Top Tree Service Award in Ottawa for Wright Tree Service


You may be wondering if a permit is necessary to remove a tree in Ottawa (e.g. for a dead tree, dying tree, tree that’s a “nuisance” or for any other reason). The short answer is “quite possibly.” Even if you have a tree on your private property that you need or want to take down, you’ll still need a City of Ottawa permit before removing that tree – IF the tree is 30cm or greater in diameter.

The rule of thumb is this: If you can hug the tree and get your arms around it, you can remove the tree without a permit. There are other permit exceptions for removing trees in Ottawa; read on to find out more.

A healthy old tree in Ottawa
Wright Tree Service arborists remove a tree in downtown Ottawa


Even if you are removing a tree on your Ottawa property that is greater than 30cm in diameter, there are other exemptions that may mean you won’t need a City of Ottawa Distinctive Tree Permit. These include:

  • Trees within a private courtyard, solarium, rooftop patio, etc.
  • Trees on a cemetery or golf course, or on certain rural lands
  • Trees in a farm, nursery or orchard
  • Trees that pose an immediate danger/risk to property or people

If you are removing a tree in Ottawa that does not meet exemptions, you will need a City of Ottawa Distinctive Tree Permit.


Getting a tree removal permit in Ottawa isn’t that bad. But you will need to plan ahead. Unless the tree poses an immediate danger to a structure or to people, if you don’t meet the exemptions then you won’t be able to just take down the tree. To stay in compliance with City of Ottawa bylaws, you will need to follow all the steps – in the right order – to get a City of Ottawa Distinctive Tree Permit.

The first thing you’ll want to do is measure the tree at its trunk base, at about the height of your chest or neck. A diameter of 30cm means a circumference of approx. 94cm, so if you have a tape measure you can wrap it around the tree to get a measurement. If you’re above the exemption, you will need to contact an arborist and provide the city with an arborist report. Then the city will send someone to inspect the tree and site. After that you will receive a City of Ottawa Distinctive Tree Permit, which you must post prior to tree removal.

Contact Wright Tree Service today to get started with the process. We have certified arborists on staff and can help you file the necessary paperwork and obtain a City of Ottawa Distinctive Tree Permit. We can then remove the tree for you as well, safely and all in good order.

A Wright Tree arborist cuts up a felled tree in Ottawa


We don’t just chop down trees – we listen to our clients, assess each situation individually, and serve you with honesty and dedication.

green arborist icon

Knowledgeable Tree Experts

Count on our certified arborists and expertise to provide you with careful assessment and thorough tree services in Ottawa.

green locally owned icon

Locally Owned And Operated

Serving Ottawa and surrounding areas since 2010, Wright Tree proudly serves our community with integrity and value.

green treating you icon

Treating You With Honesty & Respect

We are committed to treating each customer as if they were our family, making sure you’re satisfied with our work.

green delivering icon

Delivering Great Value At A Fair Price

Our goal is to deliver the best results in tree removal, pruning & more, all at maximum value.

Frequently Asked Questions

See what our clients have been asking us about tree removal in Ottawa.

Even though it’s your private property, you need to make sure you’re complying with City of Ottawa tree removal bylaws. These are intended for the preservation of trees in a city that is ever expanding and prone to loss of green space due to development. Trees larger than 30cm in diameter require a City of Ottawa tree removal permit – with some exemptions (see above).

A good rule of thumb is to reach out and hug the tree (we know, we know, it sounds… tree-huggy). If you can get your arms around the tree (at the height of your chest), it’s likely smaller than 30cm (unless you play Center for the Toronto Raptors). If you can’t get your arms all the way around the tree, it’s more than 30cm and you’re probably going to need a tree permit from the City of Ottawa (see above for exemptions).

To be absolutely sure, use a body measuring tape to measure the tree at chest height.

If you don’t meet the exemptions to remove your tree that’s greater than 30cm in diameter, and you proceed to remove the tree, you would be in violation of Ottawa by-laws. Now, these aren’t the same as criminal laws; the police aren’t going to show up in a cruiser and haul you in. Still, a City of Ottawa By-Law Services officer could be paying you a visit, and upon finding that you in fact removed the tree without proper paperwork and payment, you could be subject to fines ranging from $500 to $100,000, depending on the severity and egregiousness of the situation.

You could go it alone, eyeball it or just keep your fingers crosses that the city won’t find out. To be on the safe side, however, why not hire a professional arborist? Here at Wright Tree Service we have Certified Arborists on staff. We’re Ottawa’s tree experts, with experience and in-depth knowledge of what the city requires in the way of permits, applications, payment and so on. We’ll be glad to come out to your property, take a look at the tree(s) in question, and let you know the best, most prudent way to proceed. If no permit is required, we can remove the tree for you right then and there – case closed! If we find that the tree exceeds the exemption size and needs a permit, we’ll advise accordingly.

Fair question. It is, indeed, your private property after all. But trees provide a benefit to everyone in the surrounding properties and community as a whole. That’s why the City of Ottawa has established a tree conservation program, designed to maintain an adequate amount of green space and greenery across Ottawa so that Ottawa residents can continue to enjoy the high standard of living to which we’ve been accustomed. If you have a small tree that you want to remove, that’s up to you. But removing mature trees will require a process to go through. There are exceptions, such as if the tree poses a health or safety risk to people, is threatening property damage (e.g. about to fall on your house), etc.

Do I Need a Tree Removal Permit

A Quick Guide

Tree must be removed ASAP for health & safety NO
Tree is on a farm, an orchard, a golf course or a nursery NO
Tree is in an enclosed courtyard, solarium or rooftop garden NO
Property is larger than one hectare YES
Tree exceeds 50cm in diameter YES
Tree is near the curb and on city right of way (typically 1m or more from the curb, up to the water shut-off) YES


We’re proud to have earned great reviews, referrals and repeat business – find out why:

a small tree removed on an Ottawa property

Our Clients

At Wright Tree Service in Ottawa, we’re proud of the repeat business, referrals and reviews we’ve earned over the years. It’s a reflection of our ongoing commitment to customer satisfaction and going that extra mile for you.


At Wright Tree Service, we want to give you the best value for your hard-earned money. We prefer to visit your property to get a better idea of the lay of the land, before providing an estimate. That way we can quote you knowing we’ll be able to deliver the best results possible at a price you’ll be happy with. Contact us today - we look forward to hearing from you!