Requests for tree maintenance

Requests for tree maintenance

Apart from the regular assessment of trees as per the above, trees are also assessed following requests for tree pruning or removal from the city’s residents and land owners.

Some guidelines for the processing and actioning of these requests are:
  • Council will respond to requests for tree maintenance as received through Council’s customer service request system.
  • A qualified officer or contractor of Council will inspect the tree and determine the most appropriate course of action based on community risk and available resources. Council will endeavour to provide property owners as well as adjoining and adjacent properties with five (5) working days’ notice prior to tree removals, except in the case of emergencies. The notice would take the form of either a telephone call, visit on inspection, form notification or letter. A ‘Notification of Tree Pruning/Removal’ form has been attached as Annexure 1.
Note: Councils Tree Works Officer will consider whether notification is required to be given to Councils Asset Section for approval of tree works to be undertaken to any significant or substantial trees within the Maitland Council area, and notify the Appearance & Infrastructure Division accordingly.

  • A hazard assessment process will be used to identify community risk, the health of the tree and the subsequent course of action. A ‘Visual Tree Assessment and Hazard Evaluation’ form has been attached as Annexure 2.

  • Assessment of trees will consider the following:
  • Health and vigour
  • Significance of the tree to the surrounding landscape
  • Significance of the tree in relation to its heritage value
  • Registration on the significant tree register
  • Ownership of the tree (e.g. partly on private property)
  • Suitability for the particular location
  • Amount of potential damage the tree may cause
  • Habitats (if the tree is inhabited by any fauna or flora)
  1. If a tree is inhabited by significant / endangered fauna or flora then the minimum work required to minimise potential hazards should be carried out leaving the habitat in situ.
  2. If a habitat tree is deemed to warrant removal as a result of a VTA (Visual Tree Assessment) then all necessary steps should be taken to have any fauna inhabiting the tree relocated by a registered wildlife carer prior to the removal of the tree.
  3. Council will not always remove a tree because it is undesirable or a weed species. Council will evaluate each individual tree based on its significance, heritage value, health and vigour and impact on its surrounding landscape.
Generally, tree maintenance will not be carried out in situations where the tree is: 
  • In a healthy condition with no predictable tree or branch failure
  • Not interfering with utility services
  • Not interfering with motorists’ line of sight
  • Not causing major damage to public or private property
  • Not causing risk to public safety  
  • The following issues will not be considered when assessing trees for removal/pruning:
    • Leaf, fruit, flower, seed, twig, bark or other litter on ground or gutters
    • Improving street lighting to private property
    • Enhancement of views
    • Increasing sunlight to dwellings including solar panels  However, consideration will be given to allowing the reduction in the canopy of a tree on public land to improve the amount of sunlight into dwellings or onto solar panels where:
      • Any thinning of the canopy of the tree will not affect the amenity of the road or recreation space in which the tree is growing;
      • The approved percentage of thinning in the canopy of the tree will not adversely impact on the health and vigour of the tree;
      • All work on the tree is undertaken by a contractor approved by Council;
      • The cost of the work by the contractor is paid by the applicant directly to the contractor.
    • Reducing bird droppings or resin falling from the tree (except where there is a significant health risk associated with the issue)
    • Disturbance by tree roots
    • Erection of a fence or because the tree causes, or will cause, damage to a fence
    • Unidentified bushfire hazard  

    Each request for a tree removal/pruning will be considered following an inspection, taking into account the above criteria.