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Public trees

Public and Council Trees 

Currently Public trees are protected and under the City's Tree Preservation Guidelines. As a part of improving the City's urban Canopy, all of Council’s trees will be proactively inspected and maintained in accordance with relevant standards as well as Council’s Formative Pruning Standard  
  • Council will establish a tree inventory to improve the management of its tree assets in accordance with its Asset Management Policy Consistent assessment criteria will be used when considering requests to undertake tree works
  • The authorised removal of public trees shall be undertaken by suitably qualified Arborist
  • New public tree planting will occur each autumn and spring when opportunities for successful establishment is highest
  • Council will increase the diversity of tree species planted to include predominately locally occurring native as well as exotic species
  • Species selection for streets will be prescribed by the Auburn Street Tree Masterplan
  • Council reserves the right to remove any trees that have been planted without authorisation
  • Council will ensure the protection and reinstatement of public trees affected by the development process through the imposition of bonds
  • Council shall pursue cooperation with Ausgrid and local developments, to improve tree maintenance standards, underground powerlines and replace trees in conflict with powerlines with more suitable species
  • Council will not consider removing healthy trees that enter drainage or sewer system, where the system is found to be in poor condition or not regularly maintained
  • Council will effectively manage evidence based claims concerning Council owned trees
  • Council will discourage deliberate damage caused to trees using legal and other deterrents
  • Council will consult with residents regarding large scale tree replacement or new planting works and promote participation in tree planting activities

Tree Maintenance

Previously Council had been undertaking tree maintenance in streets and parks in a reactive manner, performing pruning or removal works without a planned or agreed standard for these works.
In 2011 a tree maintenance program commenced using a set of Formative Pruning Standards in accordance with AS 4373 Pruning of Amenity.

Trees are pruned to provide clearance that will addresses a number of issues such as:
  • Pedestrian access provided with a clearance height of 2.4 metres
  • Vehicle access to the edge of kerb provided at 3.5 metres gradually increasing to 4.6 metres at the carriage way centre
  • Branches overhang into adjoining properties maintained providing a minimum of 2 metre clearance from any adjoining structures

Street and Park Trees

Will be ‘proactively’ inspected every two years at which time any necessary maintenance pruning will be undertaken. This will provide a better service maintenance and improve the quality of the street trees in the area overall. This program will help to reduce the number of ‘reactive’ requests received by residents.

Park trees located in areas of relatively high visitation will also be assessed on a rolling two-year inspection program.

Council’s trees will be proactively inspected and maintained in accordance with relevant standards as well as Council’s Formative Pruning Standard 

Requesting an Assessment for Tree Works

You can register a request for a street tree or park tree to be inspected by a Council Arborist by contacting Council Customer Service on 9735 1222.  It will assist Council in registering your request greatly if you can provide a clear and concise description of the type of works you are requesting as they relate to Councils tree maintenance programme. 

Assessment Criteria

Council’s Arborist will assess all tree related requests. The inspection method used is typically consistent with Visual Tree Assessment (VTA) or aerial inspection if further investigation is required. All tree assessments will follow Council’s Assessment Criteria and supporting checklist. 
For requests to prune or remove a tree, the following assessment criteria will be considered:
  • Potential risk of injury
  • Potential risk of damage to buildings and structures
  • The trees health, growth potential, and structural soundness
  • The effect upon the streetscape and the tree’s amenity value to the local area
  • Whether the tree forms part of an avenue planting
  • Whether the tree forms part of a green corridor, remnant species, provides native habitat
  • Suitability of the species to the location
  • Whether the tree is visually or culturally significant

Requests Council Will Not Undertake

As part of a tree’s natural growth, all will shed to a varying degree leaves, flowers, fruit, bark and the like. It is appropriate to expect some amount of grounds maintenance in order to appreciate and retain the aesthetic and environmental benefits of having trees in an urban environment. The very fact that a tree does drop leaves from time to time does not warrant its removal
The dropping of leaves, flowers, fruit, seeds or small elements of deadwood by urban trees ordinarily will not provide the basis for the removal of or intervention with an urban tree

Solar Access

If requests to remove or substantially interfere with a tree for solar access were applied, there could be considerable loss of public tree canopy across the whole LGA. The obstruction of light by a street tree is, in itself, does not justify its removal or substantive pruning

Habitat Value

The use of a tree for habitat by native birds, possums, bats, ants and the like does not provide the basis for tree removal.  With the loss of habitat due to urban sprawl it must be accpeted that native fauna and bird life will utilise

Appeals and Re-inspections

Council will consider a review of a tree assessment decision if there is provision of any additional supporting information. This information must relevant to the request, clear and concise and provided as an:

Provision of this supporting information does not essentially ensure the initial decision to be changed or altered, but will assist with the process and provide additional information not otherwise available at the time of the original assessment.

Tree Replacement

In the event that a Public Tree in a Street or a Park has been removed. New public tree plantings will occur each autumn through to spring when opportunities for successful establishment is highest.

Species selection for streets will be prescribed by the Auburn Street Tree Masterplan and selection also considers the following: 
  • Overhead services
  • Sightlines
  • General public services (footpaths and gutters) 
All new plantings will be undertaken staff, or by contractual services using current industry best practices, where possible new technologies or techniques and quality nursery stock to ensure optimum establishment and long term performance.