Street trees and vegetation

Council is currently experiencing a high volume of tree related requests and extended delays in carrying out non-urgent tree inspections and works. We understand all requests are important and appreciate your patience as Council works toward reducing these delays.

Please be reassured that dangerous or urgent matters are attended to as a first priority.

For queries related to Power line clearance pruning (and the removal of remaining debris), please call Ausgrid on 13 13 65 or contact Ausgrid online

Council owned street trees enhance the beauty of the local area, elevate property values, provide shade, reduce urban heat and noise, act as natural air purifiers and habitat for native fauna, store carbon, and assist with storm water management. Spending time in green spaces is linked to improved well-being and there is evidence to suggest that cars drive more slowly along tree lined streets.

With this in mind Willoughby City Council is committed to preserving our natural assets and has measures in place to ensure our city’s green future.

Residents are not permitted to prune or remove a tree on Council land.

If a storm event has damaged a tree and there is imminent risk, please contact the SES on 132 500. If the tree has impacted overhead power (electricity) lines, please also contact Ausgrid online or on 13 13 88 (emergencies only).

How we can assist

Council maintains public trees in a manner that ensures the health of the tree and to ensure public safety. Council can assist with:

  • The collection of fallen branches from public trees.
  • Pruning to remove dead, dying or dangerous branches on public trees.
  • Investigation of vegetation impeding footpaths and road clearance.
  • Pruning to ensure appropriate visibility of vehicle sight lines and signage and to meet Transport for NSW requirements.
  • Clearance pruning where tree branches make contact with built structures.
  • Removal where the tree is unstable and poses an immediate threat.

In general, Council will not prune or remove trees:

  • Where the tree is deemed healthy and stable by Council’s qualified arborists.
  • For cosmetic reasons, to enhance views or improve lighting on private property.
  • To reduce bird droppings or the natural shedding of leaves, fruit and bark.
  • For sewer or stormwater issues, where other viable solutions exist.
  • Where tree branches overhang property boundaries.
  • Due to the presence of insects (including caterpillars and moths).

Submit a request to have a street tree inspected (select 'Report an issue' then follow the prompts to submit a request under 'Open Space and Street Trees') or contact our customer service team on (02) 9777 1000.

For additional information please refer to Council’s Part G - Vegetation Management of Willoughby Development Control Plan (WDCP).

Tree roots

Property owners are responsible for maintaining services such as sewer (to its connection to the mains) and storm water pipes (to the kerb).

Aging terracotta pipes often crack or experience joint failures, which attract tree roots. As tree removal or root pruning will not resolve these issues in the long term (other plants are likely to invade pipe faults). Other alternatives may include pipe redirection or relining. Please seek advice from suitably qualified plumber.

Council is unlikely to approve tree removals or root pruning for sewer and stormwater line issues where other viable solutions exist.

Request a new street tree

Council is responsible for the planting of street trees and undertakes an annual street tree planting program.

Distance from services (including those underground), disability and pram access and footpath clearance is considered when determining the appropriate placement of street trees. Residents are not permitted to plant trees on Council land, unless part of an approved verge planting.

Submit a request for a new street tree

Select 'Report an issue' then follow the prompts to submit a request under 'Open Space and Street Trees'.

More information about street tree selections and planting is available in the Willoughby Street Tree Masterplan.

Tree reports

An arboriculture report may be needed for applications to clear vegetation.

Arboriculture reports will only be accepted when prepared by a Consultant Arborist with a minimum qualification of Level 5 under the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF Level 5). The company preparing the report shall also not be financially affiliated or have a business relationship with a tree removal/pruning company. All reports must be prepared in accordance with the guidelines established within Australian Standard AS 4373 (2007) Pruning of Amenity Trees and AS 4970 (2009) Protection of Trees on Development Sites.

Further information is available in the Vegetation Management Guidelines