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Tree pruning and maintenance on private property: Permit guide

In most circumstances you do not need a permit to prune a tree or vegetation on your private property.

You do not need a tree permit if the works are being carried out by an arborist in line with Australian Standard 4373-2007 Pruning of Amenity Trees.

Check with your arborist that the pruning required is in line with these standards before works begin. 

Situations to consider:

  1. Be aware if the tree location is subject to planning restrictions or an overlay.
  2. A Local Law permit may be required if the tree is of particular size, planting condition or significancand a qualified arborist is not doing the work.


Planning restrictions

Trees or vegetation may be protected by a planning permit if you live in, or own, a flat, unit, apartment, dual occupancy, or if the property is under 300m2.

To find out whether your property is protected by a heritage overlay or a significant landscape overlay, view the planning map.

To check whether there is a planning permit on your property, or more information on the planning application process contact our Planning Department on (03) 9599 4666.

Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO)

There is an area which is protected by the VPO shown in the map below. This region has been identified as an area of environmental significance.

VPO overlay map

Pruning a native tree or native plant protected by the VPO is allowed without a permit in the VPO area. Works must be in accordance with AS4373 Pruning of Amenity Trees to be considered pruning.

How do I find out if the vegetation is a native?

You can talk to your arborist or tree cutter about the species type. Alternatively if you have received a quote for the work, the species type might be on the quote.

You can also take a clipping to your local nursery, including Bayside Nursery.

Special instances when you do not need a planning permit

No permit is required to remove, destroy or lop vegetation to the minimum extent necessary if the vegetation presents an immediate risk of personal injury or damage to property. Only the part of vegetation which presents the immediate risk can be removed, destroyed or lopped.

Situations where a tree permit may be required

You may need to apply for a Local Law permit if one of three instances apply to the tree:

  • Is planted in accordance with the replacement planting condition of a Local Law permit.
  • Is listed on our Significant Tree Register.
  • Has a single or combined trunk circumference greater than 155cm measured at 1m above ground level. If the tree has several trunks, the 4 largest trunk circumferences should be added together.
Tree measurement images

Image above showing to measure 1m above ground level, if single or combined trunks are greater than 155cm.

Palms, ferns and non-woody plants

Please note that palms, ferns and non-woody plants do not meet the definition of 'tree' in Council's Local Law and do not need a Local Law permit to remove. Planning permission may be required if there is a planning permit associated with the land or the palm, fern or non-woody plant is native to the VPO3 area.

How to find out if a tree is planted in accordance with a planting condition

To find out whether a tree is planted in accordance with a replacement planting condition of a Local Law permit please call our Planning Department on (03) 9599 4666.

Special instances when you do not need a Local Law permit

A permit is not required to prune a tree protected by the Local Law in special circumstances, these are:

  • The pruning of that part of the tree that poses an immediate risk to persons or property. Only that part of the tree that poses the immediate risk may be removed under this exemption.
  • When the work is to be carried out by an arborist trained to AQF Level 3 in Arboriculture, or above, or AQF Level 4 for root pruning. The work needs to conform to the Australian Standard No. 4373, 2007 Pruning of Amenity Trees. The contractor must certify their work, including photographs of before and after work.
  • Trees declared as noxious weeds under the Catchment and Land Protections Act 1994.

Apply for a Local Law permit

Apply for a permit in person or by mail

If you would like to apply for a permit in person or by mail, please call us on (03) 9599 4666 to request a hard copy form.

Applications can be made in person at our Corporate Centre, 76 Royal Ave, Sandringham VIC 3191. Mail applications will require a cheque to be enclosed in the envelope. Please note that hard copy applications will take longer to process.