“Things will go as they will, and there is no need to hurry to meet them” - Tree Beard, Lord of the Rings
It is very natural to get excited about having trees on your property, especially a when buying a home that already comes with lovely old trees, or sprightly tree lings that are still within tree infancy phase. We love to drive down ‘tree lined’ streets and for some of us, glad to live on such a street. It is quite a different experience to visit the suburbs and have no trees on a lot, knowing that we have a lot of work ahead of us or that it will take at least 25 years for something to cover us when we want shade.
Who remembers the grade 2 trees that are handed out from schools, a wee seedling given to each grade 2 students in the city of Calgary? Parents excited to help the seedling survive the first few days by storing it in the fridge until the family can unite outside and plant it. Great memories we have, and if you a look around the older neighborhoods, those massive trees are still around, adding to the greenery and value of a home.
However, have we stopped and thought about who owns that lovely, massive tree? Well, I was out showing homes with a couple recently and the topic did come up. The house was in an older inner city community that is now starting to undergo a gentrification of sorts. Outside the front of the 3-bedroom bungalow were two massive spruce trees, truly filling up the yard and providing privacy and shade to the original home owners. My clients were adamant that these two trees would be going if the house was theirs, regardless that they were mightily and expansive. Nope, no trees out front, as they wanted a yard.
Ok, so a quick call the listing realtor didn’t really confirm any thing about whether the trees could be removed. Wanting to really help my clients get the house they wanted, I decided to call the city, they would know. I was put through to the urban planning department and after a few quick questions, I was told that I could order an on-site consultation by Urban Forestry, the company that helps the city to determine tree ownership. Apparently, I wasn’t the only person wanting to know tree ownership even though the trees were on the front lawn and not on the boulevard between the side walk the street (which is usually city land). The nice man on the phone booked the visit, saying it would take 10-15 days and that it was free. They would call me when they were done.
Lo and behold, less than 48 hours later, I received a call from Urban Forestry who confirmed that in fact the trees were owned by the city and that if the home owners wanted to remove them, they would have to apply through the city. Fair enough and good to know. Not safe to assume anything about a house when buying, important to confirm details, even if it is as simple as who owns the trees in the front yard.
If you require information about trees on your property or to determine tree ownership, call 311 or 403 888 3905. Call to confirm you have the right to move your tree!