Ku-ring-gai Council like all other councils in Sydney has certain rules when it comes to tree removal and pruning. There are lots of trees that can be removed without approval and pruning laws are quite flexible and generous.

Below outlines when you won’t need approval for pruning and compelete removal of trees.

Tree maybe be removed without council approval if;

  1. Trimming of braches directly over roof lines, detached garages, carports or ancillary buildings.
    Note: Pruning must be consistent with the Australian Standard for Pruning of Amenity Trees (AS4373-2007)
  2. Trees within 3m of an existing dwelling on the same property and when measured from trunk edge at breast height to external dwelling wall. This does not include detached garages, carports, verandahs or ancillary buildings.
  3. Removal of branches within 0.5m of electrical wires to the property. Branches only not tree trunks.
  4. Pruning of branches with 50mm diameter or less.
  5. Removal of dead wood
  6. Dead trees or high-risk trees that pose an immediate threat. Councils state these are exempt from needing approval, but they still want to give the ok? It’s a bit confusing, but call the council and ask to speak to the resident arborist to confirm before removal.


Note: If your home and tree are included in this Native Vegetation Biodiversity Values Map, or Threatened Ecological Communities map they are NOT exempt and will need council approval before removing.

I suggest you keep some photographic evidence before removing any tree in Sydney, just in case the council decides to follow up.

Fines for the removal of protected trees without approval can be steep.

Exempt tree list

Ku-ring-gai Council has also outlined a list of trees that it considers a local pest. As such you will not require a permit to remove the below trees no matter their size, age or location. They are not protected.

Common name

Queensland Silver wattle
Golden Wattle
Box Elder
Tree of Heaven
Evergreen Alder
Cocos Palm
Nettle tree
Common Coral Tree
Indian Coral Tree
Coral Tree
Rubber Tree
African Olive
Crested Wattle
Lombardy Poplar
Black Locust
Golden Robinia
Umbrella Tree
Broad-leaf Pepper Tree

Botanical name

Acacia podalyriifolia
Acacia saligna
Acer negundo
Ailanthus altissima
Alnus jorullensis
Syagrus romanzoffiana
Celtis spp.
Cotoneaster spp.
Eriobotrya japonica
Erythrina crista-galli
Erythrina indica
Erythrina x sykesii
Ficus elastica
Liquidambar stryraciflua*
Olea europaea
Paraserianthes Iophantha
Populous nigra italica
Pyracantha spp.
Robinia pseudoacacia
Robinia pseudoacacia “Frisia”
Schefflera actinophylla
Schinus terbinthifolius
Toxiocodendron succedaneum
Ligustrum sp. 

* Liquidambar (with a height less than 12m)

Tree removal permit application

Applying for a permit to remove a tree Ku-ring-gai council area is fairly straightforward. Download and fill out the below form and email it to kmc@kmc.nsw.gov.au or post it to the address below.

Download: Application form for tree removal

You will need a pay an application fee when submitting the form and this fee is not refundable if your bid for removal is not successful. Prices vary for tree removal applications ($88.00) and Tree pruning ($44). There are pensioner discounts available.

Tree Management policy

If you are still not clear on the above summary, please feel free to read the tree management policy for Ku-ring-gai Council in full. You can download it by clicking the below link that best suits your needs.

Ku-ring-gai Council contact details

Phone: (02) 9424 0000

Address: 818 Pacific Highway, Gordon 2072

Website: https://www.krg.nsw.gov.au/

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.