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Home Tree Service’s Guide to Tree Services in the City of Sydney

Unauthorised Tree Services in the City of Sydney, whether it’s Tree Removal, Tree Pruning or Tree Cutting,  may result in significant fines, reaching up to $500,000 for individuals. Read this to avoid it!

At Home Tree Services, we value the time, safety and money of all our clients, so we put a list of valuable information together that can help you in the initial steps to execute any Tree Services.


Do I need a council permit to prune or remove my tree?

Yes, for tree works that do not meet the following conditions.


Tree Services in the City of Sydney that can be done without council approval:

  • The removal of dead wood
  • Removal of 5% or less of a tree’s canopy
  • Any works to trees with all of the following: height under 5m, canopy spread under 5m, and a trunk less than 300mm measured at ground level.
  • If the tree is dying, dead, or poses an imminent danger, such as obvious instability of the root system, evidence of soil heave or cracking, loss of structural roots, root decay, storm damage and structural defects that are imminently hazardous, such as splitting branches. This must be documented by an arborist who holds a Certificate III in arboriculture.
  • Clearance of 2.5m over a parking lane, 4.5m above the kerb of a local road, and 2.5m above a footpath, all with a maximum branch diameter of 100m at its attachment point
  • Clearance of 1m above any building and 0.5m-1m from service lines with a maximum branch diameter of 50mm at its attachment point
  • Pruning performed by a minimum Certificate II qualified arborist to the relevant Australian Standard for the Pruning of Amenity Trees


Any tree work may be carried out to the following species:

Botanical Name Common Name
Ailanthus altissima Tree of Heaven
Bambusa spp. Bamboo
Citrus spp. All varieties
Cotoneaster spp. Cotoneaster
Ficus elastica Rubber Tree
Gleditsia triacanthos Wild Honey Locust
Lagunaria patersonia Norfolk Island Hibiscus
Ligustrum spp. Privet
Melia azedarach White Cedar
Morus spp. Mulberry
Musa spp. Banana
Olea europa var. africana African Olive
Robinia pseudacacia False acacia
Salix babylonica Willow
Schefflera actinophylla Umbrella Tree
Syagrus romanzoffianum Cocos Palm
Toxicodendron succedaneum Rhus Tree

Any work on the following species of tree may be performed if under 10m in height:

Botanical Name Common Name
Cinnamomum camphora Camphor Laurel
Celtis sinensis Chinese Hackberry
Celtis occidentalis American Nettle Tree
Erythrina x sykesii Coral Tree
Liquidambar styraciflua Liquidambar


Note: All work done should have clear evidence documenting the reason work is permitted before commencing.


Who performs tree pruning and cutting?

Tree works should be carried out by a qualified arborist, with a minimum certification of AQF Certificate II Arboriculture. When removing dead, dying or dangerous tree however an arborist with at least AQF Certificate III Arboriculture must document that the tree is such. A Certificate III arborist is also required to identify an exempt tree before removal.

Home Tree Services is fully qualified to execute any Tree Services; contact us here!


What happens when you damage or cut trees that require a permit without one?


Unauthorised tree work, including any cutting or damage, may result in the offender being issued with a penalty infringement notice or being prosecuted in the local court or the Land and Environment Court. Offenders are also liable to significant fines, reaching up to $500,000 for individuals.

What to do in case you realise a tree has been illegally damaged?

If you have noticed damage done to a tree, such as a removal, pruning, poisoning, or vandalism, you should report this to the council immediately so an investigation may be performed.


Who performs tree works on public land and streets?

The management of trees on public lands is the responsibility of the council; therefore, any removal or pruning work will be performed by them.

Ready to proceed with the Tree Services in the City of Sydney?

Contact us here!




The information above functions as a guide and should not be used as binding evidence before undertaking any tree removal or pruning. Always refer to your council policy and/or a qualified arborist before undertaking any tree work.

Updated: 29/09/2022

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