Timing is critical, and you should avoid pruning in the spring when your tree is budding and developing leaves, as this can stress your tree. Typically, the best times to prune are in the winter months when trees are fully dormant or in the midsummer months when trees are in full leaf. Pay attention to what type of tree you're pruning, as birch and maple should be pruned in July and August, when they are in full leaf. Always use proper pruning practices to maintain healthy trees, and don't prune away more than 1/4 of the live parts of the tree per year.
Smaller or dwarf varieties of trees provide access to fruit and require little pruning. Many times trees don't require pruning to maintain their natural appearance.
Trees or shrubs growing on private property and next to City boulevards, sidewalks, curbs or lanes must be properly trimmed. The following height restrictions allow for safe and adequate sight lines as per Traffic Bylaw 3186/97 (pdf).
- Branches projecting over a sidewalk must be at least 225 cm (7.5 ft) high
- Branches projecting over a roadway or lane must be at least 412 cm (13.5 ft) high
If a street sign is located next to your property, you are responsible for trimming all hedges and trees so they do not interfere with the visibility of the sign. This includes trees and hedges on your property and/or bordering boulevard (between your property line and the back of the sidewalk).