Whitehorse City Council

Street Tree Pruning

To ensure public safety and the long-term health of the municipality’s street trees, Council undertakes a two-year pruning cycle for all street trees. 

Find out when street tree pruning will next occur in your street by using Whitehorse Maps.

Accept the terms and conditions of use, turn on the 'street tree pruning' map layer to see your service area or simply enter your address to find pruning timeframes for your area.

Trees are assessed for potential branch defects: the canopy is pruned away from overhead cables, branches are cleared from footpath and roadway to allow for safe pedestrian/traffic movement.

With this regular street tree pruning cycle, the amount of tree canopy that subsequently needs to be removed is greatly reduced, so the visual impact on the streetscape is minimised.

Council provides a responsive 24-hour call-out service for emergency works including fallen trees/branches that are impacting on electrical cables or pedestrian/traffic movement.

The process for tree pruning requests is as follows:    

  • Resident contacts Council with request
  • Tree site inspected by Council's arborists
  • Resident is informed by calling card, phone call or letter about the outcome of inspection

To allow for the prioritisation of works, the following general timeframes apply to the different types of requests for work i.e. from the day the request is received by Council to the day the issue is resolved or works completed.

Issue Timeframe
Emergency Same day
Tree split or branch hanging  Same day
Tree or branch on ground and blocking pedestrians/traffic  Same day
Tree branch on ground, but safe   One week
Tree roots causing damage to the footpath  One month
General tree pruning request   One month
Tree removal request One month

Frequently Raised Issues About Street Tree Pruning

Issue: The tree in front of my property is ugly and I want it removed.
Answer: The relative attractiveness of a tree is a very subjective matter. Some people like exotic trees, while others prefer native trees. The only instance where Council will allow the removal of a street tree is if it is identified as being dead, dying or hazardous.

Issue: A Council tree is overhanging my property and the debris is getting into my gutters.
Answer: All branches overhanging private property boundaries shall be pruned to a height of three (3) metres above private boundaries.  Branches/foliage in contact with buildings shall where possible, be pruned to achieve a three (3) metre clearance unless pruning would affect a major structural limb and/or major canopy reduction.

A resident can also deposit any leaf/fruit/bark from the street tree into bags and leave them on the nature strip provided they ring 9262 6333 and request Council's Infrastructure Department to organise collection.

Issue: My neighbour's tree is overhanging my property.
Answer: This is a civil matter and needs to be addressed by you and your neighbour. Except in the most unusual circumstances, it would not involve Council or the police.

In general, you have the right to prune any portion of your neighbour's tree that overhangs your property i.e. joint fence/property line.

Council strongly recommends that you discuss the issue with your neighbour. In extreme circumstances, you may wish to seek mediation through the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria.

Issue: The roots from the street tree are causing damage to the footpath/private property.
Answer: Council has a number of methods to deal with such issues, depending on the severity of the matter, including temporary footpath patching with bitumen, replacement of concrete footpath, root pruning and root barriers.

Any claims for private property damage need to be made in writing to Whitehorse City Council, Risk Manager, Locked Bag 2, Nunawading Delivery Centre VIC 3131, and should be accompanied by a building's report. These can be obtained from companies such as Archicentre on 1300 134 513.

Issue: Branches from the nature strip tree are growing in close proximity to overhead powerlines.
Answer: Council has a pruning program that ensures that all street trees in the municipality are inspected and pruned every two years.

High voltage conductors are inspected annually by the relevant power authorities and any remedial works are undertaken.

Low voltage powerlines often encounter tree foliage before the scheduled date for pruning but there is no record of fires in urban areas caused by trees in proximity to low voltage powerlines. It is expected that the biennial cyclic pruning will adequately manage Council's tree assets.

Council would like to sincerely thank all residents for their support of our local environment and for being responsible neighbours by keeping their own vegetation from blocking pedestrian footpaths and for keeping nature-strips neat and tidy.