Tree pruning and removal

There are different rules in Moreland around the pruning and removal of a tree that is on Council property, and one that is on private property.

Unauthorised pruning, removal, or suspected poisoning or vandalism of a tree planted on public property is an illegal act, and offenders will be fined under the Council local laws.

If you have concerns about a tree you can report an urgent issue, such as a fallen or hanging branch which is dangerous, by contacting Council on 9240 1111 (24 hours).

 

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Removal or pruning of a tree on private property

We encourage residents to retain trees on private property, and to replace trees which are removed.

 

Planning to prune or remove a tree on private property?

If you are planning on pruning or removing a tree on private property, you may need to apply for a Tree Works permit. This depends on whether the tree is considered to be mature.

Visit our Tree Works permit page for more information on how to apply for this permit.

 

Mature trees

Trees that are mature cannot be pruned or removed from private property without applying for a permit and gaining Council permission. If your tree is not mature according to council definitions, you do not need a permit to prune or remove your tree from private property.

If you want to prune or remove a mature tree on private property in Moreland, you must first obtain a Tree Works permit from Council.

 

Determining whether your tree is mature

You can use the table below to find out whether the tree you are looking at pruning or removing is considered to be a mature tree, and therefore cannot be removed without a permit.

Tree Definition
Mature tree A tree on private property which is greater than 8 metres in height and has a trunk diameter greater than 40 centimetres (measured 1.2 metres from the ground).

 

If you are looking to prune more than 15 per cent of the canopy of a mature tree, or remove a mature tree, you will need a Tree Works permit.

A Mature tree is a tree on private property which is greater than 8 metres in height and has a trunk diameter greater than 40 centimetres (measured 1.2 metres from the ground).

Trees protected by a planning permit or an overlay

If a tree on your property is protected through the provisions of a planning permit or an overlay in the Moreland Planning Scheme, you need Council permission before undertaking any works.

See Tree Works permit for further information.

 

Unauthorised removal of a tree

Unauthorised tree removal or suspected poisoning or vandalism of trees is a serious issue and vigilantly investigated by Council.

Offenders are fined under the Council local laws.

 

Removing a tree on public property

Unauthorised tree removal or suspected poisoning or vandalism of public trees is a serious issue and vigilantly investigated by Council. The fine includes the tree valuation, removal of the tree, if required, tree replacement and maintenance for the initial establishment period.

Preserving existing trees is of prime importance to Council and practical techniques are used to maintain the health of trees in streets, on nature strips, and in open space.

The table below indicates situations where the Council will consider removing a tree, and situations where the Council will not remove a tree.

Reasons Council will consider removing a tree Reasons Council will not consider removing a tree
  • If the tree is diseased or dying and there are no remedies to save the tree.
  • If the tree is a safety hazard to the public.
  • If the tree has been planted by a resident and doesn't meet Council guidelines.
  • If the ongoing remedial works required due to damage by a tree are too costly.
  • If Council approved the tree’s removal as part of a streetscape plan or works program.
  • If a different tree is required in the streetscape after powerlines are changed.
  • If a tree is indicated in a property development plan - to Council's required format and standard - and is approved by Council, provided the developer meets the cost of tree valuation, removal and replacement, or;
  • If the tree is causing damage to property or public utilities, and the cost of ongoing remedial works becomes uneconomical, i.e. the cost of the perceived ongoing repairs outweighs the value of the tree and there is no reasonable alternative to solve the problem.
  • Falling leaves, bark, gum nut or flower debris
  • To provide vistas
  • The tree is growing over a property, blocking light, shading lawn or a pool
  • The tree is considered too big or too old
  • A perceived danger that a tree may fall in a storm or has dropped a limb
  • Resident would like an alternative species of tree
  • Droppings by a bird, bat, possum or other wildlife living in the tree
  • Insect issues, such as spiders, bees or ants in the tree
  • Solar access for solar panels
  • The tree shades the nature strip or resident’s garden, or;
  • Surface root growth restricts mowing heights.

 

In the case of allergies being put forward as a reason to remove a tree, medically-verified allergy testing results need to be provided to Council before a request to remove a tree for this reason will be considered.

For blocked pipes and drains, see stormwater drains for information about responsibilities and the reporting process.

For property damage by tree root, see injury or property damage reporting process.

 

How to request tree removal from public property

To report an urgent issue, such as a fallen or hanging branch which is dangerous, contact Council by phone on 9240 1111 (24 hours).

If the reason you are requesting removal of a tree is one of the circumstances Council will consider, request removal of a tree through the Council website. Upload a photo of the tree to help us respond to your request. Alternatively, you can contact Council.

After you have reported the issue, a Council arborist may assess the tree or branch. Council notifies you of the outcome if requested.

 

Removal of a Council tree as part of a property development plan

On occasion, a property development proposal may include removal of a street tree. If this is the case, you must indicate this in the property development plan when applying for a planning permit.

If you neglect to advise Council of a street tree you are proposing to remove by including it in the development plan, you will need to submit a revised planning permit application.

When designing a development plan, you should always consider alternatives that do not require removal of existing street trees.

If Council approves the removal of a Council tree as part of a property development plan, the developer must pay for the cost of tree valuation which includes an amenity value, tree removal and replacement as part of the conditions of permit.

Council calculates the amenity value of council trees using a system developed by the City of Melbourne. The calculated amenity value is a factor of the base value (PDF 349Kb) from trunk diameter, species, aesthetic, location and condition. The calculated amenity value can range from a fraction of the base value to many times the base value.

Council is vigilant about protecting trees in areas where development occurs. Council always enforces protection orders and ensures compliance with conditions of a planning permit.