Tree Pruning and Inspections

As a truly green community, the City of Vaughan is dedicated to championing healthy and sustainable neighbourhoods that will continue to elevate the quality of life for all citizens.

An important part of this commitment includes maintaining the city’s urban tree canopy. This year, to further advance Vaughan’s environmental stewardship efforts, the City is taking an enhanced and more proactive approach to tree pruning.

Through a new Council-endorsed Tree Maintenance Strategy, every City-owned street tree will now be pruned at seven-year intervals. This initiative – which also includes increased tree inspections – allows the City to adopt a more cost-effective approach to tree maintenance and reflects the ongoing commitment to good governance and financial stewardship, as outlined in the 2018-2022 Term of Council Service Excellence Strategic Plan. It also prioritizes quality services by managing and improving the urban forest and increasing canopy cover – an important element of green infrastructure and the overall health of the Vaughan community and its ecosystem.


Following this direction, the City is also taking a new approach to responding to individual pruning requests. Non-emergency requests within the scope of planned pruning will be addressed as planned; all other requests will be managed in priority sequence following an inspection.


Tree inspection report

To create a service request to report a tree on municipal property that you suspect is in poor health, contact Service Vaughan at 905-832-2281 or

A Forestry inspector will visit the site within 30 business days to examine the condition of the tree and determine the work to be done. The forestry inspector will leave you a voice message or door knocker with the status of your call.




Why does the City prune trees?

  • to promote good health
  • to prevent insects and disease
  • to remove potential safety hazards
  • to make vehicle and pedestrian clearances
  • to reduce storm damage from high winds, snow, and freezing rain
  • to accommodate streetlights, buildings, and utilities


When and how are trees pruned?

The City prunes trees routinely according to species, age and, in some cases, location and uses different types of pruning:

  • Crown cleaning is the removal of dead, dying, diseased, crowded, weakly attached and unhealthy branches from the crown of a tree.
  • Crown thinning is the selective removal of branches to increase light penetration and air movement through the crown. Thinning opens the foliage of a tree, reduces weight on heavy limbs, reduces water intake, and helps retain the tree's natural shape.
  • Crown clearance is the selective removal of the branches from the tree to provide clearance for buildings, vehicles, pedestrians, streetlights, traffic signals, road, regulatory signage and sight lines. Specification 2.4 metres (8 feet) over a sidewalk and 4.26 metres over a road.
  • Crown reduction reduces the size of a tree, to make room for utility lines. Reducing the height or spread of a tree is best accomplished by pruning back the leaders and branch terminals to lateral branches that are large enough to assume the terminal roles. This method maintains the form and structural integrity of the tree.
  • Crown restoration removes damaged limbs to restore an appropriate stable form to the tree. This is often necessary following storm damage.
  • Crown complete is the holistic pruning of a tree that encompasses, cleaning and clearance.
  • Crown establishment is the selective pruning of the crown of newly planted trees to promote an aesthetically and structurally sound branching system.


Why does the tree look so different after pruning?

After being pruned, a tree might look rather bare. It will begin to look normal during the next growing season, with a healthier and more attractive form and structure.