Prune or remove a tree - When a permit is required

The Shellharbour City Council Tree Management Order prohibits the ringbarking, cutting down, pruning, lopping, topping, removing, root pruning, injuring or wilful destruction of a tree that is ‘Declared’. A tree is deemed ‘declared’ if it meets any one or more of the following criteria and a tree management permit be sought if it:
a. is 3m or more in height 
b. has a trunk circumference of 30cm or more at natural ground level 
c. has a branch spread of three(3) metres or more
d. Is a hollow bearing tree (has cavities in trunk or branches, which can be used by   
    native animals for foraging, shelter, roosting and nesting)
The removal or pruning of trees for the improvement of views and / or drops unwanted material will not be an acceptable reason for the removal or pruning of a tree.
Some trees are exempt from being declared they can be found on the DCP

Download an application to remove/prune trees.

For maintenance of trees located on Council roads, parks and reserves please contact us by lodging a report online using eServices, calling (02) 4221 6111 or by emailing

For all trees affected by power wires on public land contact Endeavour Energy.

Trees on Neighbours property 

If you wish to prune a tree that is located within your neighbour’s property which extends over your boundary you are still required to submit an application. The proposed works will be assessed as per the criteria set out in the Tree Management Policy and any approved works must be done in accordance with Australian Standard 4373.

Most disputes between neighbours about trees involve overhanging branches or roots that affect or propose a potential risk to a neighbouring property. If you have any concerns about a neighbouring tree, the best way to resolve the issue is to discuss it with your neighbour. Your neighbour/s may not be aware that there is an issue and in the majority of cases will be willing to assist.

By advising the tree owner of your intentions to submit an application may make the process of pruning the tree easier. A submission without the consent of the tree owner, limits Council to only be able to issue an approval to prune branches extending over the boundary and those that are within your property.

If the owners signature is not supplied inspections will be limited to the applicant’s property only.

Any approval given does not allow you or a contractor to enter your neighbour’s property without their consent.

Applications to remove a neighbour’s tree without the consent of the owner will not be approved.

It is not the role of council to intervene in neighbourhood disputes. Conflict over the management of private trees in neighbouring properties is the responsibility of both neighbours to resolve. If you are not able to reach an agreement with your neighbour, you can source the assistance of a Community Justice Centre or on 1800 990 777

Where attempts for mediation between parties is unsuccessful you can apply to the Land and Environment Court for an order under the provisions of the Tree (Disputes Between Neighbours) ACT 2006

Looking to purchase a tree?

Our nursery has a huge range of fruiting, native and potted trees available.

Visit our nursery page to find out more.

Preparing for Bush Fires - 10/50 vegetation clearing

Residents in some areas close to the bush can prepare for bush fires by clearing trees from around their home under the NSW Rural Fire Service 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme.

If your property is in a 10/50 vegetation clearing entitlement area, you may be able to clear trees close to your house without Council's approval. Make sure you read the guidelines carefully first; you could be fined for illegally clearing trees.

It is the property owner's responsibility to make sure they follow the 10/50 Code of Practice.

You should also note that you can’t remove a tree under these guidelines if a development consent specifically says it needs to be retained.

For details, and to find out if your property is in a 10/50 area, visit the NSW Rural Fire Service website

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Last updated : Wed 8 Jul 2020