Manage trees on your property

What you can do to a tree on your property depends on whether it is a significant tree. Significant trees are protected by the General Local Law and have limitations on what works can occur.

You will need a Tree Works Permit to prune, remove or undertake works within the vicinity of any significant tree on your property. For help on how to determine if a tree is significant, or how to apply for a Trees Work Permit, visit apply for a Tree Works Permit.

For concerns regarding trees or branches on City of Stonnington land, visit reporting tree concerns.

Urgent removal or pruning

If a fallen tree branch is causing a safety hazard on your property, you can contact SES on 132 500 to assistance in removing the fallen tree or branch.

If a tree or branch is causing concern to public safety such as obstructing a footpath, you can call Stonnington on 03 8290 1333 to assist in making the area safe.

For significant trees requiring urgent removal or pruning, the tree must be assessed by a qualified and experienced arborist before contacting Stonnington for approval on 03 8290 1333. Forward the arborists assessment to  to apply for a Tree Works Permit.

Tree branches touching electrical lines

If a tree on your property is touching electrical lines and isn't classed as a significant tree, you can contact the relevant energy provider for assistance with pruning:

  • Properties west of Glenferrie Road: call Citipower on 131 28
  • Properties east of Glenferrie Road: call United Energy on 132 099

If a tree is classed as significant, a Tree Works Permit is required before any pruning takes place. 

Trees on neighbouring properties

Sometimes there may be issues with a tree that belongs to your neighbour. City of Stonnington cannot assist in resolving tree matters between neighbours. We suggest speaking to your neighbour first to seek a resolution.

If a branch hangs over the boundary of your property, you can prune to your boundary line if it's not classed as significant.

Speak to your neighbour first to inform them about the proposed tree pruning.

You can learn more about your rights with neighbouring trees and how to resolve them by visiting Dispute Settlement of Victoria’s website.

If it is a significant tree, you will need to apply for a Tree Works Permit before pruning it.

Non-urgent removal or pruning

If the tree is not significant, you can:

  • consult a qualified arborist for options to remove roots, stumps or trees
  • perform minor pruning yourself
  • get advice from your plumber or insurer if a tree root or a tree is impacting your water pipes, property, or storm water outlets.

If the tree is significant, you will need to apply for a Trees Work Permit. Once you have received your permit, you can then perform works on the tree.

Trees and planning overlays

Removal, destruction and lopping of trees on land protected by overlays

The Stonnington Planning Scheme applies tree controls over two specific areas within the city.

If you live in one of these areas you must obtain planning approval before removal, destruction or lopping any tree, regardless of whether the tree matches criteria that would deem it significant or not. 

You will need to apply for a Planning Permit if the land is located within a:

  • Significant Landscape Overlay (Schedule 1 - Yarra River Corridor Environs)
  • Neighbourhood Character Overlay (Schedule 1 - Hedgeley Dene Precinct and Schedule 8 - Lalbert Crescent Precinct)

Some heritage overlays also include specific tree protection controls requiring a Planning Permit for tree removal, destruction or lopping.

If the tree is a significant tree, you will need to apply for both a planning permit and Tree Works Permit.

To confirm, search for your address and view the planning property on VicPlan, or contact Stonnington's Planning Department on 03 8290 3329.

To learn more about how to apply for a planning permit, visit apply for a planning permit.

Landscape Plans

Some Planning Permits have approved landscape plans. It is the owner's responsibility to comply with the approved plan. Generally, landscape plans are required as part of a:

  • multi-unit development
  • mixed use development
  • larger non-residential development.

Removal of trees or alterations to landscaping other than those approved in the plans may require additional approval from the Statutory Planning Department. If you wish to remove a tree or alter landscaping as part of an approved development, you may require further formal approval from City of Stonnington.

Stonnington's Planning Investigations Department will investigate illegal tree removal and alterations to landscape plans that are inconsistent with the Planning Permit and endorsed landscape plans.

Inconsistencies with approved landscape plans can be enforced by Stonnington and penalties can apply. For more information on breaches relating to trees and vegetation, see enforcing permits.