Trees on private properties
Pruning and removing trees on private properties
In most cases, you need to lodge an application with Council before pruning or removing a NSW native tree or Norfolk Island Pine from any private property in Lake Macquarie.
How to tell if the tree is native
It is the property owner's responsibility to ensure the trees are either non-native or otherwise exempt from requiring consent prior to removal or pruning.
Council does not provide a species identification service and will only identify the species after an application is received.
Some suggestions to identify tree species prior to lodging your application are listed below:
- A reputable tree service operator may be able to identify the species, provide advice on whether Council consent is required for pruning or removal, and provide a quote for the required works.
- A consulting arborist or horticulturist can identify the species and complete a health and hazard assessment of the tree.
- Take a sample (eg leaves and fruit/seed/nut) to a local nursery for identification.
Applying to prune or remove a tree
You need to lodge the Application to Prune or Remove a Tree with Council to gain approval for the work. We also recommend you read our Tree Preservation Guideline to learn about the general information usually to be submitted with the application.
Applications can be submitted in person at our Administration Building at 126-138 Main Road, Speers Point, from Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm.
After your application is submitted, we will carry out an inspection of the tree to determine if it is necessary and appropriate to remove or prune the tree.
You will be required to pay a tree preservation application fee during the lodgement process.
Just as if you were submitting the application form by email or in person, you will need to provide us with a site diagram during the lodgement process. Have the diagram ready to be sent as an attachment or use the system to generate one for you.
When a tree can be removed or pruned without Council's approval
You won't need Council's approval for the following:
- Single native shrubs less than three metres in height, as long as it's not a heritage item in a conservation area or listed on our Significant Tree Register.
- Any tree that is confirmed dead by an AQF Level 3 Arborist and it is not hollow, bearing or providing habitat for native fauna - you need to retain photographic evidence that the tree was dead for future reference in case we are required to investigate the tree's removal.
- Tree works and clearing that have been approved as part of a development consent.
- If the tree trunk, measured at 1.4 metres in height, is located within five metres of the outermost projection of an approved building or structure on the same property. Approved buildings don't include exempt or complying development.
- The tree is dangerous, where the instability is obvious and is independently confirmed by an AQF Level 5 Arborist. Council is to be satisfied before undertaking works.
Trees blocking drain or sewer pipes
If a tree on your property is blocking drain or sewer pipes, you may still need Council's approval to remove or prune it. Also, when the tree is on a neighbouring property and the neighbour agrees to have it pruned or removed, you may still need Council's approval.
If a tree on the neighbouring property is causing blockage to a drain or sewer pipe on your property, and the owner of the tree does not agree to its removal, you are entitled to prune the tree roots up to the property boundary. The pruning must not exceed 10% of the root structure. A root barrier may then be installed. The work should be carried out by a qualified arborist.
Enquiries and advice about pruning or removing trees
For advice about pruning or removing trees on private properties, call us on 02 4921 0333.
Page last updated: 17 February 2017