A tree that grows on a property boundary (a “boundary tree”) is now considered the property of both neighbours, even if only one of the neighbours originally purchased it and planted it. A boundary tree is one whose trunk is growing on the boundary between adjoining lands. The definition of “trunk” means “the entire trunk from its point of growth away from its roots up to its top where it branches out to limbs and foliage. It is not only the arbitrary point at which the trunk emerges from the soil that governs” (Hartley v. Scharper). Under Section 10(3) of the Ontario Forestry Act, it is an offence to injure or destroy a tree growing on the boundary between adjoining lands without the consent of both landowners. On conviction, an offender can receive a fine of up to $20,000 and three months in jail. Most municipalities have bylaws requiring property owners to obtain permits if they want to remove trees on private property. The City of Brampton’s bylaw provides for certain exemptions from this requirement, such as the removal of “hazardous trees” or “trees located within two metres of an occupied building.” However, a property owner who wants to remove a tree that is overgrown or no longer aesthetically pleasing will have to submit a report from a qualified arborist to demonstrate that the “injuring of the tree” is justified, with details about how the tree will be removed and what mitigation measures will be taken, including the planting of a replacement tree to the City’s satisfaction. The City of Brampton also requires the written consent of the adjoining property owner if the tree is a boundary tree. A person convicted of any offence under the City of Brampton’s by-law is liable for a fine of up to $100,000. Even if a permit is obtained from the municipality, if the tree is a boundary tree, property owners must still obtain their neighbours’ consent to destroy the tree. If the boundary tree is decayed so that a municipal removal permit may not be required, the consent of the adjoining owner must still be obtained before removal of the tree or civil liability may arise. Shared ownership of a boundary tree may also mean shared financial obligations for its maintenance or removal.