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Urban Tree Care

Tree care and planting guidelines

All trees, irrespective of who planted them and which have at least 50% of their base located within City managed land, will be cared for by the City, in accordance with its Urban Tree Planting and Maintenance Policy.

Residents can also care for trees on the verge adjacent to their property, in accordance with the conditions of the Policy.

Responsible management of tree assets will assist the City to grow a healthy and sustainable urban forest that will provide lasting benefits to the community, including:

  • visual amenity
  • reducing air pollution and carbon dioxide
  • controlling storm water
  • mitigating wind and noise
  • improving biodiversity
  • providing habitat
  • shading and reducing UV exposure
  • reducing heat island effect and energy demand
  • enhancing sense of place and wellbeing
  • carbon sequestration
  • increasing property values
  • encouraging outdoor activity.

Click on the headings below to read more about how the City maintains trees in the community.

Species Selection

To ensure the sustainability and longevity of the City’s urban forest, there is a requirement for diversity in the species of trees, which will improve resilience in the event of pest or disease infestations. In support of this principle, the City offers a range of native and exotic tree species for planting which are identified in the City’s guidelines below.

Tree Planting Guideline

The City undertakes annual seed collection and propagation from local endemic trees species, which is done to preserve local genetic providence and promote the re-establishment of endemic trees in the district. The propagation of non-endemic and successfully established tree species is also important, and where possible, the City will arrange for propagation from selected trees that meet the City’s range of desirable urban forest characteristics.

Tree Planting

The City is responsible for planting trees on City-managed land under its annual tree planting program, which includes requests from residents. Where a new tree is proposed for a verge that is not a replacement tree, the City will plant the tree unless requested otherwise by the adjacent property owner. The City will also endeavour to plant a new tree for each tree that has been removed from residential verges on the same verge.

The City will, in most cases, determine the species and select the location of the tree in consideration of site conditions, infrastructure, utility services, sight lines and other constraints. Generally, one tree will be planted per property, while properties with larger or corner frontages may receive more.

The City is responsible for all activities required to establish new trees during the initial three-year establishment period, including seasonal watering, staking, formative pruning, mulching and weed control. Additional watering by residents is encouraged during summer.

Residents can request a tree to be planted on the verge adjacent to their property through the City’s tree request program. The City will assess the suitability of the verge, the requested tree species and planting alignment. 

Requests for new street trees can be lodged with the City at any time, and requests received by 31 January of each year will be included in the following winter’s planting program.

Request a free street tree

Tree Maintenance

The City undertakes a range of maintenance activities to maintain the health and longevity of trees, which can include pruning, installation of support systems, removal of grass and chemical treatment.

The City’s tree maintenance work will be assessed and prioritised based on a risk assessment hierarchy, accommodating the City’s regulatory compliance obligations, overarching duty of care and maximising the outcomes for tree health and wellbeing of the community.

The City advocates, where possible, for the removal of grass around trees in the context of tree management, as it is beneficial in preventing damage and compaction of the root plate, as well as improving soil health and microbial activity which aids root health.

Tree Pruning

Trees are dynamic living systems that become structurally acclimatised to their local environment, and altering their structure and balance with interventions such as pruning is not always desirable or beneficial.

Pruning can be undertaken to improve the form of a young tree, reduce an assessed risk, or improve stability, however removal of living foliage is not beneficial to the health of a tree. Excessive or unnecessary pruning will restrict the energy available to a tree and can increase susceptibility to decay, pests and fungal infections. Where a tree is maintained in accordance with good arboricultural practices, it lessens the likelihood of structural issues and the potential for branch failure.

Accordingly, all pruning will be in accordance with the Australian Standard for Pruning of Amenity Trees (AS 4373-2007).

Generally, pruning services are provided to:

  • maintain required clearances from power lines, street lights, utilities and other infrastructure
  • maintain appropriate clearances for sightlines, and accessibility for driveways, roads and footpaths
  • maintain visibility of street name signage, directional signage, advanced warning and regulatory traffic signs
  • remove or reduce risk of harm
  • remove or reduce hazardous dead wood
  • correct structural defects in natural growth or form (remedial pruning)
  • re-establish tree after damage (restoration pruning)
  • optimise form and branch structure in a juvenile tree (formative pruning)
  • clear overhanging influence from private buildings.

Property owners may request pruning of trees abutting their private property. Unless the requested pruning is for the reasons listed above, authorisation of the request will be at the discretion of the Director Works and Infrastructure. If authorisation is given, the property owner requesting the pruning will be required to pay for the pruning costs incurred by the City. Pensioners are exempt from the requirement to pay for the cost of pruning trees abutting their private property.

Residents are authorised to undertake minor pruning of trees located on verge areas abutting their property, in accordance with the City's guidelines below.

Tree Pruning GuidelineS for Residents

Pruning is not undertaken for the following reasons:

  • To improve views
  • To discourage the presence of animals or insects
  • Clearance for advertising and business signage.

There may be occasions where specialist pruning that falls outside these criteria is required to maintain the health of a tree. In these cases, the City's Coordinator Tree Services will assess the tree and arrange pruning as required.

Where a tree overhangs a property boundary, it is not required to prune the tree strictly to the boundary line, as it is preferred to allow the tree to grow into a balanced, natural shape.  Requests for additional pruning will be assessed on a case by case basis with regard given to what is considered to be undue influence over a dwelling.

The City will not lop or top a tree or undertake other pruning to the detriment of the form or structural integrity of a tree, unless determined necessary to provide clearances from power lines. To see when pruning has been scheduled in your area, check the City's 2022 Annual Street Tree Pruning Map.

The City’s adopted ‘Quantified Tree Risk Assessment’ (QTRA) methodology will form the assessment basis for individual pruning requests.

Tree Removal

The City places considerable value on all trees. While an individual property owner or resident may desire a tree to be removed for a variety of reasons, it must be recognised that trees on public land are living public assets which provide critical environmental value to the wider community. 

Tree removal may be undertaken when:

  • a tree is dead
  • an unacceptable level of risk exists within the tree’s structure that remedial techniques cannot rectify
  • the tree is suffering from a disease where remedial techniques will not prevent further spread of the disease, and the removal will be of benefit to other trees around it
  • the tree is causing significant damage to infrastructure, and modification to the infrastructure or tree is impractical, and suitable documented evidence to support this is provided by a qualified professional
  • there is an imminent safety risk to people, property and/or infrastructure
  • the removal is approved under a crossover approval granted by the City. Such removal may be subject to conditions of the crossover approval granted in accordance with the City’s crossovers policy
  • the removal is approved under a subdivision approval granted by the Western Australian Planning Commission or development approval granted by the City. Such removal may be subject to conditions in accordance with those approvals.

Where a tree is removed, the City will endeavour to plant a replacement tree of a suitable species as practicably close to the removed tree, as part of its annual tree planting program. Where a tree is approved for removal for a subdivision, development and/or for works undertaken for a utility provider or other authority, the City will seek compensation for the amenity (Helliwell) valuation of the tree, plus the cost of removing the existing tree, if Council is required to remove it.

Prior to removal works proceeding, the City's Tree Services team will document basic details of the tree along with the reasons for removal in the form of a standard Visual Tree Assessment report, which will be archived in the City’s records system.

In cases where urgent removal is required to prevent harm to people, property or infrastructure, the Visual Tree Assessment report will be completed after the removal.

Root Control

Root barriers are a highly effective tool in controlling the growth of roots around infrastructure and are used around species of trees that have a vigorous root system.

Root barriers are typically a plastic membrane that is put into a trench once the trees roots have been identified and cut by hand to ensure unnecessary damage does not occur to the tree.

As a minimum, the City will install root barriers to a depth of 600mm and their use will be determined following an inspection by the City's Arborists.

Liability Claims

If a resident believes the City is responsible for root damage or damage from tree debris to private property, they may wish to lodge a claim against the City. Accordingly, the City will refer such claims to its insurer. Residents are encouraged to support their claims with as much evidence as possible to assist the insurer with investigating and determining an outcome. It is also advised that residents engage a Structural Engineer to determine the possible cause of any structural damage through a forensic process. The claim can be submitted without a Structural Engineer’s report at the discretion of the resident, or if it is believed there is sufficient evidence to support the case.   

Tree Vandalism

Where vandalism of trees occurs, the City after an investigation, may authorise the following actions:

  • Issuing of an infringement notice with a penalty in accordance with the City’s Local Laws to those who have been identified responsible for the damage
  • Where the vandalism involves the removal of a tree, or results in the need for tree removal as a consequence of the vandalism, the City will plant a replacement tree plus an additional new tree on the same verge. The City will seek compensation for the cost of removing the existing tree if required, and the cost of arranging provision of two trees and three years’ maintenance.
  • Write to affected residents in the vicinity of the tree(s) advising of the City's actions in response to the vandalism.

In addition to the above, if the damage or vandalism has occurred as a direct result of development activities without prior approval, the City may seek from the person or company responsible compensation for the amenity (Helliwell) valuation of the tree, plus the cost of removing the existing tree if required, and the cost of arranging provision of a replacement tree(s) and three years’ maintenance if required.

You can help us protect our trees by:

  • Contacting the City if you notice any unusual activity around trees
  • Volunteering to help nurture a tree back to health or ‘adopt a tree’ if the vandalised tree needs to be replaced
  • Talking to your neighbours to raise awareness of tree vandalism
  • Volunteering for community tree planting days and bush care programs.
Grass trees and Zamia Palms

The City recognises that Grass Trees (Xanthorrhoea species) and Zamia Palms (Macrozamia species) hold a high level of cultural and ecological value to our community.  As such, this policy and the protections afforded within, are extended to them in order to ensure their continued presence and longevity throughout the City.

Assistance with Green Waste Removal

Unfortunately, the City does not operate a gardening clean-up service.  If you require assistance with gardening tasks or green waste removal, you will need to engage a gardening company or similar to undertake these works.

For older adults, the City has produced a service directory with information about government, not for profit organisations, City events, services and broader health and community support programs. This directory can be accessed by clicking on the link below:

City of Bayswater  Service Directory for Older Adults

The Federal Government also provides assistance with their ‘My Aged Care Program’, which may be of interest.  

Customer Requests

Please send requests for planting, pruning or removal to the City using one of the following methods:

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