Trees

trees  

The protection guidelines below seek to ensure Ku-ring-gai's tree and vegetation resources are managed sustainably, threatened species and ecological communities are protected and Ku-ring-gai's leafy character is maintained.

What trees or vegetation works do not require approval?

The following seven (7) exemptions may not require an application for a permit for tree and vegetation works from Council. These exemptions do not apply to properties located in Heritage Conservation Areas, on a Heritage Item or where the tree or vegetation includes threatened species or forms part of an Ecological Endangered Community under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

Tree branches directly over roof lines

  1. Removal of tree branches which directly overhang the roof of a residence or commercial building, if pruned back to the nearest branch junction or collar to clear the roofline;
  2. detached garages, carports and ancillary buildings are not included in this exemption.

Note: Pruning must be consistent with the Australian Standard for Pruning of Amenity Trees (AS4373-2007) and must not result in a detrimental impact to the future health or stability of the tree or compromise the form of the tree.

Trees and other vegetation within 3m of an existing dwelling

  1. Trees and other vegetation within 3m of any existing dwelling are exempt. The 3m distance is measured from the centre of the trunk of the tree / base of the plant at ground level to the external wall of the dwelling. Provided the owner of the land on which the trunk of the tree is located is in agreement and gives consent prior to the tree works.
  2. Trees and other vegetation within 3m of verandahs, carports, detached garages, and ancillary buildings, cantilevered and pier supported structures such as balconies and decks are excluded from this exemption. 

Note: Trees (Disputes between Neighbours) Act 2006 may apply.

Removal of tree branches near electrical wires

Removal of branches within 0.5m of electrical service lines to properties. This exemption applies to tree branches only, not tree trunks. 

Minor pruning

Pruning of trees and other vegetation provided:

  • branches pruned, are not more than 50mm in diameter; and
  • roots pruned are not more than 50mm in diameter.

Note: Pruning must be consistent with the Australian Standard for Pruning of Amenity Trees (AS 4373-2007)

Removal of dead wood

Completely dead branches attached to tree(s) and other vegetation within the property may be removed.

Note: Pruning must be consistent with the Australian Standard for Pruning of Amenity Trees (AS 4373-2007)

Removal of dead or dying trees and other vegetation

Removal of completely dead or dying trees and other vegetation provided that prior to any work being carried out:

  • that Council has advised the applicant in writing of its satisfaction that the subject tree(s) or other vegetation is dead or are dying and is not required as the habitat of native fauna.

Removal of risk to human life or property

The removal of tree(s) which is structurally unsound and or unstable, which displays a high degree of hazard, provided that prior to any work being carried out:

  • that Council has advised the applicant in writing of its satisfaction that the subject tree(s) is posing an imminent risk to human life or property.

Note: an arborist’s report and testing may be required for significant trees.

Removing or pruning trees on private property

A Tree Application Form is required to be completed and submitted to Council for all works on trees or other vegetation where an exemption does not apply. 

The following documents provide further information on application for tree and vegetation works. The KLEP 2015 document below applies to most properties in Ku-ring-gai except where the property is located in a Local Centres area, where the KLEP KC 2012 will apply.

Find out which Plan covers my property

To obtain council permission prior to pruning or removing a tree submit an application to prune or remove trees on a private property (pdf. 244KB)

We will consider your application against the Tree Assessment Guidelines to Prune or Remove Trees on Private Property and Council Managed Land (pdf. 102KB)

A Tree Application Form must be submitted for trees growing on a Heritage Item or in a Heritage Conservation Area as no exemptions apply.  

10/50 vegetation clearing

The 10/50 vegetation clearing rule and Code of Practice has been developed by the NSW Rural Fire Service to permit landowners in certain areas to undertake vegetation clearing on their own land around residential accommodation and high risk facilities to reduce the risk of bush fire. Within these areas, the new laws override our tree protection guidelines (subject to compliance with the 10/50 Code of Practice).

Please note that some trees/vegetation are still protected regardless of the 10/50 vegetation clearing rule and Code of Practice including properties in a Heritage Conservation Area or a Heritage Item or where the tree or vegetation includes threatened species or forms part of an Ecological Endangered Community under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

Trees on Council managed land

Our tree teams look after public areas such as parks, sportsgrounds, bushland, golf courses and nature strips. We prune trees, collect fallen trees/branches and remove dead or dangerous trees/branches in accordance with Council's Tree Management Policy. However, general maintenance of nature strips, such as mowing the lawn is the responsibility of the resident whose property backs onto the nature strip.

If you are concerned with a tree on Council managed land, check the Tree Assessment Guidelines before finalising your decision to lodge a request for inspection of the tree. The Assessment Guidelines details works that Council will undertake and also does not consider justification for works on a tree on Council managed land.

Council trees requiring pruning on powerlines. Pruning of a Council tree growing close to or touching powerlines (street pole to street pole) is undertaken by Ausgrid. Contact Ausgrid on 13 13 65 or lodge an online request for Tree Trimming on the Ausgrid website.

Council tree pruning for clearance of the supply line to the dwelling from the property boundary to the point of attachment to the house is the responsibility of the property owner.

Council tree pruning for clearance of telecommunication lines (street pole to pole) is undertaken by Council. Call Council or email kmc@kmc.nsw.gov.au to request a Council tree inspection for pruning.

Contact us to request tree maintenance in a public area

Trees in properties under development

The Tree Application form is not the correct process to apply for tree works directly related to Development Applications or Complying Development. Please contact the Customer Service Centre to make an appointment with Council's Duty Planner.

Contact us for more information on trees and development

Tree disputes

Residents often contact Council to request assistance with concerns with trees located on a neighbouring property. Council suggests that you should express your concerns with the tree to your neighbour and request that the property owner take action to mitigate detrimental impacts to your property. The neighbouring property owner is required to obtain Council permission before undertaking works on the tree. If the neighbouring property owner does not undertake works on the tree you are advised that Council is not the appropriate authority to resolve this problem and you should seek mediation at a Community Justice Centre.

Should mediation not resolve the your concerns you should seek advice from the Land and Environment Court NSW.  Legislation titled Trees (Disputes between Neighbours) Act 2006 has been specifically created to enable the Land and Environment Court to adjudicate where a tree on an adjoining land might cause damage or injury to neighbours or to the neighbouring property. However the court cannot make an order unless it is satisfied you have made a reasonable effort to resolve the matter with the owner of the land on which the tree is situated.

For information on support that the NSW Land and Environment Court can provide for tree disputes between neighbours refer to the LEC website.

Trees (Disputes Between Neighbours) Act 2006 

Greenstyle Program

You can learn how to choose and look after native plants and receive gardening advice on what to plant and how to care for your garden.

Greenstyle Program

Related documents

Application to Prune or Remove Trees on Private Property (pdf. 244KB)

Tree Assessment Guidelines for Application to Prune or Remove Trees on Private Property and Council Managed Land (pdf. 102KB)

Tree Management Frequently Asked Questions (pdf. 135KB)

Advice on Choosing an Arborist (pdf. 30KB)

Relevant Legislation

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017 (Vegetation SEPP) prescribes that tree and vegetation clearing or pruning are to be processed using a permit system administered by Council through its Development Control Plan.

The Ku-ring-gai Development Control Plans (DCP) specify the guidelines for protecting trees and vegetation including when council permission is required for pruning or removing a tree and when exemptions to Council’s DCP apply.

Additionally, threatened species or components of threatened ecological communities are protected under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act) and/or the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and approval through the NSW Department of Environment & Heritage or the Australian Government Department of Environment and Energy may be required for clearing or pruning of these species and/or communities.