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Tree Pruning Guidelines in Sydney NSW

Usually, healthy trees that are not causing many 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 complete tree removal.

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

  • You are not removing any more 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 the pruning of amenity trees are adhered to
  • Where the tree infringes on the clearance guidelines specified in the following table

Table 3.4 Guideline for tree pruning

LocationHeight to which pruning is permittedMaximum diameter of a branch which may be pruned
Major Arterial Roads4.5m above the kerb100mm
Local Roads2.5m over a parking lane and 4.5m above the kerb100mm
Council pedestrian paths2.5m above the footpath100mm
Buildings1m above any approved building, measured from the surface of the structural component, such as a wall or roof on the building’s edge50mm
Domestic power or Telecommunication linesMust be 0.5m minimum and 1m maximum clearance from the service line50mm

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.

Tree Trimming

Often associated as one and the same with pruning trees, many of our Sydney Tree Removal tasks involve general maintenance in the way of tree and vegetation trimming. There are several reasons we may get called upon to carry out tree trimming tasks and these include:

1. Area Beautification – Just like getting a hair cut to make yourself look good, vegetation used for ornamental purposes also look good when they have had their extremities trimmed and uniformed.
2. Overgrown limbs and branches – as the tree or shrub grows it may begin to interfere with or damage surrounding structures. This could includes house, garages and driveways but could also mean the tree is dropping its leaves and waste into gutters for example.
3. Safety hazards – Tree branches may have grown so large they begin to obstruct critical services such as overhead power lines and electrical poles, causing risk of fire and electrocution
4. Health of the tree – Like people, Trees can also contract diseases not unlike cancer. In many cases by using a process often referred to as ‘Tree Surgery’, a professional arborist can actually save the tree from dying by cutting out or trimming the unhealthy sections of the tree.