Your local council is in control of all trees on public land as well as on private land. All trees are viewed as ‘the community’s trees’ rather than you having personal ownership.

You can, however get the council to remove a tree if it is causing issues for you and your property or you have noted it as being dangerous. Issues might include shading solar panels, branches hitting power lines, lifting your driveway, and other common issues.

If the tree(s) are on your private property, they will not remove it/ them. You will need to get approval first and a quote from a local tree removal service. (Use the form above to get 3 prices fast.)

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If the tree is a boundary tree, meaning it is half on your property and half on public land, you will be able to get the council to pay for at least half of the removal.

In some cases, they will remove the whole tree and not bother you for payment.

If the tree is entirely on your land, however, you will not be able to convince the council to foot the cost to cut down your tree. They will only pay for the removal or pruning of trees on their property.

Trees on public land

To get the ball rolling you will need to first alert your Council about the reason for wanting your tree removed.

Reasons might include:

You can alert them to your issue by either calling the correct department or going to your local council website and filling in an online form with your request.

Every council is different in how they handle requests for tree removal on public land, you are best calling first then if they direct you to do it online, so be it.

council removing a tree on street

Arborist officer inspection

A qualified arborist employed by the council will then attend the site and give their recommendation based on the state of the tree and your objections to it.

Their first thought is always how they can retain the tree (It’s part of their training), but if no solution is available, they will then recommend the tree removal.

Will I need Council permission to remove my tree?

This will depend on where you live and the Tree Preservation Order for your particular council.

Each council has its own set of rules governing the protection of trees and what size of tree they deem to need protection.

In most parts of Adelaide, it’s got to be a very large tree with a trunk circumference of 1m or more to be deemed “significant”. Anything smaller than that you will not need the approval to remove.

In Sydney for example, if a tree is larger than 3m in height, you must obtain council permission.

Make sure you check the Tree Preservation Order for your local Council to get your facts straight before you start.

Will my insurance company cover the cost of tree removal?

If your tree is still standing and healthy, then no. If it has come down in a storm, then you have grounds to claim. There is a small caveat here I must mention. If the tree is dead and has come down, your insurer will not cover you.

All homeowners are obliged to maintain the trees on your property including the removal of dead trees. You cannot simply wait for the tree to come down before you make a claim.

Author: Ben McInerney is a qualified arborist with over 15 years of industry experience. He uses his in-depth knowledge of the tree service industry to give readers to most accurate information on tree service costs and helps to educate them about the benefits of using a certified arborist for tree trimming and removal work.