Street trees are trees planted in the naturestrip or median strip along roadways. They are planted and maintained by the Council on behalf of the whole community and they perform the important role of shading our streets and footpaths and making our suburbs more enjoyable places to live.
Currently Whitehorse has approximately 72,000 street trees with about 4,000 additional trees planted each year.
Requesting a Street Tree
Council uses aerial images and urban heat mapping to prioritise streets for planting. However, if your naturestrip is lacking a street tree or if your street tree is in serious decline, you can request a new tree. The type of tree that is chosen for your naturestrip will usually be in keeping with neighbouring street trees but sometimes our arborist will select a different tree based on the local growing conditions and our goals as outlined in the Urban Forest Strategy. New trees will be semi-mature and about 1 – 2 metres in height.
All newly-planted street trees will receive appropriate watering and maintenance for their establishment period.
Caring for Your Street Tree
Trees are valuable assets and there are some things that we can all do to support our street trees. During the establishment period of a new street tree, Council organises regular watering but if a very hot day is forecast during the tree’s first summer, you can give it additional water. Do not water it other than that because frequent watering will train the tree’s roots to sit just under the surface rather than reach down into the soil for deeper sources of water.
Never park your car on the naturestrip, not only is it illegal and you may get a fine, it will compact the soil and weaken the root system.
When mowing the naturestrip, ensure that you do not damage the bark on the lower part of the stem. Bark is a tree’s first line of defence against pathogens and it is important that it stays intact. For this reason, using a line trimmer close to the trunk is not recommended.
Compost lawn clippings or place them in the green bin rather than mounding them up against the tree trunk as rotting grass can also damage the bark.
You do not need to try to prune your street tree. If a branch has grown too low over the road or the footpath, let Council know and a trained arborist will perform necessary works.
Street Tree Pruning
Council is responsible for maintaining clearance space around some power lines for both road reserves and parks. Street trees will generally be pruned every two years although some street trees have been identified as requiring annual pruning. Pruning is undertaken by contractors engaged by Council or the electricity provider, United Energy. Councils are required to comply with the Electricity Safety (Electric Line Clearance) Regulations 2020. View the Whitehorse Electric Line Clearance Management Plan ( PDF 2.36MB) and refer to the map below for pruning dates.
Sometimes, tree pruning for line clearance can look very severe so Council will explore options for shorter replacement trees to plant under power lines when the time comes to replace trees which should reduce the need for future hard.
Out-Of-Cycle Power Line Clearance Works in Whitehorse
Additional, out-of-cycle tree pruning for power line clearance may occur in multiple suburbs across Whitehorse when the energy safety regulator Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) identifies specific locations within Whitehorse that require pruning work in addition to Council’s cyclic street tree pruning program. Out-of-cycle tree pruning is required to ensure public safety and to assist in preventing unplanned power disruptions.
Power Line Clearance on Private Property
United Energy will clear trees located on private property away from power lines as needed. Please contact United Energy with any tree pruning requests.
Telecommunication Line Clearance
Street Tree Issues
Council will inspect street trees during its cyclical pruning program to improve community safety. A street tree will not be removed unless it is found to be dead, dying or dangerous by Council’s arborist. Pruning works will only be undertaken to improve the health of the tree or to keep them clear of infrastructure such as the road or power lines. Some trees will drop leaves or shed bark periodically. This is part of the natural growth pattern of all trees and something that we can easily tolerate.
In line with the Urban Forest Strategy, Council will remove trees on Council land where a Council Arborist has found that the tree is dead, dying or hazardous.
Although street trees are regularly inspected, sometimes things go wrong in between scheduled inspections. If you report a tree to Council, an arborist will inspect the tree and undertake works based on urgency. After a storm event, it may take a little longer for staff to attend to non-urgent tasks while they make storm damaged trees safe. Generally, requests are attended to within a week.