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Trees and Storms

With winter storm season approaching it is always a good idea to have trees inspected to ensure that their structure or stability has not been compromised. If you are concerned about a park or boulevard tree please contact the Parks office by email or by phone 250-475-5522 and request a call for service. If the tree is a private bylaw-protected tree you can apply for a tree permit online or call Saanich Parks at 475-5522. Please refer to the Tree Protection Bylaw, 2014, No. 9272 to determine if your private tree requires any permits or authorization before removal.

You can also call one of the many private tree companies to get information. However, make sure the individual that evaluates your tree is qualified to do so. We recommend ISA Arborist Certification or other recognized certifications such as a BC Certified Tree Risk Assessor.

Tree Damage Considerations

Homeowners should consider several tips when their property is affected by a storm:

  • Contacting your homeowner's insurance company is probably one of the first tasks a person should do. Take photos of the storm damage and document what property structures were affected for insurance purposes.
  • Think safety before pruning or removing trees. If you need a ladder or a chain saw you should contact an arborist. Homeowners should consider hiring a reputable, certified and credible tree care professional or arborist who has the equipment and skill to do the clean up. To locate an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) in your area.
  • Whose tree is it? Public or private? Is it a protected tree under Saanich's Tree Preservation Bylaw?
  • Other than the obvious damage, is the tree generally healthy? Trees have amazing recovery capacity, so if it has not experienced major structural damage, it will probably recover.
  • Are major limbs or the main leader broken? The larger or more important the limb, the harder it will be for the tree to recover.
  • Is at least half of the tree undamaged? A tree with less than 50% of its foliage remaining may not be able to sustain itself in the future.
  • How large are the wounds? The larger the wound, the less likely the tree can recover and be structurally sound. Very large wounds invite insect infestations and decay.
  • Are there any downed lines? Be aware of any power lines or hanging limbs. Extreme care must be taken around trees and limbs that may have become entangled in utility lines during a storm or other event.  When in contact with live utility wires, trees carry electricity and are potentially very dangerous.  For safety’s sake, call 1-888-POWERON (1-888-769-3766) if you believe that any part of your trees may be in contact with utility lines.  Please refer to BC Hydro's Electrical Safety page at
  • Don't stand under trees that have broken branches that look like they're ready to fall. If the work is high in the tree, or involves large branches, it's a job for a professional arborist.
Last modified: July 16, 2014