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Street Trees

Trees are an asset to any local area.  Leichardt Council has approximately 15, 700 street trees to care for and manage.  If you are information about tree on private property you can find this information on the Trees on Private Property  page of our site.  Council's  policy on trees aims to conserve and enhance the tree cover, understorey, ground covers and general landscaping of Leichhardt so as to better the ecological, climatic, amenity, aesthetic, economic and cultural values of the area.  Further information about Council’s position on street trees can be found in the pdf-new-icon.gifLeichhardt Urban Forest Policy (PDF 40.8KB) and in the Leichhardt Local Environmental Plan 2013. 

Street Tree Maintenance Program

In 2007, as a result of a several problems with street trees in the local area,  Council adopted the  pdf-new-icon.gifLeichhardt Urban Forest Policy (PDF 40.8KB) and commenced a Cyclic Street Tree Maintenance Program, to carry out the following works to all 15, 700 trees on a two year cycle:  

  • The pruning of trees to raise crown. 
  • Removal of deadwood. 
  • The pruning of trees to allow for 2 metre property clearance. 
  • The pruning of trees to allow for 2 metre clearance of service wires (connections to houses not overhead high voltage cables). 
  • Pruning of branches which do not allow for 2.5 metre footpath clearance. 
  • Report on works carried out to all trees. 
  • Report to Council on any dead / dangerous / diseased trees that would require possible removal of major pruning works to be carried out. 
  • Supply of all mulch from these works to Council – mulch to be delivered to Council’s nominated park or depot.

The program has proved successful with the number of street tree complaints received being reduced and the appearance and amenity of the street being improved.

Property damage from street trees

Storm Damage

If street trees cause damage to your property as a result of a storm, you can provide Council with the address and a Council officer will come and assess the extent of the problem.  Council will arrange for a tree crew or our contract arborists to cut up and clear the offending tree/branches. 

Contact Council's Customer Service Centre on 93679222. Council will also inspect the tree and ascertain if there is any further action required.

Tree Root Damage

If tree roots are damaging or blocking your stormwater/sewer pipes, cracking your front fence or path it is the responsibility of the property owner to maintain the infrastructure and services to their House. 

If you have blocked or damaged sewer or stormwater pipes which are old earthenware or clay pipes and they may have deteriorated, cracked or be leaking at the joints due to age, Council does not accept liability for this type of damage or tree root entry if the pipes were cracked or leaking. 

If this is not the case you need to provide evidence to Council that the Council Street Tree has actually overtly caused the damage to your the property while the tree roots are exposed.

An initial assessment of this can be by way of builders, engineers or plumbers report with accompanying photos and Council should be called to inspect the situation before any rectification work is undertaken.

Making insurance claims for tree damage

For storm damage you will need to claim through your own Car or Household Insurance. Under the Civil Liability Act it is unlikely Council will be responsible even though it is a Council Tree. Insurance companies and the Courts view this as an “Act of God”. 

For tree root damage, once the reuqired evidence has been gathered and provided, a Council officer will come to your property to ascertain the extent of the damage.

Once a Council officer has inspected and noted the evidence, it will be forwarded to Council’s Insurance Company for assessment and consideration.

Planting street trees

If you would like to plant trees in front of your house you will need to Contact Council on 9367 9222 to advise your address and the width and type of footpath that you have in front of your home.

A Council Officer will then inspect the footpath, and considering distance from services, disabled and pram access and footpath clearance, will inform you whether the location is suitable for a street tree.  

Council does not allow residents to plant their own trees on the nature strip due to safety and liability associated with the location of underground services.  However residents can plant our the verge in front of their home under the as part of the Adopt a Verge Program.  This allows for the planting of low level plants in this area. More information about this program can be found on the Garden Beds and Verges section of our  website. 

Council maintains all the street trees in the area however we encouraged residents to assist in watering new street trees in front of their homes in the first three to four months while the tree establishes.

More information about the types of species that Council selects for street tree planting is available in the pdf-new-icon.gifLeichhardt Urban Forest Policy (PDF 40.8KB) .

Pruning street trees

If you would like a tree in front of your house pruned you will need to contact Council's Customer Service Centre on 93679222 with the details. 

Council’s Parks Technical Officer who will carry out an inspection of the tree within ten working days. If pruning is required on the tree a works order will be issued to Council’s Tree Crew or Tree Maintenance Contractors carrying out the Street Tree Maintenance Program, for the works to be carried out. 

Council prunes trees to provide 2m clearance to the roof of your house, this means that there still may be branches that overhang your fence line. Council considers a 2m clearance from the canopy of the tree to the roof of your property adequate clearance in an urban environment. 

Council is not liable for the falling of leaves into your gutters. The cleaning of gutters is the responsibility of homeowners.  

Council will clean the leaves in the street as part of the 20 day Area Based Street Cleaning roster. 

For further information you can contact Council’s Streetscapes Coordinator to find out when the next street cleaning cycle in your street will be carried out.

Street trees and my views

Council will not prune a tree to create a new view. Where a view can be shown as existing prior to the tree being planted and there is a history of the identified tree/s being pruned to restore the pre-existing view, Council may allow for minor pruning to be carried out at the resident’s expense. 

More information about Street trees and views can be found in the  pdf-new-icon.gifLeichhardt Urban Forest Policy (PDF 40.8KB)

Street trees and allergies

If you consider that a street tree may be the cause of your allergy symptoms, you will be required to provide evidence that this tree is the cause.   Council will only consider the removal of a council street tree for allergies on the following criteria:

1. The claim must be verified by a medical certificate from a registered Clinical Immunologist/ Allergist or Clinic such as the Allergy, Immuno & Infectious Diseases Clinic at Westmead or the Asthma Foundation that the tree in question is responsible for the allergic reaction. Medical certificates from General Practitioners will not be accepted as a valid claim for tree removal.

Approval will be granted for the removal of trees that cause allergies on Council land where that species of tree is listed as exempt on Council’s pdf-new-icon.gifTree Preservation Order (~~~DocAnnotation.type.8003~~~ ~~~DocAnnotation.size.8003~~~).
Approval will not be granted, even with a verified medical certificate, where this tree forms the dominant tree variety in the streetscape because the removal of the single tree will not alleviate the cause of the allergy to that individual.

Where a tree is removed for allergy reasons, the replacement tree will be a suitable native species. 

For further information please read pdf-new-icon.gifLeichhardt Urban Forest Policy (PDF 40.8KB) .

Removal of trees

Removal of trees is seen as the last option but unfortunately this is, in a number of instances the only option. Where this is the case, Council will replace the tree, where possible, with a more suitable species in a more suitable location. 

Any tree that is identified for removal will have a notice affixed to the tree and concerned persons can contact Council and discuss the matter prior to the tree being removed. 

Residents who have concerns with street trees can contact the Parks & Streetscapes section and a qualified person will meet with them on-site to discuss options.  See Current Tree Removal Notices below.

Current Tree Removal Notices

Removal of trees is seen as the last option but unfortunately this is, in a number of instances the only option.   Where this is the case, Council will replace the tree, where possible, with a more suitable species, selected from the Street Tree Masterplan, in a more suitable location.  Any tree that is identified for removal will have a notice affixed to the tree and concerned persons can contact Council and discuss the matter prior to the tree being removed.  For further information please contact Council’s Parks Technical Officer on 9367 9219.