Strathcona County maintains ditches to ensure safe road travel for all road users, allow proper drainage and prevent flooding. 

Roadside maintenance also provides space for winter snow storage, supports construction and overhead utility maintenance activities, and prevents debris on the road after severe weather events. 

County workers clearing brush from the ditch

Brushing for a clear right-of-way 

Brushing involves removing trees and brush in the right-of-way to minimum width of 18 metres (including the road).  

This can include tree removal, tree pruning and mulching, which uses a machine to shred trees and brush into mulch chips that are left to naturally decompose in the ditch over time. These activities are most active from November to March, but may occur at any time of year. 

Before and after images showing a stretch of road with trees overgrowing the road and then trimmed away

Picture above: Mulching changes the appearance of the ditch at first. Typically, these areas re-establish grass within the year, and the appearance improves by mid-summer the following year.

The County will only mulch trees and brush within our right-of-way and will not remove or mulch trees on private land. 


Notice to residents 

When brushing activities are underway, construction signs will be placed on the roadway. Notices are delivered to residences if the work will substantially reduce tree coverage or privacy of a property, or impacts an ornamental trees. 

The County also works with our right-of-way partners, such as power line operators, and gives them permission to remove trees and brush within the road right-of-way that may impact the safety of their lines. 


Ornamental tree planting on private property 

To prevent ornamental tree removals in front of your property, please ensure that any tree planting is safely within private property and do not plant trees or large shrubs close to overhead utility lines. 

Ornamental trees within the road right-of-way will be removed when the trees are within two metres of a County-owned culvert, under utility lines, on the downslope of the road, or within the 18-metre clear zone.  


Do not cut trees in the ditch

Residents are not permitted to cut trees in the ditch in front of their property. The ditch is a right-of-way owned by Strathcona County and it’s not safe to fell trees close to the road surface. 


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Last updated: Thursday, June 06, 2024
Page ID: 38325