We strictly control the planting and maintenance of street and park trees in the municipality to ensure a safe, functional and visually-pleasing roadside environment for all residents.
It is illegal to remove or prune any trees, shrubs or other plants on your nature strip or in a park, without Council approval.
There are almost 80,000 trees which line our streets throughout the City of Whittlesea.
To reduce risk to the public, we arrange for tree specialists to assess the sturdiness and health of every street tree at least once every 2 years.
Our tree professionals judge each tree against industry best practices and, if necessary, prune the tree to ensure it grows properly and keeps clear of power lines.
Of the more than 1000 requests we receive annually about perceived dangerous trees, only around 5 per cent result in tree removals. In these cases, the trees are usually dead or in the later stages of growing old.
Often, the other 95 per cent of requests do not require any works.
Unless a tree is within 2m of a built structure, pruning is unlikely to provide enough relief from the perceived nuisance of falling leaves, flowers or fruit.
It is uncommon for branches that overhang a property to cause personal damage, except under storm conditions and we will not prune trees to eliminate a perceived danger.
We try to minimise tree pruning because:
Since it is difficult to establish new trees and many houses do not have a nature strip tree, we aim to keep as many existing trees as possible.
We only remove a nature strip or park tree as a last resort, if it has been assessed by our trained tree professionals as posing a danger to the public and having faults that can’t be fixed.
We do not remove trees if they are reported as:
After we identify a tree for removal, we remove it as soon as possible based on the level of risk.
If you are concerned about a potentially dangerous nature strip tree, contact us.
It is illegal for you to plant your own trees, shrubs or any other plant (apart from grass) on your nature strip, under our General Local Laws.
If you have planted an inappropriate or unsuitable tree, we may need to remove or replace it at a high cost to all ratepayers.
In addition, any potential insurance claims related to such trees can be refused if we were not involved in the species selection or planting process.
If your nature strip does not have a tree, you can ask us to plant one for you. Our officers will assess your nature strip and arrange for an appropriate tree to be planted from late autumn to early spring, depending on the seasonal weather patterns.
The tree species chosen will be selected to provide consistency with the existing nature strip trees in the street, if there is a dominant theme. If there is no dominant theme, we might consider your street for a complete upgrade under our Street Tree Renewal Program.
Under normal circumstances, we will not remove your nature strip tree, even if the tree roots are blocking a stormwater drainage pipe.
This is because nature strip tree roots can only enter into damaged or poorly sealed stormwater pipes, which the property owner is responsible for maintaining, under our General Local Laws. See Stormwater drainage.
To limit blockages from occurring, we recommend that you have a licensed plumber regularly clean out and test your stormwater connections. This proactive maintenance will ensure that they are not leaking and that tree roots do not block pipes in the future.
Our Street Tree Renewal Program is where we replace nature strip trees in the City of Whittlesea’s older established suburbs, to create a consistent tree theme for an entire street.
We follow these steps to renew a street’s nature strip trees:
You can nominate your street for nature strip tree renewal by calling us on 9217 2170.
Once established, nature strip trees usually receive enough water from rainfall and the soil to keep them in good health.
You do not need to water newly planted street trees as this is our responsibility.
We currently use recycled water to irrigate these trees, saving up to 6 megalitres of drinking water per year.
Below is a guide to the tree clearances outlined in our Street Tree Management Plan that we aim towards when conduct tree pruning on street trees across the municipality.
|Type of location||Clearance|
|Electrical line clearances (H.V. and L.V.) and service wires||Maintain the clearances as per the Electrical Line Clearance Management Plan.|
|Local roads||4m (rural roadsides as required - 1m behind back of kerb)|
|Road signage, lines of sight and traffic control devices||Allow for driver and pedestrian visibility in accordance with VicRoads/Council sight clearance standards|
|Buildings/fences on private property||Maintain a 2.0 clearance through pruning cycle|