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Tree felling: regulations and rates

Felling, pruning, trimming, pruning: what are the differences?



is the most commonmost common tree care procedure. This involves removing small, low branches, woody twigs and undesirable young shoots. In some cases, branches can also be shortened.


Pruning is a slightly more complex operation. This involves removing dead, diseased, misplaced, harmful or poorly attached branches from a tree. He aims to keep the tree in good health and encourages its development. Find out more about pruning and rates.



Topping is a practice that aims to to reduce the height of a tree by cutting off its crown.


involves safely removing an entire tree. This is an irreversible stage, which can be followed by grubbing (action of removing a stump).

When the tree is dead, diseased, causing damage or becoming dangerous, felling should be considered.


Importance of trees and regulations

Felling a tree has major consequences for the environment. It acts as a “natural purification plant”, filtering rainwater.

It is also an incredible producer of oxygen, helping to ensure our survival.

These are the reasons why tree-cutting is increasingly regulated by municipalities – especially on private land. These restrictive regulations, and the resulting fines for non-compliance, make it possible to limit abusive felling.

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Why cut down a tree?

There are many reasons why a homeowner might want to cut down a tree. While some of these are more of a whim, others will be given special attention by the municipal services.

The issuance of a felling permit
is therefore subject to one of the following conditions:

The tree is dead

If the tree has dried out or rotted, its hardened and more fragile branches may fall, causing major damage (human and material). In fact, it seems unavoidable to shoot it to avert any danger. If in doubt, seek the expertise of an arborist or urban forestry consultant. The latter is generally equipped with highly advanced diagnostic and investigative tools.

The tree is sick

When a tree is diseased, infested by parasites or fungi, and no treatment or pruning is possible, it's important to take action to prevent the disease spreading to nearby healthy trees.

Trees are a nuisance

In some cases, the tree can be a nuisance to the growth of surrounding trees. The owner will then have to cut down his tree.

Trees are an obstacle to development

When a tree is perceived as a real obstacle to the realization of a development, construction or work for which a permit has been issued, and if there are no other solutions, authorization to fell it may be given.


Felling a tree is a job for professionals

Once you’ve obtained the certificate of authorization, you can carry out the operation yourself. But be careful, you’ll need to comply with the urban planning harmonization by-law. The latter lays down very precise rules concerning the siting of trees on your land or their felling. In Quebec, there are many companies specializing in arboricultural work.

These professionals have received quality training both in terms of felling techniques and safety rules.

Many factors influence tree-felling operations: the type of wood and its condition, the inclination of the tree, its dimensions, the environment…

In an urban environment, cutting down trees is dangerous and must be done by dismantling them section by section. Cranes and aerial platforms are generally used, and dexterously handled to avoid electrical wires in particular.

Furthermore, safety is of paramount importance in this field. Arboriculturists are well aware of this, so they use protective equipment, safe, high-performance tools, and adopt appropriate behavior.

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How to choose a professional?

There is no professional order for arborists. However, you can be sure that
the chosen worker is competent if he or she meets one or more of the following criteria:

How much does it cost to cut down a tree?

First of all, start by request a quotation to an arboricultural contractor. This first step is usually free of charge. Don’t hesitate to request several quotes to compare prices and services.

The price of felling a tree depends on five major factors
such as :


Without stump removal, it costs an average of $100 to $500 to have an unobstructed tree cut.

The price of stump removal

If you have to remove the entire stump, you’ll have to double the tree-felling estimate. Consider an additional $150 to $1,000, depending on the complexity of the task.

Presence of electrical infrastructure

The average cost of felling a tree can rise very quickly (to around $1,400) when it is close to electrical infrastructure (poles, power lines, etc.).

Rough terrain

Felling a tree on hilly or sloping ground can cost up to $1700, while the same tree on flat, smooth ground will cost you around $700.

What to do with wood residues after felling?

Once you’ve felled your tree, there’s one last step to take: managing all the cut wood (and its residues)! Here are the
different options offered by contractors:

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Good to know

Felling permits

The cost of a felling permit varies from municipality to municipality. Some don't charge for it, but you'll usually have to pay between $50 and $100.


If you decide to cut down a tree without authorization, it could cost you dearly. Fines range from $500 to $5,000 (for repeat offences) for each tree felled without a permit!


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