recreation and Culture Services at 905.688.5600

Tree Removals

Trees will be removed using the following process:

  1. An arborist will assess your tree.
  2. If it's identified for removal you will be provided with an informational door hanger.
  3. You will have 14 days to comment from the date the hanger was issued.  Comments can be made by calling 905.935.3813.
  4. Your tree will be scheduled for removal based on its priority, but removal is subject to change due to emergencies.
  5. Depending on the size of the tree and available resources your tree may be removed in two or three stages:
    • The crown of the tree may be removed first, leaving the trunk.
    • The trunk may be cut down to ground level in one visit. If the trunk is left standing, the City will be back to remove it at a later date.
  6. A crew is then scheduled to grind out the stump, remove the grindings and backfill with soil and seed. At this point, a property owner can request a new tree, as outlined above.

The arborist that inspects your tree and schedules the removal can assist in selecting an ideal species for your site. This is only done at the request of the property owner. If you are interested in this service please call 905.935.3813 when you receive notification of the tree removal.

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a pest introduced from Asia that affects all species of Ash trees (Fraxinus) in North America. EAB has killed millions of Ash trees across southern Ontario and North America. Mortality may occur in as short a period as one year; however death normally occurs within two to three years of a tree becoming infested.

Infestation occurs when the beetle lays its eggs on the bark and in bark crevices on the trunk and branches. The larvae then tunnel beneath the bark and feed on the layer of live cells between the bark and the sapwood (the Cambium), cutting off the transport of nutrients and water to the tree. Although a tree may have some signs of EAB infestation, other diseases or infestations may be affecting the trees growth.

EAB and St. Catharines

The EAB has been discovered within pockets of the city and all Ash trees in St. Catharines are at risk of dying from infestation. As a result the City is implementing an EAB management program which includes treatment of viable Ash trees, and removal and replacement of non-viable trees where appropriate.

If you see an Ash tree on City property showing signs of EAB contact Forestry Services at 905.935.3813.

EAB on Private Property

It is recommended that you contact a private certified arborist to inspect a tree on private property that is showing signs of EAB. The arborist will be able to confirm the presence of EAB and recommend treatment options.

The city encourages citizens to treat their Ash trees and limit the movement of firewood wherever possible to help contain the spread of EAB.

Additional Resources on EAB

Gypsy Moth

The European Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar) is an introduced defoliating insect that is considered a major pest in North America. The caterpillar, or larva stage of the insect, has very distinctive blue and red spots, and eats the leaves of trees making them more susceptible to disease and damage from other insects.

If you find gypsy moth, destroying the egg masses is an effective control method. View this Gypsy Moth Information Sheet for information on identifying and controlling Gypsy Moth.

Leaves & Fruit from Trees

The City of St. Catharines does not collect leaves or fruit that fall from trees. Leaves and fruit must be collected in a yard waste bag for collection by the Niagara Region.

Additional information about leaves, composting and recycling is provided by the Niagara Region.


Copyright © 2014 The Corporation of the City of St. Catharines