Tree Pruning Guidelines in Sydney

Usually, healthy trees that are not causing much issues apart from growing a large spread can simply undergo Tree Pruning to remove the troublesome branches and foliage. This is a preferred method for many councils as it saves the need to fully remove the tree and is more environmentally friendly.  For you as the homeowner, Tree Pruning is also welcome it saves costs on a complete tree removal.

As with any type of arborcultural projects, you require permission to carry out most Tree Pruning, Tree Removal or Branch Removal tasks. City of Sydney Council does provide some exceptions where you can carryout pruning work without approval including the following:

  • You are not removing anymore than 5% of the tree canopy
  • pruning does not affect the health or structural stability of the tree
  • Where you use a qualified Arborist (AQF Level 2 and above) and the Australian standard for pruning of amenity trees is adhered to
  • Where the tree infringes on the clearance guidelines specified in the following table

Table 3.4 Guideline for tree pruning

Location Height to which pruning is
Maximum diameter
of branch which may
be pruned
Major Arterial
4.5m above the kerb 100mm
Local Roads 2.5m over a parking lane and
4.5m above the kerb
Council pedestrian
2.5m above the footpath 100mm
Buildings 1m above any approved building,
measured from the surface of
the structural component, such
as a wall or roof on the building’s
Domestic power or
n lines
Must be 0.5m minimum and 1m
maximum clearance from the
service line

Note: Branch size is measured from the point of attachment to another branch or the trunk.

You can find out all council regulations and make an application by using this link. Alternatively, if you live in other sydney suburbs you can use our shire council specific pages to find current tree removal regulations for your local area.