Tree FAQs

View the information below translated to Korean, traditional and simplified Chinese.

What is the tree application process?

Complete the tree application form(PDF, 213KB) and submit with the required fee.

You will receive a written confirmation that the application has been accepted. Council staff then inspect and assess the tree or trees and provide you with a written response.

How long are permits valid?

Permits are valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

Can I lodge a tree application online?

Not currently.

Applications can be lodged by returning the completed form, photos and attachments together with payment to:

In person: Customer Service Centre, 818 Pacific Highway Gordon


Post: Ku-ring-gai Council, Locked Bag 1006, Gordon NSW 2072.

Tree application form(PDF, 213KB)

I have concerns with a neighbour's tree - they won't take action

Disputes over trees can sometimes arise between neighbouring property owners. In such situations the first step is always to discuss the problem with the property owner.

Under NSW laws, Councils cannot intervene or resolve issues between neighbouring property owners regarding trees.  Disputes need to be resolved between the parties involved.

If an agreement can’t be reached, the next step is mediation at a Community Justice Centre.

If mediation is unsuccessful, you may consider taking court action. The Trees Act 2006 (Disputes between Neighbours) enables the NSW Land & Environment Court to adjudicate in cases where trees could cause damage or injury or cause excessive shading to a neighbouring property. Lodging an application to the Land and Environment Court does not require legal representation or a solicitor and the lodgement fee to the Court is minimal.

However, the Court will not intervene unless it is satisfied you have made a reasonable effort to resolve the matter with the property owner. You must complete an application form, pay a lodgement fee and attach any supporting documentation including correspondence that demonstrates to the Court you have attempted to resolve the issue. When your application is received, the Court Commissioner will inspect the tree or trees and make a judgement. More information - Trees Act 2006 (Disputes Between Neighbours) – NSW Land and Environment Court

I want to remove/prune a tree at a heritage property. Do I need a DA?

You must submit a Tree Application for trees growing at a heritage listed property or at a property located in a Heritage Conservation Area. No exemptions apply to these properties. More information about heritage properties and heritage conversation areas.

How do I find an arborist or tree contractor?

Arborists provide advice on the health and maintenance options for your tree. An arborist will inspect the tree and provide written advice on what action to take if required. They usually undertake a visual inspection or use diagnostic testing to provide you with a report outlining management options. Search for a Consulting Arborist on the IACA website

To ensure your arborist’s report is considered as part of your tree application assessment, it must be compiled in accordance with Council's Guidelines for Preparation of Arborist Reports(PDF, 365KB). Ensure you provide a copy of the guidelines to the consulting arborist.

If your arborist advises maintenance is required, contact the Tree Contractors Association to engage a qualified and insured tree contractor to undertake works.

Before engaging a tree contractor, check with Council if a permit is required for the work.

Can I remove a tree if my property is on bushfire prone land?

The NSW Rural Fire Services (RFS) 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice permits landowners in bushfire prone land to clear vegetation around property to reduce the risk of bush fire. Use the RFS 10/50 Online Tool to check if the RFS 10/50 Code applies to your property. Please note that some trees are still protected and require Council consent for pruning and removal, regardless of the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice.

The 10/50 Code does NOT apply:

  • To properties in a Heritage Conservation Area or trees and vegetation within a heritage property. You must submit a tree application to Council.
  • Where the tree or vegetation includes threatened species or forms part of an Ecological Endangered Community under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. You must submit a tree application form to Council.

For more information visit RFS 10/50 Frequently Asked Questions.

Do I need to lodge an application to remove a dying tree?

Before you remove a dying tree, you must obtain written consent from Council before work starts. Contact Council in writing with images and an explanation of the problem.

If the tree is not completely dead, or the tree is located within a heritage property or in a Heritage Conservation area, a tree application must be submitted. No exemptions apply.

A tree application must also be submitted if the tree is considered a threatened species or is located within an Endangered Ecological Community. No exemptions apply.

List of replacement tree species for planting on private property

Council has a replacement tree species list(PDF, 311KB).

Refer to the trees web page for more information.

How long does it take to process a tree application?

Tree applications processing times are approximately 4-6 weeks from when your application is acknowledged in writing. Please note that processing times may be affected by high volumes of applications. 

Do I need an arborist's report to submit a tree application?

An arborist’s report is not necessary to submit a tree application - unless your request requires supporting information.

To be considered, the report must be compiled in accordance with Council's Guidelines for Preparation of Arborist Reports(PDF, 365KB). Reports that do not comply will not be considered.

If you have an arborist’s report include it as an attachment to your tree application. Before engaging an arborist to assess a tree, refer them to the guidelines above.

Can I prune branches overhanging my property from my neighbour's tree?

You will need the property owner's permission before pruning can take place.

You may also need Council permission. Check the trees page for more information regarding submitting a Tree Application.

What can I do about tree roots in drainage pipes?

Council Tree Assessment Guidelines restrict the removal of trees impacting sewer and stormwater lines where the pipe can be replaced, relined or relocated.

You must explore all options with your plumber before submitting an application to remove a tree.

Council tree roots in pipes

Council's Tree Assessment Guidelines restrict the removal of trees impacting sewer and stormwater lines where the pipe can be replaced, relined or relocated.

My tree application permit has expired - do I need to submit a new application?

Yes a new tree application is required.

Can I request a review of my tree application that was refused?

Council does not have the authority to review tree applications that have been refused. Applicants can request the NSW Land and Environment Court review any refused application within 3 months of the date of refusal. 

My neighbour is threatening legal action to remove my tree. What shall I do?

Council does not have the authority to intervene in disputes between neighbours over trees.

You should obtain advice from a consulting arborist on the health of the tree. If the consulting arborist recommends action, submit a tree application to Council for permission to undertake the work. 

I live in an area referred to as a threatened species community. Can I remove my tree?

Areas defined as threatened species communities are Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest and Blue Gum High Forest. 

No exemptions apply to trees in these areas and a tree application must be lodged. Council will inspect the tree and decide if it poses a risk. If necessary Council staff will refer you to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to obtain a Threatened Species Licence. 

Refer to Trees on Your Property to check if your property is in a Threatened Species Community using the Online Map Viewer

I want to remove tree to do a complying development. Do I lodge a tree application?

Refer to the Guidelines for Assessment of Trees. Lodge a development application to ensure your tree works is considered as part of your development proposal. 

Further information can be obtained by contacting Council's Duty Planner. 

I have a tree marked as retained in my DA. How do I apply to remove the tree?

Lodge a Section 4.55 application to Modify Development Consent.

I want to remove a tree for a fence, path or retaining wall repairs

You need to check if development approval is required to carry out the proposed works and if the tree would be considered as part of any DA. Contact Council’s Duty Planner for advice on whether the work is complying development or needs a development application. You can call  Council on 9424 0000 during business hours to arrange an appointment with the Duty Planner.

If a DA is not required you must still ensure the trees are retained and protected while undertaking the work. Tree sensitive approaches can include actions such as a bridge footing over tree roots. Council’s tree management staff can provide advice on managing the work to protect the health of the trees.

I want to remove a tree for a new driveway or repairs to a driveway

You must explore all options before submitting an application to remove a tree.

Consult an arborist or a qualified tradesperson before starting work. You will also need to lodge a driveway application form for any work.

More information including the application form are on the driveways page.

Tree branches are growing into my power lines to my house. Do I lodge a tree application?

Contact Ausgrid. They will advise on the best approach to tree branches touching power lines.

A tree application is not required to undertake pruning to achieve clearance to power lines. However this applies to branches only within 0.5 metres of power lines and not tree trunks. If you wish to remove the tree or cut a section of the trunk a tree application will be required. 

My tree is too tall and I want to reduce the height. Do I lodge a tree application?

Council does not generally permit the practice known as ‘topping’ to reduce the height of a tree. Engage an arborist for advice on pruning and submit a tree application for the work required. 

Complying Development rules suggest I check if Council has a Significant Tree Register to determine if I can remove my trees for development?

Council does not have a Significant Tree Register but to remove and prune trees for your development, you will need a Council permit to remove and prune trees that are taller than 5 metres and have a trunk diameter of 150mm or more, measured at ground level.

Refer to the Council Trees website for further information on applying for a tree removal permit or contact Council's Duty Planner to obtain advice on 9424 0000.

I have concerns about trees being chopped down in Ku-ring-gai. What is Council doing about this?

Tree replacement planting forms part of the development approval for new residential buildings in Ku-ring-gai.

Unauthorised tree removal is investigated and prosecuted in Court if there is sufficient evidence to proceed.

What is Council doing to protect Ku-ring-gai's tree cover?

Council has completed aerial mapping of Ku-ring-gai's tree canopy so we can record changes in tree coverage in the future. Council is preparing an Urban Forest Strategy which will provide long term protection and management for Ku-ring-gai's trees.

Council is undertaking community education on the value of trees in the local area and the need to retain them.

How do I get approval for emergency tree works?

Contact a qualified arborist to have the tree assessed. See Council's tree page for information on finding a consulting arborist.

You must contact Council to get approval before any works proceed.





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