Tree Removal & Pruning Guidelines in the Greater Geelong Council

City of Greater Geelong

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The Council and community here in the Greater Geelong region value the presence of trees in our streets and our properties. Each year the Council plant 1050 new public street trees in an effort to develop our urban forest. Part of the maintenance of this tree population however, involves the removal of trees that are no longer beneficial to the environment or the community. The Council highlights several key factors that they identify as cause for the removal of public trees;

  • Storm damage
  • Pests and disease
  • Development
  • Health defects or old age
  • Outgrowing their site

tree removal in Melbourne

This array of issues leads to the annual extraction of 1000 public trees, leaving the community with a surplus of just 50 new trees each year. Our Geelong team believes in the preservation of our public and private trees, as such we work tirelessly to prune, trim and maintain our healthy trees while helping to remove the trees and stumps that can no longer serve the community.

While the Council understand that clearing old, sick or damaged vegetation is a natural part of caring for the region’s ecosystem, there are a number of protections in place to ensure that the important, valuable and native trees are retained. The varied and overlapping overlays combined with the complex set of regulations, legal jargon and amendments can feel cumbersome for property owners without the time to decode it all. That’s why we at Jim’s Trees Geelong have put together this guide to help you, so that you can spend less time figuring out Council regulations and more time on the things you love, like sitting under the shade of your favourite tree.

Tree Removal and Pruning Regulations


Public Tree Removal and Pruning

Let’s start with the simple stuff, public trees. Only official Council staff can remove or arrange the removal or pruning of any public trees in parks or streets. Residents are not authorised to carry out any works on public trees, as such, any tree that is bothering you or you believe to be of public nuisance should be reported to the Council. If the tree is deemed necessary to prune or remove, the Council will arrange its eviction and notify all relevant parties.

Private Tree Removal

A range of provisions are in place across Local, State and Federal laws that restrict the work residents can carry out on their private vegetation. These provisions include, but are not limited to;

  • Environmental Significance Overlays
  • Heritage Overlays
  • Significant Landscape Overlays
  • Vegetation Protection Overlays

If you are unsure of which planning controls affect your property and vegetation, an interactive map is available that shows the Planning Scheme for the Greater Geelong region. If you are still unsure of the restrictions that are applicable to your trees, you can submit an enquiry to the Geelong Service Team who can inform you of the relevant provisions. You can also contact the Council directly by calling them on (03) 5272 5272 or visiting their offices at 100 Brougham Street Geelong.

Private Tree Pruning

Residents and property owners within the Greater Geelong community are expected to maintain their private vegetation in order to keep the pathways and public spaces free of hazards and obstructions.

Foliage is not permitted to extend more than 10 centimetres beyond the line of your fence.

Private foliage must provide at least 2.4 vertical metres of clearance over footpaths, pathways and nature strips. Over laneways this required vertical clearance increases to 3.6 metres.

For foliage that has grown close to powerlines, do not perform any treeworks yourself. This hazardous work should only be performed by a fully qualified arborist.

Contact us now for more information and assistance.

Arborist Insights

Around the Greater Geelong region our team have identified Belmont, Ocean Grove and Grovesdale as the busiest suburbs for treeworks. In terms of problematic trees, our arborists say its the Eucalypts and Yuccas that tend to be the biggest nuisances:

Yuccas are a problem in a lot of the new developments because landscapers have put them in too close to brick wall where they will definitely grow and eventually crack the foundations and brick walls that they’re planted near, or rip up the paths. So that’s Yucca specific, but they’re not really a dangerous tree as such. The most dangerous trees are generally in the eucalypt family – you have to keep a fairly close eye on them,” says our lead arborist for Geelong.

While a Eucalypt’s large limbs and dense wood can compromise the structural integrity of its branches, our specialists have found rot and disease to be the leading cause of falling branches and trees around the Geelong region, “rot and fungus between branches are a concern, especially when it’s in what’s called the crutches – that’s where the branch joins onto the main trunk,” says our specialist.

Many of the private tree sites around the Greater Geelong region are classified as ‘complex’ due to their proximity to houses, hazards and their narrow access points. This means that many regular tools and strategies don’t work, “occasionally I’ll bring in a cherry picker,” our arborist says, “but most of the time the complexity means that you can’t get the cherry picker into the base of the tree.”

Luckily, our crew are equipped with a Limited Access Stump Grinder, meaning they can get to the places that others can’t. Complex tree and stump removal are a specialty of our Geelong team, meaning there is no job too big, complex or difficult to reach.


Cutting to the Chase

Geelong’s public and private trees bring a wealth of value to our community and our environment. Through our work maintaining the healthy trees and removing the sick, damaged or obstructive trees we help the urban forest’s ecosystem to thrive. It is important that you take regular and active measures to keep your private trees healthy, safe and unobstructive to public areas. It is equally important that you familiarise yourself with the relevant planning schemes and provisions in place to protect the trees so that you carry out your treeworks legally and in line with the values of the community. For further information, assistance in navigating the Council regulations or to begin your next treeworks, contact your local Geelong Jim’s Trees today.

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