Apply for a Tree Works Permit

For help with removing hazardous fallen trees or branches on your property, call SES on 132 500.

Tree works on or near a significant tree

General Local Law protects trees deemed "significant" on private properties

You need a Tree Works Permit to prune, remove or undertake works on or near a significant tree on your property, or a neighbouring property.

If you remove or damage a significant tree without a permit, you will receive a penalty or fine in accordance with General Local Law.

For issues regarding trees or branches on City of Stonnington land, visit report a tree concern.

Trees on your property

You must apply for a Tree Works Permit to:

  • remove a significant tree
  • prune a significant tree
  • undertake works that affects roots in the area surrounding a significant tree (also called the Tree Protection Zone).

For significant trees requiring urgent removal or pruning, the tree must be assessed by a qualified and experienced arborist before contacting City of Stonnington for approval on 03 8290 1333. Forward the assessment to council@stonnington.vic.gov.au for approval and to obtain a permit.

Trees on neighbouring properties

If you have concerns about a significant tree on a neighbouring property, talk to the property owner about any pruning you wish to do.

A significant tree, overhanging the boundary of your property can only be pruned once you've received a permit. We suggest informing your neighbours of any potential works.

A permit is not required for minor pruning of a non significant tree overhanging the boundary of your property.

For tips on how to start a conversation with your neighbour and find a resolution, visit Dispute Settlement of Victoria.

Trees on land protected by overlays

Greater protections are in place in some areas regarding tree removal, destruction or lopping. You will need to apply for a Planning Permit if 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)

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

To confirm if a land is protected by an overlay which requires a permit to remove, destroy or lop a tree, search the address on VicPlan or call City of Stonnington's Planning Department on 03 8290 3329.

If you do not live in one of these areas, proceed to apply for a Tree Works Permit.

How to determine if a tree is significant

The General Local Law applies to any damage, removal or pruning done to a significant tree and its Tree Protection Zone. This is the area surrounding the tree's trunk that contains the roots.

A tree or palm is considered significant if it meets the below following criteria.

At ground level:

  • the trunk circumference is 180 cm or more
  • if there are multiple trunks, the total circumference of all trunks adds up to 180 cm or more.
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At 1.4 m above ground level:

  • the trunk circumference is 140 cm or more
  • if there are multiple trunks, the total circumference of all trunks adds up to 140 cm or more.
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To learn more about how to determine if a tree is significant, refer to pages 57 to 58 in General Local Law.

We recommend keeping a copy of the measurements and images of the tree for future references.

How to apply for a Tree Works Permit

Prepare your documents

To help us assess your application, have the following documents ready:

  • map showing the tree's location on the property (such as a drawing of your property or site plan showing the tree's location)
  • at least two images of the tree and the issue, including one close-up and one of the surrounding area.

If you are an arborist or a company applying on behalf of the owner, you must also provide:

  • letter of authorisation.

You can only apply for a permit to remove a tree if you own the property or have a letter of authorisation.

If you are a business, you must also provide:

  • proof of director’s identity (such as a copy of an ASIC company extract or driver’s licence).

If you are applying as an owners corporation, you must also provide:

  • letter of authorisation from the owners corporation manager supporting the proposed tree works
  • owners corporation number.

If applying for a permit to prune a tree on a neighbouring property, we suggest notifying them before you apply.

If you rent the property, contact your owner’s corporation or property manager. Ask them to apply for a permit and perform the tree works on your behalf.

Submit your application

To submit your application, complete the Tree Works Permit application form(PDF, 179KB)  and email it to council@stonnington.vic.gov.au with your supporting documents.

If you’re unable to submit it online, bring the completed application form and supporting documents to our service centre. You can pay the application fee on the day.

Your tree is assessed

Stonnington consultants and arborists will work together to inspect the tree and determine the suitability of the work.

We may contact you if we need further documentation or authorisation.

Receive a response

Once your application is approved, we will send your Tree Works Permit to you via email.

If a permit is not issued, you will receive an application outcome letter explaining why. If you're unhappy with the result, you can appeal the outcome with Council. You will need to provide supporting evidence. This may involve a process review by a senior officer to ensure your application was assessed fairly. Instructions on how to appeal will be included in your application outcome letter.