Knox Councils rules for tree removal in their governing area is about as clear as mud. The information on the subject is either limited or contradictory.

One thing is for sure they are serious about protecting trees within their area, which means if you want to remove or prune any tree, you are best-contacting the council first.

There are a few things to keep in mind, though, before you start.

knox city council logo

Trees that can be removed without a permit are dead trees. Once a tree dies it becomes dangerous and is advisable that it is removed before it becomes dangerous.

What else can I remove?

This is where things get tricky. Normally you can remove trees that are in a fire zone, but according to the Knox Council website, there is no part of the Knox area with the fire zone.

So that rules that out.

They do have a document called the Tree Removal and Pruning Handout which is on how to make an application to clear vegetation for lot sizes > 4000m2.

Now they do not specifically state that if your site is smaller you are free to prune or remove trees, so we are a little in the dark.

Does Knox Council have a significant tree register?

Knox Council does recognize some trees as significant and uses the register for all significant tree registration.

A significant tree is an old or large tree considered a perfect specimen of that species and an icon of the area. If its removal significantly impacts the scene, it will be registered and protected as long as it is safe and provides an amenity value to the community.

Vegetation Protection overlays

Knox Council uses vegetation protection overlays to let us know which trees are protected and which are not. Unfortunately, they do not make it easy like other councils, to see those overlays to know whether tree cutting needs a permit or not.

Tree removal application for Knox council

To apply for a tree removal permit, you will need to first register for online services, then apply for a tree removal/ pruning permit. It seems like a fairly long-winded process so it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Register: Register for online services

Apply: Application for tree removal/pruning permit

How long does approval take?

Most tree removal applications take 2 – 3 weeks from submission to getting an answer in the mail. As the Knox council does not state the process, time, or cost involved, it is tough to work out.

Going by how long it takes most councils, 2 weeks is a good place to start.

The process is:

  1. Submit your application
  2. Pay any fees required
  3. Council arborist will inspect your tree and provide a reason for removal/ pruning.
  4. Give approval or ask for supporting evidence from an arborist.

If the council asks for supporting evidence, it is most likely because you are asking for complete removal and have made a claim that a tree is infested with white ants or is dangerous.

They will ask for a third opinion in the form of an arborist report which you will be asked to procure at your own expense. The cost of an arborist report will be from $450 – $550 for a single tree.

Tree removal ad pruning handout

Knox council have put together a handout that lays out some basic information about applying for tree removal or pruning which we have laid out on this page.

Can I prune a street tree in Knox City Council area?

Street trees are managed by the council with an inspection once per year and pruning twice.

They prune branches that are growing into power lines and, in some cases when they are growing into private property.

If you have a branch growing over your property that you would like removed, you must contact the council on the below details and make a formal request.

What if a neighbour’s tree is growing over my yard?

You are within your rights to prune any tree that is growing from your neighbours property, but as long as it complies with the law.

So you will need to fist apply for a pruning permit before any works are carried out, then once it is granted, you are free to prune.

Knox City Council contact details

Phone: (03) 9298 8125

Mailing Address: 511 Burwood Highway, Wantirna South VIC 3152



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.