Urban Forestry

Trees lining a street of shops in the Hydrostone

Our urban forest includes all trees – from a single maple in a planter, to carefully tended pines in a residential yard, to islands of native forest amidst urban development. Their natural diversity and interconnectedness with human activities and the built environment make urban forests both complex and dynamic.

Trees in the municipality offer a wide array of benefits. They contribute to improved air quality, storm-water reduction, temperature management, and so much more. Maintenance is important for the health of the trees – and municipal crews and external contractors work hard to expand and maintain the health of our urban canopy. Explore our municipal urban forestry programs below, and further urban forestry related content in the side menu. To learn more about what makes Halifax's urban forest unique, check out halifaxtreeproject.ca

 

 

Winter Cyclical Pruning Program
  • The cyclical pruning program is based on best management practices for tree care, and takes place on a 7 year cycle.
  • This maintains crown health, achieves clearance specifications over roads, sidewalks and in proximity to signs, and “trains” trees to grow around overhead power infrastructure.
  • Tree health and structure is assessed on a case-by-case basis, and trees are only removed if deemed necessary to do so. If a tree is removed, a stump removal work order is automatically generated so that a new tree can eventually be planted in its place.
  • This proactive approach to maintaining our urban forest prolongs the health of street trees, dramatically reduces tree hazards, and is less resource intensive than a reactionary approach to maintaining trees individually. This is proven by locally conducted research (see infographic at the end of this web page).
General Maintenance of the Urban Canopy
  • When a 311 request is made pertaining to a municipal tree, each service request is inspected, prioritized accordingly, and dispatched to a crew for the work to be completed.
  • From large tree removals to dealing with broken/hanging/fallen limbs, chipping, stump grinding, as well as inspections and assessments, our team of dedicated arborists are always ready to respond to the needs of the urban forest and the needs of those who enjoy it.
  • The general maintenance program is ongoing and differs from the cyclical pruning program in that work orders are largely generated based on service requests from the public.
  • Residents may call 311 to request street tree work within the municipal service boundary.
Tree Planting
  • In 2021, the municipality planted 3,100 trees across the Halifax region. This planting program is endorsed by Council and guided by the Urban Forest Master Plan (see file attachment at the end of this web page).
  • Benefits of tree planting are significant, and a study conducted by Dalhousie University identified that for every dollar spend on tree planting, the residents of our municipality see over 7 dollars in benefits returned.
  • After a newly planted tree’s two-year warranty, it is placed on the cyclical pruning program for proactive maintenance.
  • The selection of planting locations is based on a combination of citizen requests and neighborhoods prioritized in the Urban Forest Master Plan.
  • To request that a tree be planted on city property, please call 311.
Tree Inventory
  • Thus far, tree inventory data has been collected for districts 7, 8, 9, and 10. Data will be collected for Districts 5 & 6 this year (2022).
  • The goal is to have all urban street trees within the municipality captured on this inventory.
  • A comprehensive inventory provides important information for the planning, design, planting and maintenance of municipal trees.
  • Tree inventory data can be explored in the municipality's open data catalogue.
Stump Removal
  • In 2021, HRM removed a total of 745 stumps on city property.
  • When a tree needs to be removed, a stump removal work order is automatically generated thus creating more plantable space across the municipality.
  • In many parts of HRM, this sequence of operations offers an important opportunity to increase both age class and species diversity.
  • If you see that a stump has been ground out in front of your property and a pile of debris remains, don’t fret! Our contractor will be back to remove the debris, level out the ground, and install new sod.
  • To request that a stump be removed, please call 311.
Dalhousie University Research & Monitoring
  • Each year, the municipality partners with Dalhousie University to conduct important research pertaining to our urban forest.
  • Research topics have included (but have not been limited to): 5-year assessment of street tree survival and growth, survey of plantable space in HRM streets, analysis of the implications of hemlock woolly adelgid in HRM’s urban forest, assessment of the effectiveness of the cyclical pruning program, inventory of newly planted caliper trees and mechanical damage assessment of caliper trees.
  • Research results feed into urban forestry operations to maximize success and efficiency of programming. 
  • The very popular text-a-tree project was also run under this program!

 

 

 

How the cyclical pruning program improves service delivery and public safety infographic

 

 

Tree of All Trades