Tree replacement requirements
Replacement trees are required as a condition of all Tree Cutting Permits. The number of replacement trees you need to plant depends on the size of the tree you’re removing. The only exception is tree removal on single-family and 2-family properties that aren't undergoing development where replacement trees may be required. In these cases, the City may direct you to plant replacement trees, depending on the characteristics and constraints of the property.
The number of replacement trees required will be determined by the size of the tree being removed, as outlined below:
Size of tree to be cut or removed
Number of replacement trees required
20.3 cm (8”) to 30.5 cm (12”)
30.5 cm (12”) to 61 cm (24”)
61 cm (24”) or greater
Having a replacement tree ratio based on the size of the tree(s) removed allows Burnaby to compensate for the environmental and community benefits that larger trees provide.
If it isn't feasible to plant the required number of replacement trees on a subject property, you may need to make a cash-in-lieu contribution to the City’s Civic Tree Reserve Fund (a fund maintained by the City for the acquisition of new trees).
Replacement tree bond
If replacement trees are required, a bond (security) must be provided to the City before the Tree Cutting Permit is issued. The cost will be the greater of these 2 measures:
- $941 per tree and an additional $325-650 for each additional replacement tree. This fee is adjusted annually.
- an amount equal to 120% of the cost of the replacement trees.
Bonding ensures that replacement trees are planted on time and maintained for the first year giving them the best chance for survival.
Any forfeited bonds will be placed in the City’s Civic Tree Reserve Fund.
Acceptable trees for replacement
Here are the tree planting requirements for the replacement trees.
- Coniferous trees such as Douglas fir, Hinoki cypress, or spruce must be at least 2 metres high. We strongly advise against cedar trees as they've been dying off suddenly due to drought conditions.
- Deciduous trees like redbud, dogwood, snowbell, maple or magnolia must have a minimum trunk diameter of 5cm. If you're considering a Japanese maple–many of them don't meet our replacement requirements because they stay as a low shrub, never growing to true tree form.
- Fruit trees 2 fruit trees equal 1 replacement tree unless you find a fruit tree with a 5 cm diameter–then it counts as a full replacement tree.
- Palm trees must be a minimum of 2 metres high
- Full list of recommended replacement trees
Species that won't be accepted as replacement trees
- Cedar hedging and all other hedging varieties Hedges are not protected under the Tree Bylaw and don't count as replacement trees.
- Shrubs or low-growing varieties of trees Topiary plants are considered shrubs. If you're considering a Japanese maple–many varieties don't meet our replacement requirements because they stay as a low shrub, never growing to true tree form.
- Invasive species - Some ornamental plants look attractive and tree-like and grow quickly to a large size, but they're a serious threat to natural ecosystems.
Planting your replacement tree(s)
Whichever plant you choose must grow into a tree form– not a hedge or a shrub. Topiary plants are considered shrubs.
The tree(s) you purchase should be good quality nursery stock. Plant the trees according to the tree's attached instructions or call one of our arborists to discuss.
Replacement trees must be planted on private property, not on the city boulevard. You can plant them wherever you like on your property, but provide adequate spacing between trees–at least 3 metres (10 feet) from tree trunk to tree trunk. Ensure the location you choose allows them to grow to maturity.
Once the trees are planted, contact the City's arborist for the first inspection. This will start the 1-year waiting period for a re-inspection. Once the re-inspection is over, we'll refund your tree bond.