Have you received one of these letters? They can be scary and confusing. Clients often call us in a panic, worried about tight deadlines, stiff penalties and unclear instructions. But never fear! We have dealt with these letters countless times and can help you. 

Why have you received this letter?

You have received this letter because a Bylaw Officer has noticed risk factors in your tree and is forcing you to deal with them. These risk factors could be a dead tree, cracked limbs, precarious branches, or a number of other issues. 

How do you respond to the letter?

Clients often get lost in the pages of legalese and don’t know how to respond to these letters. The most important part of these letters is at the very bottom, under “Action Required”. 

This section specifies the tree(s) at issue and the next steps you are required to take. These letters are issued by bylaw officers, not arborists, so they aren’t necessarily stating a firm opinion on how dangerous the tree is or even how to address the danger. Rather, the letter is compelling you to seek expert advice from a certified arborist.

Call a certified arborist right away. The certified arborist will assess the tree and provide recommendations, which you must follow. If the arborist recommends removal, you must remove the tree. If the arborist recommends trimming and/or cabling, you must trim and/or cable the tree. 

How do you know if an arborist is certified?

Most bylaw orders require you to hire a certified arborist, so you can’t just hire any guy with a chainsaw. You can check whether or not an arborist is really certified on the ISA’s website. Here, you can look up the arborist’s name or certification number (which they are required to provide). Verifying the credential of any arborist you want to hire ensures that they will be able to satisfy the requirements of the bylaw order. 

How do you know you’re out of trouble?

Once the arborist’s recommendations have been carried out, notify the Bylaw Officer who issued the letter and they will be able to close the matter. No more scary tree or scary letter!