City Tree Policy


City Tree Policy

City Ordinance 25 (16-33) Article II Trees, Shrubs, & Plants

Maintaining a Viable Urban Forest
Under the authority of the Department of Public Works (DPW), the City of Sault Ste. Marie has distinguished itself as an urban forest, after a Tree City U.S.A. award, as well as several planting grants; these serve as proof that the city places an emphasis on the health of its urban forest. This document will refer to ‘street trees’ or trees located within the right-of-way and ‘City trees’ which are trees in other locations such as parks.

Tree Removal & Planting Process
The objective of the City is to maintain a viable urban forest. This is achieved through periodic inspection and maintenance, preservation of healthy street trees as well as removal of City street trees, when circumstances exist. Please refer to the following to better understand the City's street tree removal policies and services.

Tree Inspections
Residents with specific complaints or concerns regarding a street tree growing in the public right-of-way may request a tree inspection. The DPW conducts tree inspections at no cost to the resident. Requests for tree inspections are initiated by calling the Customer Services (906) 632-5700. The service representative will enter the concern into our service ticket system and an inspection of the tree will be conducted. Upon completion of the inspection, residents will be contacted by telephone or written notice with a determination. If the tree can be removed, then the DPW will be notified. Only City employees or contracted service providers of the City shall cut or trim a City tree, unless otherwise authorized by the City.

Street Tree Replacement
If a healthy tree is removed due to the request of the adjacent property owner, a fee will be charged for the tree and service. These fees will be placed into a “tree fund” for future Right of Way enhancements throughout the City. Fees are based on the current cost of a medium sized tree and can be found on the City’s current User Fee Schedule.

Removal of City Trees
The Engineering department and the DPW will, at its sole discretion, remove street trees within the city right-of-way at no charge to the homeowner for the following reasons:

  1. Street tree is dead, dying, diseased, or is in otherwise unsafe condition.
  2. Street tree is of a prohibited species. Prohibited species include poplar, box elder, basswood, willow, soft maple, common catalpa, horse chestnut tree, or "ailanthus glandulosa".
  3. Street tree conflicts with the sidewalk or streets.
  4. Street tree is causing issues with utilities such as power, water, or sewer lines.

In-Take Process
Current removal practices are initiated by citizen calls, construction projects, utility maintenance, and natural demise (windstorms, etc.). Trees posing an immediate danger, and general tree removal of dying trees are often removed by the City Department of Public Works (DPW). If the DPW are unable to remove the trees (in utility wires, budget, time, or the need for extensive removals) the work is bid out. Utility companies also assist in tree removal as part of their maintenance.

Any department receiving a tree call/email will enter a ticket in the Fresh Service portal. This will ensure requests for tree issues are tracked and closed out.