Trees on your property
Trees are a big part of the Ku-ring-gai that we know and love. We are here to help you look after your trees, plus give you advice on pruning and removing trees.
Do you have trees, shrubs or bushland on your property? Ku-ring-gai is renowned for its tree-lined streets. This is a key part of our urban forest and needs to be nurtured. Find out what you need to know about managing trees on private property here.
Pruning and removing trees on private property
Trees and vegetation are protected under legislation. The State Environmental Planning Policy (Biodiversity and Conservation) 2021 requires tree removal or pruning to be administered by a permit process through a Development Control Plan (DCP).
Council's Tree and Vegetation DCP (Part 13) sets out when Council permission is required for pruning or removing a tree and when exemptions apply. Tree and Vegetation DCP Part 13(PDF, 306KB) .
No exemptions apply to trees and vegetation on properties mapped within a threatened ecological community as they are protected under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act and/or the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Approval is required for pruning or removal of trees and vegetation through the NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment (DPIE). To obtain approval, submit a tree application form to Council who will inspect and assess your tree and advise you if you are required to obtain a Threatened Species Licence from the NSW DPIE. Please note- the threatened species Licence application cannot be submitted to DPIE without submitting a tree application to Council first.
A Tree Application form must be completed and submitted to Council for all works on trees or vegetation where an exemption does not apply. This includes all Heritage Item properties, all properties mapped in a Heritage Conservation Area and threatened species community.
Dead Trees are not exempt. Council's DCP requires that prior to any work on dead trees, Council has advised the applicant of its satisfaction that the tree is dead and is not required as the habitat of native fauna. Email Council to enquire about dead tree removal at your property. Submit photos and your property address.
Check for Threatened Species Community or Heritage Item/Heritage Conservation Area on your property
Using our maps you can check if your property is mapped within a Threatened Species Community called Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest (STIF), Blue Gum High Forest (BGHF) or Duffy's Forest (DF). You can also check if your property is a Heritage Item or located in a Heritage Conservation Area (HCA).
Step 1 - Use Council's online map viewer to search the property address. (as you type, the address will pre-fill). Select the correct address from the dropdown list.
Step 2 - Check Heritage Item & Heritage Conservation Area using the Heritage map
Click on 'Maps' to the right of entered address and scroll down and select 'Heritage'. This will add heritage layers to the map and will show heritage results in the left hand column underneath the property address. A heritage item property is shown in brown and Heritage Conservation Area is shown as a red stripe.
Step 3 - Check Threatened Species Community using the Vegetation map
Click on 'Maps' to the right of entered address and scroll down and select 'Vegetation', this will add the vegetation layer to the map and will show a list of vegetation names in the key in the left hand column underneath the property address. Blue Gum High Forest Community is shown in blue and Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest is marked in an orange/brown and Duffy's Forest is shown in yellow.
Please note - if a Threatened Species Community (Blue Gum High Forest, Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest or Duffy's Forest), is mapped on your property, exemptions do not apply to tree works on the property and a Tree Application is required to be submitted for all tree and vegetation removal and pruning, including dead trees. The layer shown on the map applies to the whole property, not just the area shaded on the map.
To obtain Council permission before pruning or removing a tree, you will need to submit a Tree Application Form(PDF, 212KB)
A tree application form MUST be submitted for trees and vegetation:
- On a Heritage Item property.
- On a property mapped in a Heritage Conservation Area.
- On a property mapped within a Threatened Species community (Blue Gum High Forest, Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest or Duffy's Forest). No exemptions apply for tree works on these properties.
- for all works on trees or vegetation where an exemption does not apply.
Tree Assessment Guidelines to Prune or Remove Trees on Private Property and Council Managed Land
Council will consider your application against the tree assessment guidelines. Council’s Urban Forest Policy and Assessment Guidelines require tree work decisions to have a focus on retaining and protecting trees unless there is strong justification for removal. It is important that applicants read the Assessment Guidelines that detail criteria that is not considered justification for pruning and removal prior to finalising the decision to lodge a Tree Application Form.
View guidelines in English(PDF, 78KB)
View guidelines in Traditional Chinese(PDF, 619KB)
View guidelines in Simplified Chinese(PDF, 677KB)
View guidelines in Korean(PDF, 650KB)
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 the Council’s Duty Planner.
Contact us for more information on trees and development
Finding a consulting arborist or tree contractor
If you need advice on your trees, contact a Consulting Arborist that is a member of the Institute of Australian Consulting Arboriculturists (IACA). The consulting arborist will inspect the tree and provide advice on the health of your trees. A consulting arborist can undertake a ground based visual inspection of the tree or use diagnostic testing to provide you with a report detailing management options.
To ensure the Arborist Report is accepted by Council and considered as part of your Tree Application assessment, the report must be compiled in accordance with Councils Guidelines for Preparation of Arborist Reports(PDF, 92KB). Ensure you provide a copy of the Guidelines document to the consulting Arborist.
Contact a professional Tree Work Contractor who is a member of the Tree Contractors Association to ensure a fully qualified and insured tree contractor undertakes works on your tree.
Before engaging a Tree Contractor to undertake works please read the Advice on Choosing a Tree Contractor(PDF, 82KB) and advice from Safe Work NSW on engaging a professional Tree Contractor(PDF, 341KB).
Tree Frequently Asked Questions
Your questions answered
Urban Forest Policy(PDF, 657KB)
Guidelines for Preparation of Arborist Reports(PDF, 92KB)
Tree Replacement Planting Tree Species List - Tree Applications(PDF, 311KB)