Managing trees on private property

Protection for trees

On privately owned land, trees may be protected by Local Law No.6 (Protection of Vegetation) in various ways.

Your trees may be protected:

  • by a Vegetation or Tree Protection Order (VPO or TPO)
  • by a Habitat Protection Overlay under the Redlands Planning Scheme
  • by a covenant
  • by a condition of a development approval controlling vegetation removal on the land
  • if the land has the potential to be subdivided under current zoning
  • if a development application has been lodged with Council and a decision is pending.

Rules for removing trees

You can remove trees from your property without Council approval if the trees are located within:

  • 10m of a dwelling
  • 3m of an approved structure, including sheds and pools
  • 3m of a property boundary, as reasonably necessary, to construct or maintain a boundary fence or to create a fire break.

These exemptions don’t apply if the tree or trees are specifically protected by a TPO, VPO, condition of development approval or covenant.

Vegetation protection

On properties with vegetation protection, Council approval is generally required to remove vegetation. However, if the tree poses a threat to life or property, you may request approval by contacting Council. See Subordinate Local Law No.6 (Protection of Vegetation)

Removing dead standing trees

Dead standing trees on rural properties are protected if they contain significant hollow-bearing limbs or have habitat value. However, they can be rendered safe by pruning to a habitat structure in accordance with AS4373-2007.

If you can’t make them safe in proximity to dwellings, structures and access roads, you can remove them.

You may remove dead trees standing on urban lots, as they’re considered high risk with no sustainable management options available.

Habitat trees often have structural hollows where animals live and breed. It is important to check the tree for animals that may be nesting or living in the tree including hollows. If there are animals nesting or living in the tree including hollows you will need to contact a registered spotter/catcher for advice.

It is recommended that you contact Council before removing the tree.  In some cases exempt vegetation clearing may still be protected by other State Government legislation. Refer to state government information on vegetation clearing for more details.

Rules for maintaining trees

Routine pruning and tree maintenance should be done in line with the guidelines set out in Australian Standard AS4373-2007 Pruning of Amenity Trees.

You can undertake the following tree management without Council approval:

  • removal of deadwood
  • removal of hazardous limbs
  • crown lifting
  • formative pruning
  • selective pruning
  • crown thinning
  • remedial or restorative pruning
  • removal of non-significant trees and vegetation
  • emoval of environmental and declared weed species
  • removal of regrowth associated with the maintenance of existing, pasture, cultivated fields, firebreaks, lawn or garden areas, and boundary fence lines
  • pruning to avoid or prevent damage to above-ground services.

Other activities that may result in damage to protected trees may need Council approval.

Dangerous trees

If you’re concerned about a tree, a qualified arborist can determine whether the tree should be retained, pruned or removed. They will examine:

  • the tree’s health and structural integrity of the tree
  • the tree’s proximity and height to dwellings and structures
  • how frequently people are around the tree
  • wind loading and predominant wind patterns
  • drainage conditions around the root zone
  • past limb failures
  • encroachment within Tree Protection Zone (TPZ).

Related forms

Vegetation Protection Order form [PDF, 0.2MB]

Remove and Trim Vegetation on private property form [PDF, 0.2MB]