Trees on public land

Report an issue about our trees

Existing trees and trees we plant are vital to our urban landscape.  They improve urban aesthetics, climate, economy, environment, biodiversity and the social wellbeing of our community.

Reporting non-urgent issues

You can report or request tree removal, tree pruning, tree root damage or other non-urgent issues about any of our trees by calling us on 02 9839 6000 between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm.  Alternatively, you can complete the form below:

Reporting urgent issues

You can report fallen trees or branches, or other urgent/emergency issues about any of our trees by calling us on 02 9839 6000, 24 hours, 7 days a week. Phone calls after 5.30 pm will be redirected to our after-hours system.

Reports of fallen trees or branches requiring emergency work on private land should be reported to the SES on 132 500

Apply to remove a street tree for a driveway 

Applications for the removal of the street tree must be made by completing a Residential Vehicle crossing application.  In section 1.1 of the form indicate you require the removal of a street tree for the purposes of installing a new driveway.  This ensures we have the correct information, including a site plan, on the location of the proposed driveway/vehicle crossing and subject tree(s).

Removal of one of our trees will, however, only be considered as an absolute last resort.

Fees also apply. 

If we approve removal of the tree(s)

If approved, the applicant must arrange and pay for removal of the tree(s).  Removal must be done by a suitably qualified arborist, who holds a minimum $10 million public liability insurance policy.

Any removal must be offset by a new tree planting.  If following the driveway works, there is insufficient space on the road verge to accommodate street tree planting, we will agree on an alternative offset planting location.

A replacement tree fee of $330.00 (GST inclusive) will be charged to the applicant. We will supply and plant the new tree(s).

Removal of a tree without approval

Removal of a street tree without our approval will be deemed as a breach of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and fines may apply. See ‘How we deal with unauthorised tree removals or pruning’ in the Trees on private land section of our website.

Apply to modify a nature strip

Applications to modify a nature strip must be made by completing our form. There is no fee required for this application.

Applicants must review our Vegetated Road Verge and Nature Strip Maintenance Approval Policy which sets out the criteria we use in assessing these requests.   It also clarifies the process where the community is seeking assistance for on the ongoing maintenance of their nature strips.

Modifications may include converting traditional grass verges to low growing shrub gardens or in some cases synthetic grass. 

If we approve a change to the nature strip

In these instances, maintenance of these converted verges and gardens would be the responsibility of the resident and would need to meet strict criteria for their installation and ongoing upkeep.

With residential, commercial and business owners and government landowners, we are committed to establishing and promoting high quality streetscapes that improve the amenity of our roads and streets. We also facilitate safe pedestrian and vehicle movement that reflects its local character and engenders a sense of community pride.

Request tree planting 

To request the planting of a street tree(s) contact us on 02 9839 6000 8.30 am to 5.30 pm Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays and weekends.

We plant trees in a number of areas including:

  • streets

  • bushland and green web corridors

  • town centres

  • parks and reserves

  • around our buildings.

The type and number of trees selected is determined on site by our Tree Management Officer after considering the location of services, vehicle sight distances, property width, corner block, potential growth dimensions.

Information on when we will prune or remove trees

We are responsible for the pruning and removal of trees and other vegetation on our land, including nature strips along local roads.  Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) is responsible for areas along State roads.  We do not complete any tree work on private land.

Pruning work on all our trees is restricted to the reduction and elimination of hazards.  Pruning work can only be done by our employees or representatives and will be in line with approved, professionally accepted arboriculture practices such as AS4373-2007 Pruning of Amenity Trees.

Removal of trees is potentially the greatest cause of conflict in the management of our City’s trees. Unfortunately, it sometimes becomes necessary to remove trees based on risk management principles.

Our delegated officers who are qualified in arboriculture and/or horticulture use the assessment criteria outlined in our draft Urban Forest Strategy to determine if the removal of the tree is necessary. The removal of a tree is only recommended when all other avenues for the tree’s retention have been investigated.

We will prune or remove trees to:

  • improve pedestrian and vehicular access

  • remove deadwood and defective branches remove branches obscuring street lighting or signage, or interfering with adjoining buildings or structures

  • guide the growth shape (formative prune)

  • to prevent further damage, where practicable, by tree roots to built structures that have been appropriately engineered in the first place (root prune)

  • remove hazardous trees.

We will not prune or remove trees to:

  • improve or allow a view

  • allow solar access or for solar panel installation clearance

  • reduce leaf, bark, fruit fall, sap or bird droppings

  • reduce release of pollen, i.e. allergies or asthma

  • deter insects or animals including bees and possums

  • top, lop or damage a tree in a way that contradicts the pruning prevent sewer pipe or stormwater blockages.  Homeowners remain responsible for care and upkeep of their underground services.

Our Register of significant trees and vegetation

We have maintained a Register of significant trees and vegetation that are known to enhance our City's rich environmental and cultural heritage since 1985.

Our Register works in conjunction with State and Commonwealth legislation and existing planning controls to conserve trees and vegetation of heritage value.

The Register includes a management framework that enables everyone to identify, conserve and manage significant trees and vegetation in the long term and for the benefit of future generations.