Do I need approval to trim or cut down a tree on my property?

Council's planning policies (Part O - Tree Management Development Control Plan) prohibits:

  • Cutting down, removing, injuring or poisoning any part of a tree above or below ground, having a height greater than four (4.0) metres or a girth greater than half (0.5) metre measured at a point one (1.0) metres above ground level, except by written consent of the Council.
  • Undertaking works within 5 metres from the base of a tree
  • Failing to plant, protect or care for a tree which is required to be planted, protected or cared for as a condition of consent.  

Council consent is not required for removal of the following trees - Ficus elastica (Rubber Tree), Privet (large and small leaf), Umbrella Trees, Rhus Trees and commercial fruit tree varieties. Additionally the pruning of deadwood in any trees  does not require Council consent.  Please visit the Trees section of this website for further information.

Dead or dying trees will need to be assessed by Council staff for retention value as suitable habitat trees. Many trees are also deciduous (periodically lose their foliage) and as such an inspection is required to ascertain if the trees are in a dormant state or are in fact dead.

Property owners or their agent can make application to Council for removal of a tree by completing an Tree Removal Development Application form.

Property owners or their agent can make application to Council for pruning of a tree by completing a Tree Pruning Permit Application form.

In the case of multi-unit dwellings, consent of the strata management must be obtained prior to making an application to Council to remove the tree. Owners must notify their neighbours of any proposed tree removal or pruning prior to commencement of work.  If the tree is on your neighbour's property you must address the matter initially with the property owner where the tree is located. As the owner of the subject property, your neighbour will be required to make the application for trimming or removal of the tree. Council cannot force a neighbour to prune or remove a tree as this is considered a civil matter and is better dealt with through consultation between neighbours. Neighbours in dispute are encouraged to contact the Community Justice Centre. Please visit the Trees section of this website for further information.

If I trim a tree, can Council remove the cuttings/branches?

Council will not pick up cutting or fallen branches from private trees unless booked as a green Waste Pick up Service.

You should cut up the cuttings/branches and place them in your garden vegetation bin (if they are no more than 1 metre long and less than 150mm in diameter) or bundle them and dispose them in Council’s Green Waste clean-up collection. Please visit the Recycling and Waste Services section of this website for further information.

How can I find out who owns the property next door so I can arrange an application to remove a tree?

Requests for information regarding owners of neighbouring properties must be made in writing to Council stating the reasons for the request and the intended use of the information.  Council will consider your request under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act (NSW) 1998.  For further information, contact Council's Customer Service Centre or Council's Privacy Contact Officer on 9748 9999

There is a tree overhanging on my property, can I have it pruned?

Each property/tree owner is responsible for pruning of overhanging branches if the trunk of the tree or the offending bush is within their property. If you wish to report overhanging branches or overgrown property please contact Council’s Customer Service Centre on 9748 9999. Please note that Council consent is required for removal of branches of trees protected by Council's Tree Management Planning policies. 

Can I prune or have the tree on the nature strip at the front of my property removed?

Nature strips are part of the road reserve and are public land.

Only Council or its contractors or agents can prune, plant or remove trees on your nature strip.  Council generally does not prune or remove nature strip trees unless they are unsafe or diseased.

Do I need approval to do works on the nature strip at the front of my property?

Yes. Nature strips are public land and can contain essential services such as sewerage, water pipes, telephone, power and gas. You must obtain permission from Council to undertake any works (except mowing) on the driveway, footpaths and nature strips outside your property. This includes driveway modifications, storage of materials such as skips bins and pruning, planting or replacing trees on your nature strip. Where building work is proposed, owners and/or applicants are responsible for ensuring that the street tree and grassed nature strip are protected during construction.

What can be done about people burning off tree branches and leaves in their backyard?

Backyard burning including burning of vegetation and domestic waste and the use of incinerators is prohibited in the Strathfield Local Government Area and is subject to on-the-spot fines.  To report backyard burning please contact Council’s Customer Service Centre immediately on 9748 9999 and give an exact address.

Does Council provide free trees to residents/ratepayers?

No, however Council does provide street tree plantings on request if the nature strip in front of your property is currently vacant.