Tree pruning program

the words "tree pruning, preserving the health and safety of our urban forest" over an image of a street lined with trees and parked cars.

The 2023/2024 cyclical pruning program is now underway. Please see below documents for pruning locations. Details about the program can be found below. 



HRM's cyclical pruning program is based on best management practices for tree care, and takes place on a 7 year cycle.

This proactive style of pruning: 

1) Maintains crown health thus prolonging the lifespan of urban trees,

2) Achieves clearance specifications over roads, sidewalks, and in proximity to signs,

3) “Trains” trees to grow around overhead power infrastructure as part of HRM's vegetation management agreement with Nova Scotia Power,

4) Dramatically reduces tree hazards, 

5) Buffers against storm damage, and

6) Is less resource intensive than a reactionary approach to maintaining trees individually (proven by locally conducted research at Dalhousie University, see infographic below).

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.

Pruning primarily takes place during winter for a number of reasons. It's easier to assess trees during winter and spot dead, diseased and structurally compromised limbs when leaves aren't present. Additionally, the trees are dormant (not actively growing) during the winter, so this is an ideal time for pruning from a biological perspective. Lastly, winter pruning avoids bird nesting season. While we still prune during the summer months, this is mostly limited to high priority and emergency work. 

Residents may report a municipally owned tree of concern by emailing or calling 311.

HRM-Dalhousie Research on cyclical pruning