Tree Pruning

Page hero image

In all circumstances the   Newcastle Urban Forest Technical Manual (Manual) is to be consulted before undertaking pruning works.

Council consent is not required to prune trees or remove dead branches in the following circumstances:

Pruning that doesn't require a pruning specification - No application

A permit from Council is not required to prune trees and shrubs on private land where:
(a)  the pruning is to remove branches that are within 1m of the dwelling, formal path or driveway, and
(b)  the pruning does not alter the overall shape or structure of the tree, and
(c)  the branches removed are less than 100mm in diameter at the final cut, and
(d)  the final cut is at a branch collar or appropriate growth point (refer to Section 2.3 of the Manual), or
(e)  the height of the shrub/s is less than 5m, and
    (i)  it is maintained without reducing the height, or
    (ii) is pruned for the purposed of hedging, topiary, clearing of driveways or formal pathways, or similar.
 

Pruning requiring a pruning specification

A permit is not required to prune trees and shrubs, however, the following criteria must be met:
(a)  the landowners consent has been obtained; and
(b)  is for a tree or shrub greater than 5m in height, and
  (i)  the pruning is undertaken in accordance with the AS4373-2007, and
  (ii)  a    Tree Pruning Specification (pdf) has been prepared in accordance with the Australian pruning standard (AS473) by an AQF Level 3 Arborist, and
  (iii)  the pruning specification is retained by the landowner for a period of two years.
  (iv)  the work is carried out by a minimum AQF Level 2 Arborist in accordance with the prepared specification.

Refer to Section 2.0 of Council's   Newcastle Urban Forest Technical Manual (Part A) for more detail.

Note 1:  All cuttings and/or mulch should be disposed of appropriately.  Tipping of these materials on Council land is dumping which can incur penalties or prosecution.

Note 2:  A permit from Council may be required prior to clearing or pruning the following:
  (i)  vegetation in a threatened ecological community or a threatened plant species listed under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 or Fisheries Management Act 1994, or
  (ii)  any other native vegetation including understorey plants, groundcovers and plants occurring in a wetland and is less than the biodiversity offsets scheme threshold identified under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.
Council will not accept applications for a permit for clearing or pruning of the above unless the applicant has obtained all appropriate licences, permits or approvals from the relevant Government authority.  Refer to the   Newcastle Urban Forest Technical Manual (Part C).

Pruning overhang from a neighours tree

If your neighbour agrees to pruning of their tree you will need a written specification and works carried out as detailed above.

For information on tree disputes go to the   Private Trees section on Council's website.
 

Don't top trees

If your neighbour agrees to pruning of their tree you will need a written specification and works carried out as detailed above.

Untrained or uninformed tree ‘loppers’ may urge you to cut back all of the branches to shape the tree, or may suggest that shorter trees will be less likely to fail in future wind storms. Topped or lopped trees are far more likely to fail in the future, and may die as a result of the impacts to the tree from the heavy cutting.

Council will not support applications for lopping or topping trees. Lopping or topping trees can lead to penalties or prosecution being applied.
 

Where can I get more information about trees and Council?

For further information contact Council's Customer Contact Counter on 02 4974 2000.
Documents